IMPERIAL (****): More than a spa hotel, the monumental Imperial can't be miss: perched atop a green hill, it dominates Karlsbad with majesty and pride.
After decades of splendour and fame, the dark period of communism slowly turned the Imperial into a decayed sanatorium for tired proletarians. It had been totally refurbished, after a fastuous grand-reopening in April 2003, in its 1912 elegance, comfort and luxury. Let's congratulate the architects and designers: they respected that much its authenticity that, shouldn't it be the inadequate presence of some "brejnev style" leather sofas in the superb lobby, we felt like in an historic castle. An Egyptian guest who came recently, after his grand-father enjoyed the Imperial before the first World War: from the family pictures, he actually recognized the same ballroom where his ancestor took part of local social life when a youngster!
Rooms are exceptionally large for the Czech Republic. Let's compare them with those at the Pupp; but the Imperial is far better than what used to be, since its refurbishment, the fanciest old style palace hotel in Karlsbad. For many reasons. First of all, due to its dominating position, view from the 205 rooms (including 15 large suites and 2 lavish Presidential Suites) suites is very impressive, indeed. You don't even need to stay on the upper floors to enjoy a dramatic panorama over the green hills and the baroque Spa City. From the terrasse of the first floor Presidential Suite, equipped with elegant teck wood garden furniture, the view is breathtaking. Intimacy reaches its summit in the lovely Villa Hofman: we stayed in this dependency, a few meters away from the Imperial. Extremely quiet, with an old fashioned wood paneled living room equipped with an antique Petrof piano, it developped somehow the atmosphere of a novel by Dostoievsky. We loved it, indeed.
Another advantage compared with the Pupp: the Imperial is what one calls here sanatorium. This word, sounding quite obsolete in Western countries, actually defines an hotel equipped with SPA facilities; and much more, as most complete medical treatments, including surgery, are available in the premise of the Imperial. The Rothschild, Richard Strauss, Douglas Fairbank and Mary Pickford, all those who made this hotel world famous during the Golden Years, actually didn't enjoyed one tenth of the facilities available nowadays for Russian guests! Taking profit of incredibly advantageous package rates, including accommodation and half/full-board, they get through an admission examination, before being instructed to necessary cares. Often preceeded by biochemical and haematological laboratory examinations, plus ergometry-load tolerance test, they of course always start with the classical drinking water treatment. Pool and sauna are available on a daily basis. Electrotherapy, bubble bath and classic massage are among the favorites. More original is the Okkaido (45 minutes steam bath with herb ingredient), included in the "Manager's Programme".
We were not curists; nevertheless, for a reasonable fee, classic treatments remained available anytime. Used to thermalism in Central Europe (above all Hungary), we found the sanatorium amazingly modern compared with what we used to see during our previous trips. As a matter of fact, the Imperial gets the lattest -and most expensive- equipment. Their Okkaido, for instance, might be a unique item in the Czech Republic. For who requires some Gerovital treatment, just one good piece of advice: avoid the Romanian Black Sea dubious sanatoriums, and rather come here, where similar care is available in top hygienic and comfortable conditions.
Speaking about progress: we saw at the Imperial brand new sport installations. Karlsbad being famous in all Europe for its splendid golf courses, the hotel just opened an indoor training range, with made in California computarized equipment to improve your swing. It will cost you fifth of what you would be expected to pay on a local outdoor green. The Imperial group, managing the hotel, being share holder of Karlsbad most beautiful golf club, there is nothing easier than getting a short term membership to play there in the best conditions. That's fairly cheap compared to France or Germany, indeed.
Gourmets will like the Imperial restaurant, serving delicious Czech specialties. The ballroom, in its turn of the century splendour, is even more pleasant than the recently refurbished Cafe Elefant. They serve the best and most generous Struddels in town. Who knows why, both this top deluxe restaurant and tea-room are still registered second class: as a matter of fact, prices still go with the category, and make the Imperial the best value for money place to dine and wine in Karlsbad.
The hotel has got an intimate dependance Hoffman, with a view on its tennis court.
A great address.
DVORAK (****) : This is, for many reasons, the best address in the whole center of the SPA City. First of all, the Dvorak is strategically located on Nova Louka: the main pedestrian street in the spa-gardens, in the quiet shopping area, at the foot of the green hills overlooking the city (best view from the lovely rooms 209, 210, 309, 310). Moreover, what they call an hotel is somehow a very well equipped Sanatorium providing any spa treatment you may be looking for: it goes from drinking care to geriatry (they propose the world famous Gerovital injections), including hydrotherapy, gas injections, electrotherapy, and many other specialities performed by competent and charming nurses. Their Dr F.X. Mayr cure is one of the most popular: this regeneration method of treatment uses the cleansing of the digestive tract to rid the body of harmful by-products, and enhance the healing and regeneration of the entire organism. Karlsbad is world famous for its digestive treatments. We personally enjoyed a "relaxation cure" at the Dvorak: they get brand new tubs for hydrotherapy, and also water-pulse beds which make you get rid of your stress within a few minutes. The "Mild recreation beauty treatment" is particularly a pleasant and easy one: with CO² and bubble baths, underwater massages, hydrotherapy, Parafango and "Slide-Styler".
There is a wide range of good value package prices (full board with treatments), which make that top comfortable four star hotels much affordable, indeed. There are 106 modern rooms (76 standard rooms, 20 comfort-rooms and 10 apartments): our last stay, in Summer 2002, gave us the opportunity to inspect some of the new Comfort Rooms, which are more in the five star category (at a slightly higher rate): large, warmly and elegantly wood panelled, they display more luxurious furniture, fabrics and equipments than the rest of the rooms (like controlled air-conditioning, trouser-press, in-room safe as well as a connection for computer or fax). You will pay, approximately EUR 58 - 115 (per person, per night), depending on type of room and wether staying during low or high season.
Of course, as this is a modern hotel, the spa is not as picturesque as the Lazne I for instance; though definitly more ritzy, with a wonderful brand new Roman steam-bath next to the recently enlarged sauna and to the pleasant swimming-pool.
Last but not least, this the place where curists and travellers will find the most dedicated service in town.
REZIDENCE VRIDELNI (***L): Opened in 1997, the Rezidence Vridelni occupies a strategic location in the centre of the historical spa quarter of Karlsbad: overlooking the splendid Mill Colonnade. Which is perfect to attend treatments and enjoy both social and cultural life. This extremely intimate residence offers 6 modern and top comfortable Management Suites. Large and functional (approximately 68 sq.m), they display 2 separate bedrooms, a living room with a working corner, plug for computer, IDD telephone, satellite TV (programs in English, German, Czech), a bathroom with a shower corner and separate WC, plus -which is extremely useful for long stay- a fully furnished kitchen. We loved at first sight the breathtaking view over the Colonnade, which can be enjoyed from the balconies. Each suite accommodates at ease 4 people.
Guests of the Rezidence Vridelni can use the facilities of the neighbouring Rezidence Moravska: Norwegian sauna, beauty treatments, manicure/pedicure, secretarial services, billiard, and office of spa doctor. Car park and shuttle service are provided.
Breakfast is served in the room along with a newspaper of your choice.
The restaurant is fine, with a pleasant terrace: ideal to enjoy the atmosphere of the spa colonnade.
from about EUR 70 till EUR 140, depending on low/high season, length of
stay and room category.
VRIDELNI: Vrídelní 41, 360 00 Karlsbad
REZIDENCE SADOVA (***L): A stone's throw from the stunningly disorientating Russian orthodox church "Peter and Paul", atop a green hill, in the quarter boasting with the most beautiful architecture in Karlsbad, we found this new suite hotel more than attractive. The 8 Grand Suites (120 m2), hosting 4 people, have a large living room with a study corner, computer plug, IDD telephone, satellite TV (with English, Russian, Czech, German, French and Arabian broadcasts), a fully furnished kitchen, a balcony, two separate bedrooms, and an elegant bathroom with separate toilet. As modern and elegantly designed for demanding clients as the Grand Suites, 3 Senior Suites (40 m2) are also available. There is a cellar for storing bicycles and luggage. Breakfast is served in the room, along with a newspaper of your choice.
The Rezidence Sadova guests can relax in the hotel's private sauna. Secretarial services and baby-sitting are available on simple request. Cars can be parked at the Rezidence Moravska.
Rates vary from about EUR 50 till EUR 150, depending on low/high season, length of stay and room category.
SADOVA: Sadová 45, 50 , 360 01 Karlsbad
REZIDENCE MORAVSKA (***L): Using the same concept as the Rezidence Vridelni, and property of the same hotel group, the Rezidence Moravska is also very well located: closed to the Vrídlo (Hot Spring). Its 40 double or four-bedded (1 or 2 bedrooms / 35 - 85 m2) suites are fully furnished with a complete kitchen, a dining room, a beautiful bathroom. Equipped with functional working area, where you businessmen on a treatment in Karlsbad can still work with their computer, the rooms are provided with IDD telephone, alarm system, personal mail box and satellite TV receiving programs in five languages. We liked their cosy atmosphere of luxurious „temporary flats" which is quite unique in town. Ideal for long stay, they have their own safe storage facilities for bikes and luggage available in the hotel's basement.
The Rezidence Moravska associates optimally the advantages of private accommodation and exclusive hotel services: fulfilling guests’ most personal requirements.
Norwegian sauna, massages, manicure/pedicure, and billiard are part of the Rezidence Moravska facilities. Services also include children's care and holiday programs. Car park and shuttle service are provided on simple request.
Rates vary from about EUR 62 till EUR 200, depending on low/high season, length of stay and room category.REZIDENCE MORAVSKA: Moravská 42, 360 01 Karlsbad
PHONE: (420-17) 323.0702 FACSIMILE: 323.6242