Prague, Czech Republic
A hot-pink confection of Bohemian Neo-Renaissance style, the Hotel Opera stands in the less touristy Nové Město, or “New Town,” quarter of storied Prague.
Located in the direct-center of the hotel’s 12-floor marbled façade, this balcony embodies the same blend of contemporary and classical European architectural styles used throughout the establishment. When the Four Seasons took over in 2002, they also inherited La Mansión, a completely separate 3-story French Renaissance-style building that was a wedding gift from Mr. Felix Alzaga Unzué to his wife Elena Peña in 1920. Both members of Argentinian aristocracy, they were infatuated with the spoils of European culture and envisioned a new Paris on the banks of La Plata del Río.
In charge of La Mansión’s 4-year construction was Scotsman Robert Russell, who combined Felix and Elena’s varied architectural preferences. Felix preferred the English Edwardian style, whereas Elena was enamored with the French castles of Loire. Marry the two, and the result will be a hôtel particulier de la Belle Époque: a large mansion designed for a single family of significant means, with 4 floors of well-defined functions. The lower level held the kitchens and accommodations for male service personnel topped by the attic, where female staff lived.
The Four Seasons renovated the palace, aiming to recover its original spirit, with its 7 suites fitted to accentuate their owners’ diverse taste and fondness for opulence. The Versailles-inspired Presidential Suite, once Elena’s chambers, is just shy of 2000 square feet, complete with a marble bathroom with basins and taps made entirely of gold and her two-story dressing room with a small wooden staircase. The second floor was originally designed for Elena’s extensive collection of gloves and hats. So for $10,000 per night, make your stay worthwhile and bring your accessories along.
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