Saturday, 28 August 2010

Moods Boutique Hotel Prague - a Quick Stay and Review

Hästens Bed at the Hotel Moods in Prague
I had to travel to Prague for a few hours of meetings in August and the timing warranted an overnight stay. I therefore looked for a nice play to spend the night that would guarantee a good night's sleep, under EUR 100 for the two of us.

As this was a Sunday night weekend rates applied and there were literally hundreds of hotels to choose from on I took advantage of their new feature that presents guest ratings in words and restricted my search to hotels with ratings over 9 out of 10, which labels Superb (why settle for Fabulous if you can have Superb, right?).

We ended up with the Moods Boutique Hotel, a new place in Klimentska near Florence, reportedly a 'Superb' hotel, not least because it was minutes from where my meetings took place. offered Moods for EUR 99 for the Standard Room including breakfast.

I phoned the hotel directly (though its website was pretty hard to find in Google). The friendly receptionist said they had rooms free, I could just come without reserving and may even be able to get a few euros of the published 'Best Available Rate'.

Did we enjoy the night at Moods? Yes. Did I think it was worth the price we paid? Sure. Is this a Superb hotel? Well let's say I would rate it pretty good.

Getting there
Klimentska is reasonably central but Moods sits at a weird spot. The street is one way from that spot, in both directions. This means that you cannot get to Moods via Klimentska itself but have to reach it the only way through a side street (which appears nameless on Google maps), coming to it from Lannova or Barvirska.

We did not figure this out until we walked the area a bit on foot so even though we saw the hotel, getting to it by car took us another half hour of circling through one way streets of Prague 1.

Prague 1 also means there is hardly any street parking - there were numerous empty spots but all marked as resident spots with blue lines. The hotel uses parking facilities in the next door Hotel Klement but these were full and we were either offered parking at another hotel a few minutes walk away (Bila Labut) or told to park in Petrske Namesti square, where there is public parking (metered on weekdays from 8 am to 6 pm with two hour maximum).

Checking in
As advised via telephone we showed up annonced. The gentleman at reception looked surprised but was polite enough. I explained that I had phoned about a room. He asked what I had been promised. Truthfully, I replied I had been told there were rooms available and we could get a discount on the published rate.

After a while of searching (which allowed me to note the Vitra chair I was sitting on) and asking his colleague from the bar to check on the state of a room (305) he said he would give us a room slightly larger than most at a rate slightly lower than EUR 99 - at 90. This seemed a great deal and we accepted gratefully, to be escorted upstairs.

The room
Let me get the good stuff out of the way. Moods makes a lot of its Hastens beds. The bed was good, but there was a crack between the two mattresses. There are free coffee and tea makinjg facilities.

The floor was hard wood (walnut?) and nice enough. The furniture was very simple, white polished surface. There was an LCD TV, minibar. The lamp is a nice Artemide, as advertised on the hotel's website (along with Hastens for beds, Apple and Bose for stuff in rooms beyond my price level).

A reviewer on talked of forward looking design but in that respect I would beg to differ. Buying an expensive bed and floor is nice and good but not really a design thing. The rest of the design at the Moods was either missing or questionable.

Artemide Lamp and Wall Decoration at Prague Hotel Moods
Perhaps what bothered me most was the overall feel - very cold and empty. The wall design relied on quotes from a book (by Czech writer Peter Sis??) and these were also interspersed in other spaces. The furniture was minimalist.

A signature feature was a colour-changing LED lamp behind the head of the bed, which had a set of (mechanically poorly functioning) controls for colour and intensity. I guess to match the colour to your MOOD, get it, right?

Where the room took turn for the cheap was the bathroom. No design, cheapish looking tiling and most importantly Roco fixtures (armatury). I have a feeling not all readers will identify with the paragaph but: in a four-star design/boutique hotel you need a Hansgrohe if you can't afford Axor, schematically speaking.

Roco fixtures are certainly not offensive looking but around the shower head at the Moods Boutique Hotel the metal hose covering was already 'unbound' detached from the handle part, uncovering a piece of the plastic hose within.

There was a bidet but the bath itself was very narrow and thus uncomfortable. This to me was a questionable choice, too. The White Company toiletries were not enough to fix the mixed impression.

Overall this was not design that worked for me and my resident design dot expert said it was because there was not that much design.

View from Room 305 at the Moods Boutique Hotel in Prague
But then in the morning our window suddenly showed what could unassaultably be advertised as a Vltava river view (there really was a bit of water visible and a floor above it would likely be much more).

The common spaces
There are some nice details in the lobby and restaurant although as a whole these spaces do not amaze. To be brief, I wouldn't go there for the design.

No reservations about breakfest. A small but kind buffet, with a cosy feel. Sausages, eggs, cereal, fruit, cold cuts, veggies, salads, roasted veggies, cake, croissant, good bread and three carafes of actual fruit juice. A Douwe Egberts coffe automat (good choice in its class).

I am also sold on the breakfast being until 11:30 (with continental breakfast being served per order any time during the day).

Design-wise lots of effort (including Vitra Eiffel chairs) but a result with a questionable feel.

Other remarks

As always the experience turns on the staff. Here the staff were very good (although by no means perfect). Most interactions were pleasant although I did not always quite feel understood (this may simply be on account of me speaking Slovak, right?).

The staff were very kind in lettin gus keep our luggage at reception all day and when I asked for a room to change in they offered the underground conference room all to myseld.

I would go back to the Moods because the bed was good, breakfast was good, staff tried hard. But with the feeling that for the same rate or slightly higher I may be able to do better at some of the many Prague hotel options.

Then again, there is that other class of rooms at the Moods, the Deluxes, Maisonette and Apple. Maybe if I splurged on those I would walk away with a different impression?