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.
This opulent hotel at the foot of the Alps would not stand today if it were not for … a wine shop 🍷
With its founding dating back to 1848 by Andreas Gredig, the Belle-Epoque style Grand Hotel Kronenhof was the epitome of luxury at the turn of the 19th Century. The horseshoe-shaped hotel included an ice-skating rink, a tennis court, and a “grand restaurant” with quite the view, nestled at the foot of the Alps in the quiet town of Pontresina.
Tourism declined drastically with the onset of WWI, forcing hotel and spa owners all over the area to figure out ways to keep their sumptuous Swiss stays afloat. Luckily, the Gredig family had long since kept a wine cellar, stocked full of Veltliner whites and Italian reds from across the border. While many hotels went under, the Kronenhof remained through that time as a wine supplier for the people of Pontresina and St. Mortiz—who with the economic stress going on probably needed it.
The cellar that saved the storied hotel still exists today, requiring an odyssey through the restaurant’s kitchen and a wooden staircase to reach its entrance. Though now mainly used for private events, the many large oak barrels and mementos from the hotel’s past strewn around the hidden cellar give credence that this room saved the whole operation.
Written by: Seamus McMahon
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