Prague's newest five-star hotel, the Augustine Hotel Prague, is simply heavenly, fashioned as it is from seven buildings surrounding the cloisters of the 13th century St. Thomas Church and Monastery, and featuring a working community of Augustinian friars living in adjoining quarters. The result is an upscale hotel that conveys ecclesiastical serenity but not monastic austerity.
Designers have converted the old monastery cells into 101 plush rooms, many with vaulted ceilings and marble bathrooms with heated floors. Heavy linens in papal-inspired shades of purple, red and orange channel a relaxing warmth, while furniture inspired by 1930s Czech Cubism gives the rooms a quirky edge. All suites boast views of Prague Castle, the monastery or garden courtyards. Most impressive, however, are the 360-degree views from the Tower Suite, a three-story penthouse that once served as the monastery's observatory.
The former refectory houses a bar where visitors sip sinful "Archangel" cocktails beneath 19th century Baroque frescoes. And the monastery's centuries-old brewery has been brought back to life in a cavernous cellar; it once again brews an aromatic lager that follows the monks' time-honored recipe. When you tire of gluttony, head to the Augustine spa to cleanse your sins with holistic therapies, including a body wrap in beer that nourishes the skin. A divine experience.
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