Prague's Hotel Aria: An Orchestrated Original
I travel a lot. And while I'm not a proponent of spending a great deal of money for a hotel, I certainly enjoy the amenities of five-star lodging. Especially if the client is paying for it. I prefer instead, to eat and drink my way around a town. After all, it's just a warm bed, soft pillow, and a state-of-the-art gym I'll never use. But every now and again I stumble onto a place that not only piques my interest, but has me eating, drinking, and enjoying myself without ever leaving the grounds. Aria Hotel in Prague is one such place.
Located in the historical center of Mala Strana, just three minute's walk to both the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle, Aria is a 5-star musically-themed complex re-built nearly 15 years ago. But thanks to architects Rocco Magnolia and Lorenzo Carmelite, who are best known for working alongside fashion legend Gianni Versace, this elegant hotel feels as if it's been in existence for centuries.
Aria has curated a concept for a wide array of musical tastes: 51 suites, with each room dedicated to a specific style of music or artist with original artwork, books, Apple TV, and an iPad. The stylized icons range from classical and contemporary, to rock, opera, jazz, and blues. There's a Billie Holiday room, a Mozart suite, even Elvis and The Rolling Stones have a space waiting for you.
Downstairs in the lobby, Dr. Ivana Stehlikova, the Aria Music Director greets every guest. With a PhD in Musicology, Dr. Stehlikova offers guidance on the various musical events that can be found throughout the city. Wander the lobby and you'll find the Music Library, where you can browse through thousands of CD's. Pull one off the shelf, hand it to the concierge, and the lobby will soon be filled with sounds of your musical choice.
There's a private screening room, a music salon, and CODA, a rooftop terrace restaurant with world class cuisine and a 360 degree view of the city. But perhaps the most stunning of all was the Vrtba Garden, Prague's oldest Baroque Garden and a UNESCO World Heritage site. An ideal setting for weddings or just a stroll along the manicured pathways.
Aria Hotel is a perfect blend of music and luxury that will have you singing. Even outside of the shower. It's a place I will, most certainly, stay at again. And who knows? Maybe next time I'll even take advantage of that gym.