Travel: Saying ‘I do’ in baroque Bohemia

A rundown on the spectacular wedding destinations in The Czech Republic for those looking for an extraordinary setting for their nuptial ceremony

By William Skidmore

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Published: Fri 24 Nov 2023, 10:11 PM

The Czech Republic has long been the sanctuary of artists, musicians, and poets. As the etymological home of Bohemianism built on royalist and religious roots, it remains one of the few European nations to retain most of its architectural charm, making it one of the most romantic and enchanting spots on the continent.

Through a combination of foreign direct investment and domestic reinvestment, Prague and its countryside have become one of the undiscovered gems for luxury tourism and destination weddings. Starting from the capital city of Prague, we explored some of the country's top spots, ranging from rural retreats to fairytale palaces and a cultural landscape that caters to all faiths, foods, and finances.

Augustine

Part of Starwood's Luxury Collection, this 13th-century monastery, has a 101-key capacity, which includes a series of signature suites. The Augustine is one of the city's most opulent hotels, which provides ample private dining and wedding facilities. Under the guidance of head chef Jan Horák, guests can expect a seasonally adjusted menu, while the hotel spa incorporates bespoke treatments ranging from in-suite massages to body scrubs and eye treatments.

The Mozart Prague

Located within just three minutes of the famed Charles Bridge, the Mozart Prague is where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his Six German Dances. The hotel's sophisticated renovations have made it a refuge for the Hollywood glitterati and a sanctuary for those seeking five-star accommodation close to the city's most notable attractions.

Noted for hosting over 375 years of memorable parties, concerts, and experiences, The Mozart Prague retains its reputation for elegant celebrations. With a capacity to accommodate up to 140 guests, its two courtyards provide a perfect refuge for partygoers seeking a palatial ambience just a stone's throw from the heart of the city.

Mandarin Oriental

Located in Prague's historic Malá Strana district, the Mandarin Oriental occupies the site of a former 14th-century Dominican monastery. Retaining much of its original architecture, its high-gated walls provide a sanctuary from the city. At the same time, its spa, housed in a former 16th-century chapel, offers sumptuous therapies, including a three-day package designed to pamper newlyweds and guests alike. With a total of 99 rooms, the hotel's reception area includes a Grand Ballroom, Dominicus Hall, Monastery Lounge and Garden, and provides an idyllic environment for small to medium weddings and includes ceremony, reception, and access to the culinary skills of executive chef, Michal Horvath.

Lobkowicz Palace

As the only privately-owned building in Prague Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 16th century Lobkowicz Palace offers a wide variety of options for couples tying the knot and it includes access to one of the castle complex's few open terraces providing unrestricted views of the city. Equipped with a historic chapel, a 17th century Imperial Hall and a selection of reception rooms, the palace's extensive history adds plenty of charm to what is already one of the grandest buildings in the city.

Villa Richter

Shortly after exiting the walls of Prague Castle, Villa Richter, nestled in the middle of the St. Wenceslas Vineyard, provides a rural ambience while remaining close to the city. Primarily designed for open-air weddings, Villa Richter includes a stunning orangery that can cater to up to 35 guests, while its adjoining private lounges can comfortably host up to 70. On the southern terrace, a semi-permanent wedding gazebo, equipped with a wooden floor, textile ceiling and crystal chandeliers, provides space for up to 120 guests, with unrestricted views of the city. Replete with more than 700 rare wines, Villa Richter also offers the services of former Mandarin Oriental executive chef Stephen Senewiratne.

Rural Chateau Mcely

Described as an 'eco-chic' chateau hotel, Chateau Mcely, located just one hour from Prague, offers panoramic views over the rolling Bohemian countryside and is equipped with complete spa facilities within its manicured park and surrounding forest. Furnished with 24 rooms, including five suites, which can accommodate up to 55 guests, the hotel's facilities can cater to up to 90 people, with additional capacity in a marquee upon request. Catering to various tastes and budgets, Chateau Mcely's in-house wedding coordinators oversee all aspects of each wedding, from entertainment to floral arrangements. At the same time, its restaurant, Piano Nobile, directed by executive chef Honza Štěrba, is frequently listed as one of the country's top eateries.

Chateau Ratměřice

With its origins dating back to the early 18th century, Chateau Ratměřice provides a clean and elegant venue for all seasons. With accommodation spread over 19 rooms, including a wedding suite and two superior suites, the Chateau also provides a stylishly renovated, pet-friendly farmhouse with two further bedrooms. The wellness centre includes a Finnish sauna (for up to eight persons), a steam sauna, a jacuzzi, a tepidarium and a range of massages upon request. There is a dedicated play area for younger guests, while the hotel's biopool, open from June to September, provides ample space amidst the park's ancient woodland.

Fine dining and specialised catering are facilitated by Restaurant Sequoia, which primarily focuses on Czech cuisine using local suppliers and can cater up to 80 plates, with an additional 70 seats on the adjacent terrace. Regarding ceremony, couples can choose to wed in the grounds in front of the Chateau, in the local church or even under the giant, 42 metres Sequoias, from which the restaurant takes its name. In addition to the Chateau's dedicated wine-tasting facilities, Ratměřice has been carefully thought out to provide a luxurious country retreat with an emphasis on best-in-class gastronomy.

Farm Michael

For nature lovers who enjoy roaring log fires in autumn or outdoor cook-outs in summer, Farm Michael offers a truly rural destination that incorporates comfort and gastronomy with countryside living. Born through the cooperation of the farm's owner and the local agricultural community, Farm Michael provides the freshest produce and meats, including a herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle, which are all within a square mile of the property. Complete with a herb garden and seasonal vegetable patch, guests can even hand-pick their eggs directly from the hen house, while its dining hall, furnished with Festzelte-style long tables and benches, provides a cosy environment, even for large parties.

Aside from its low crime rate, clean public areas and widely spoken English, Prague is a highly accessible city with daily flights from Dubai on Emirates and all venues listed between 30 minutes to an hour away by car.

In contrast to other glitzy, cliché wedding destinations, the Czech Republic has quietly emerged as a highly competitive alternative for those seeking understated elegance in a culturally rich setting, and at a price point which is hard to beat.

wknd@khaleejtimes.com


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