How is the Mandarin Oriental positioned in Prague’s luxury hospitality sector? What has been the evolution of the market in the past 2, 3 years?
Mandarin Oriental, Prague is positioned amongst the top luxury hotels in Prague and, despite the new supply in hotel rooms in the city, our property has managed to maintain its position and one of a few luxury hotels.
Similarly to other landmark tourist destinations, Prague has seen an afflux of ‘five star’ rated boutique / independent hotels to the detriment of major international luxury chains. Has this been a disrupter factor or rather the residential rentals?
There has been a significant increase in the hotel room supply in Prague recently, whether small or independent properties. This is affecting all luxury hotels in the city. At the same time, many new residential lets are now available for short-term rentals which puts added pressure on occupancy for all hotels. This is affecting all luxury hotels in the city, but the good news is that the new supply has also positively impacted visitor arrivals to Prague, which continue to increase.
Guests who choose to stay at a luxury hotel such as Mandarin Oriental, Prague are looking for a more holistic experience that combines comfortable accommodation, excellent dining and wellness facilities, underpinned by personalised service – all of which is available under one roof.
As an established and mature property, which are the main competitive advantages of your hotels?
The hotel has several unique selling points, including one of the best locations in Prague. Its location in the quiet neighborhood of Mala Strana allows guests to stroll the surroundings cobbled-stone alley-ways that wind their way around many of the city’s historic monuments, including Charles Bridge, which is a short 2-minute walk away. The hotel is housed within a former 14th Century Monastery with a gated entrance featuring high walls and is a haven of tranquility, away from the busy city. Our colleagues are however the ones that really make a difference – they go above and beyond to offer an exceptional experience to our guests.
What is the profile of your staying guests? To what extent you cater to leisure versus corporate stays?
Prague is predominantly a leisure destination so in line with this, our hotel has almost 80% of its guests staying for Leisure.
Besides your location and being housed in a heritage building, what has been your approach to maintaining and possibly even exceeding the already well-established high customer service standard of the hotel?
I believe adapting to the ever-changing need of our guests has allowed us to maintain our positioning in Prague. As a brand, we review and adapt service standards regularly, obtaining feedback, understanding what guests want and adapting our products or services. Mission-critical is really taking the time to speak with guests. We are also very fortunate to have several key management positions which have been with the hotel since opening or shortly thereafter. Their knowledge of our guests, of the hotel and of managing expectations is a huge asset in helping deliver great service.
Which are the challenges you have been encountering but also the unexploited opportunities of Prague as a luxury destination?
On a luxury level, I think travellers who are looking for educational experiences can do so in Prague. In addition to visiting the historic and cultural sites, there are opportunities for ‘by appointment only’ tours which we are in a position to provide. This includes, for example, a tour of Prague Castle and its majestic grounds and rooms or a private visit with artisans in their workshops to experience anything from puppet making to violin construction. Music of course is everywhere – whether you wish to support young artists in a church concert or attend an opera in the National Theatre or the Prague State Opera, reputed as one of the top 10 Opera houses globally.
Do you also attract local patrons? Tell us more about your F&B and events offering.
The local market supports the hotel with both our Spices Restaurant and Bar being a favorite for authentic Asian Cuisine, headed by Sri Lankan Executive Chef Stephen Senewiratne. Having only been in Prague for a few months, I am told Prague transforms itself in the summer and outside dining is very popular. I am looking forward to the reopening of our outside terrace which will feature an international menu with some of Spices favorite dishes.
Our Spa which is housed in a former chapel features illuminated foundations of the former 14th-Century church and is a haven of tranquility and a favourite amongst Prague Spa aficionados. Mandarin Oriental’s signature spa therapies have been devised to address guests’ increasing desire for simple, effective and authentic spa experiences. In addition to international brands like Aromatherapy Associates and Linda Meredith, we have partnered with Chateau MCELY, the traditional Czech herbal aromatherapy expert.
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