Address: Hybernska 13
110 00 Prague 1 „
One thing that Prague is certainly not short of is hotels; whether you're looking for a dorm bed in a cheap and cheerful hostel or a swanky five star in a restored art deco mansion, you'll find plenty of choice in most parts of the city. We were only in Prague for one night and wanted to be fairly close to the old town and near to the main train station as we'd be leaving for Salzburg on an early train. There are partner hotels of the Hotel City Inn Prague (for example Hotel City-Centre or Hotel City-Club) all over the city but we booked a double room in the one on Hybernska, right beside Masarykovo station * and a five minute walk from the main station; it was a five minute walk from Wenceslas Square and another five to the old town. We booked through hotelopia.com and paid approximately Euro40 for one night including breakfast. (I believe that was discounted for booking in advance and usually the price would be around Euro49)
(* Leave behind your ideas that hotels near stations are always best avoided. This area seemed safe and I would have had no reservations about walking alone here at night)
We had checked the proximity of the hotel to the main train station but hadn't realised how close it was to a smaller station until we arrived; had we known this before booking we'd probably have avoided this hotel but in the end we heard no noise at all from the station. To our delight the hotel is situated across the road from one of the bus stops for the airport shuttle bus so we had door to door transport on our arrival. The hotel does not have its own car-park and I would say that it's not really suitable for those who are driving or who intend to hire a car; on the other hand the good price combined with the reasonable location make it ideal for those happy to set out to explore on foot.
The original building is now looking a little tired, blighted by some minor graffiti but mainly because the exterior could do with a good sandblasting to remove grime from traffic pollution. With some attention it could look quite handsome; perhaps now that the station interior is being renovated, the exterior might be done too. Although there is a lift in the building, there are several steps at the entrance to gain access to the building; there were also a couple of steps from the doorway and bathroom of our room to the main sleeping area so I would advise that the rooms are not wheelchair friendly. As this is an old building the lift is very small and not suitable for most modern wheelchairs.
Reception is on the second floor, the bedrooms are a floor below. We were checked in without fuss and given our keycards. The hotel is staffed twenty-four hours a day and entry to the building is by buzzer. All of the reception staff we came into contact with spoke excellent English. We were advised that breakfast is served between eight and ten but as we had an early train we asked if something could be prepared for us to pick up and take away; the receptionist told us straightaway that if we were outside the breakfast room at 6.30am we could get breakfast then (as it turned out, several other guests had also been similarly advised).
While waiting to check in the receptionist was helping some other guests with some local information; I was impressed by how she handled their enquiries and noticed that she had a good local knowledge and was able to make suggestions as well as answer questions put directly to her. As well as free city plans of Prague, there are plenty of leaflets about tours and visitor attractions both in the city and in the country in general. There's also a vending machine and a small selection of souvenirs (though, obviously you'd do better to buy these items elsewhere).
Our room was surprisingly large, not that we expected to be spending much time there, however it's always preferable to have room to move around. I liked the way the rooms were arranged so that they were clustered in two or threes rather than all running off one long corridor; only the people in the neighbouring rooms had to come into our section and a door at the end of each group of rooms separated them from the main landing reducing noise.
The bathroom was just inside the door to the room and then the main sleeping area was down three steps, another good way to reduce noise from outside the room. There was what appeared to be a place for storing a bag or suitcase just outside the bathroom, fine if you unpacked completely but not so good if you wanted to live out of your bag; however, there was plenty of space in the main area of the room to tuck away a case.
We had what appeared to be a double bed but it had two separate mattresses and two quilts. The pillows were synthetic, much to my delight, and we found we had a comfortable night's sleep in spite of the fact it was quite warm. The rooms don't have air conditioning which is a disadvantage but there was a free standing electric fan that could be moved around the room. The room had a large window and once the evening rush was done there was very little traffic passing outside so it was good to have the window open. There is, however, a pedestrian crossing nearby and the persistent clicking as the lights counted down and the bleeps when it was time to cross were quite noticeable at night; a pair of earplugs should help muffle this adequately if you're a light sleeper.
Although there was no central overhead light the bedside lamps were adequate for our needs; there was a desk but this isn't really the sort of hotel I'd envisage you doing any work and it doesn't have wireless internet access in the rooms (but you can use the wi-fi access free of charge in reception if you wish to). The television set had a handful of channels, a mixture of sport, entertainment and news but nothing in English. The furniture was pretty cheap looking but in good condition and although things were perhaps a little tired, i wouldn't go as far as shabby.
The bathroom was very small: a shower cubicle, washbasin and toilet crammed in to a tiny space but it was all immaculately clean and appeared to have been fairly recently renovated. There were no broken or cracked tiles, no damp patches and no mildewy, grey grouting. The towels were clean and fresh smelling and were a decent, usable size.
The rooms don't have a safe but we did leave our electronic items in the hotel safe while we were out. It cost the equivalent of about £2. We were given a large envelope in which to seal our belongings before the receptionist locked them away. I didn't feel that the security was a particular concern but we did have a fair bit of stuff with us that we really wouldn't want to have lost.
As promised breakfast was available at 6.30am on the dot and although the staff were still bringing out jugs of milk and trays of cooked meats, we were able to enjoy a good breakfast. Although they could have been better there were at least several varieties of juice, fresh milk, a coffee machine and hot water for a good number of different types of tea. There were several kinds of tasty bread rolls and sliced bread, sliced cheeses and meats, and different kinds of preserves and honey. There were eggs and sausages if you wanted something hot. We filled up as we had a long train journey ahead. You couldn't say it was an exciting breakfast but nobody would have starved at this hotel and for the price it was a fair spread.
For the price it's hard to fault this hotel. It's a step or two up from hostel although it's still quite basic but the rooms are clean and comfortable. If you're not looking for luxury and expect to use the room only for sleeping and washing, then this is a hotel I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.