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.
The Hotel Sacher stands among the world’s great luxury hotels and is celebrated as a veritable Viennese institution. Since its opening in 1876, the hotel has been distinguished for offering both cosmopolitan prestige and the country’s finest patisserie. Years before the hotel opened, Franz Sacher invented and perfected the recipe for the divine chocolate tart known as the Sacher torte. Deemed incomparable by many a gourmet, it is still hand- made today, using a secret recipe.
But it was Franz’s son Eduard who opened the hotel. Soon after, he married a butcher’s daughter, Anna Maria Fuchs, who swiftly took charge and helped elevate the Hotel Sacher Wien into a hub for the creme de la creme of Vienna’s social scene. Eduard died in 1892, leaving his formidable thirty-three-year-old wife in charge. With devotion and flair, she developed a reputation for managing the hotel with classy discretion (never revealing what went on in her hotel’s chambres séparées, private dining rooms in which wealthy male patrons were serviced in any number of ways).
In addition to being credited with the Hotel’s ongoing success, Madame Sacher is remembered for her omnipresent cigar and sizable crew of French bulldogs. She was addicted to both with a steadfastness that would put Churchill to shame.
The end of the monarchy in 1919 spelled a loss of business for the hotel, and the Madame became increasingly withdrawn. In 1930, she died in her room at the hotel.
Her grandeur lived on over the course of the twentieth century through the Sacher’s reputation, as it welcomed guests including Indira Gandhi, Queen Elizabeth II, and JFK. And though the institution lost its true ambassador, the Sacher torte has maintained its status as a coveted delicacy: around 360,000 handcrafted cakes are still sent around the globe every year.
Perhaps in honor of Madame Sacher’s adoration for her canine companions, the hotel provides five-star accommodation for dogs. Call ahead and let them know if you are bringing your four-legged companion; if so, your room will be equipped with doggy blankets, towels, feeding bowls, and a comfortable basket with linens of various sizes—in addition to a special “Do Not Disturb” sign for your pup.
Dog food can be purchased from the front desk, but for those with more nuanced palettes, the hotel chefs will happily prepare a custom course. “They should simply order up a tenderloin or a veal schnitzel from room service,” the hotel manager advised Reuters in 2015. For further helpful tips, one can request the “Sacher Pets—Animal Etiquette.”
With such esteem for canine visitors, it’s no wonder that one would be featured in the restaurant’s opulent Rote Bar (next spread). The dining room is festooned in red crushed velvet, with gilded details and crystal chandeliers. A distinguished St. Bernard owns the focus, while surrounding portraits honor some humans of note, such as Emperor Franz Joseph.
The hotel’s main dining room, however, is still named for Madame Anna Sacher. When visiting, be sure to pay respect to her oil portrait, which reveals her impressive stature and preferred companions— flanked by bulldogs, she wears an expression that does little to disguise her desire to cease posing and get back to her cigars.
Image available as a collectable, limited-edition art print 🖼 Shop now!
Written By: Accidentally Wes Anderson
Already have an account? Log In