New boutique hotel aims to distinguish itself on all counts
A revolving bar, online check-in and unique illustrations on every wall, from cat women to Japanese trees. Fusion Hotel in Prague, which opened in the spring, is what happens when someone who is fed up with ordinary hotels gets their hands on a prime plot in Prague 1 and then lets their imagination run riot.
In this case, that man is Samuel Simons of the developer Lordship.
“The hotel is his brainchild. He said, ‘Let’s be creative,’ ” says Nah-Dja Tien, the manager of Fusion.
It’s no wonder that Simons’ business card names him as the “inspiration director.” However, if the title itself is a little cringe-worthy, the results are anything but.
The biggest rooms sleep up to 16 at affordable prices: between 17 and 25 euros per person, depending on the season. Even the rooms for two or three are priced at around 70 euros, with a rack rate of 225 euros maximum. All of the rooms have private bathrooms.
“For most hoteliers, affordable equals no service. In the past, for this kind of budget, you would get a functional room, but that’s it. But here, you can have that budget and stay somewhere affordable and cool,” Tien says.
Simons himself describes the concept as “affordable lounge hotel,” and it’s fair to say the hotel does feel a million miles away from the cookie-cutter brand hotels dotted across Europe. In fact, as the hoteliers admit, their inspiration instead came from trendsetting hotels like the Ace Hotel in New York and the Michelberger in Berlin. The hotel’s design is funky and different, and in every room, there’s a unique illustration courtesy of the hotel’s in-house artist, Klára Tesařová.
It’s all a far cry from what the hotel could have been, had the financial crisis not intervened. Lordship acquired the building, on the corner of Panská street next to the Mucha Museum, in 2006. They signed a deal with InterContinental Hotels Group, but the credit crunch played its part and Lordship decided to wait.
It was during this enforced hiatus that the concept of Fusion was born. The hotel itself is located in a building designed by Czech architect Josef Gočár, known as the father of Czech modernism. For Simons, it was an inspiration.
“It’s a classic building, combined with a modern, Functionalist style and fit-out, with some retro twists,” he says.
“Fusion is everywhere,” adds Tien, a veteran hotel manager, with a smile.
A Gočár feature also leads to another element of the hotel: the 360° lounge and bar. Situated under a gorgeous glass dome, here’s the gimmick: It revolves. The bar also includes a Skype booth and “play room”, and leads out onto a roof terrace and shisha bar.
Fusion also has two restaurants, Soup in the City and Epopey. The first offers soup and healthy bites, and Epopey, named as a tribute to the Mucha painting, is a Czech gastro pub. In line with the hotel’s policy, both are affordably priced but good quality.
But prices from a bygone era, at least in this part of town, do not mean the hotel is stuck in the past, Simons and Tien say. In fact, Fusion is fiercely modern, and even has plans for its own social network for guests.
The only potential concern about Fusion is that its low prices could attract that scourge of Prague: the stag party. But Simons and Tien are not worried about this.
“Some hotels court them, but we are in a prime location, we are unique, we don’t need to go there,” Simons says.
In fact, creating an interesting place for interesting people is what Fusion is all about, the pair agree.
“People say we are mad to open a hotel in Prague now. But we like a challenge, and we think we are different, and we will appeal. We will find our own market,” Simons adds.
“At other hotels, you can go down to the bar and there’s no one interesting, cool or cutting-edge to mix with. We hope they will be here.”BOOK NOW