As the days shorten and winter approaches, the thoughts of many turn to a short winter break to brighten up the cold and dark days. It’s a great chance to book a few days away in a luxury hotel for a fraction of the price you would expect to pay in peak season.
A superb choice for a luxury city break is the Hotel U Prince in Prague. This historic building is located right in the historic heart of Prague, on the Old Town Square, not far from the famous Astronomical Clock. The Clock, also known as the Orloj, is probably the best preserved medieval astronomical clock in the world. It was installed on the tower of the Old Town Hall in 1410. The Hotel U Prince occupies a building from the 12th Century which has been painstakingly restored. The room are stylishly equipped with antique furniture, as befits the hotel’s luxury status. In good weather the hotel’s outdoor garden offers guests the experience of sitting right on Old Town Square, with a view of the OldTown Hall and the Astronomical Clock. The hotel also has a terrace which affords a superb panoramic view over Old Prague.
From the U Prince and the Old Town Square it is just a short walk to the famous Charles Bridge over the River Vltava. Commissioned by King Charles IV in 1357, Prague’s most stunning bridge is lined with 30 Baroque statues of religious figures. A favourite haunt of watercolour artists, musicians and street vendors, this pedestrian bridge is a “must see” for tourists, who can then continue on up the hill to visit the fairytale Prague Castle.
Budapest also makes an ideal destination for a good value luxury break. The 5* Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge boasts spectacular views of the famous Chain Bridge and has a prime location near the River Danube, the Hungarian Parliament, and the Castle District. This modern, stylish hotel offers all the facilities you would expect of a luxury hotel including two excellent restaurants, a bar and spa facilities. In the hotel’s atrium, a Swarovski crystal “fountain” evokes the style of 19th-century Hungary and a replica Horváth 3 aeroplane provides a talking point as it draws the eyes skywards. Many of the guest rooms enjoy wonderful views over the River Danube. The central location of the Sofitel is perfect for visiting many of the major sights of the city, including St.Stephen’s Basilica, the State Opera, Váci street and the Danube Promenade. A great way to see much of the city is to take the tram. While sitting on the tram nr. 2 you can admire the sights of the Pest embankment in about 20 minutes, passing by some famous locations such as the Parliament, Roosevelt tér and Vigadó tér.
Both Prague and Budapest can experience pretty cold weather in winter so it’s worth taking an extra layer of clothing and a warm pair of gloves but that’s surely a small price to pay for a few days of luxury.