Filed under: Art
A new East European mall has a unique draw, a dinosaur-themed amusement park. Bloomberg has a report on the Galerie Harfa, a shopping mall in Prague's Vysocany suburb. The article says that mall space has more than quadrupled since the former Soviet states joined the European Union in 2004. While once it was merely enough for these malls to offer access to popular and trendy brands now shoppers want the big wow, hence the dinosaurs. Like many malls here in the U.S., the Galerie Harfa will be more than just a place to shop but also a place to hang out. The rooftop park has life-sized replicas of dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops in a setting of palm trees and pathways. The 220-million-euro project will include tenants like Interspar, Marks & Spencer, Intersport, Esprit and Datart. It is located near the O2 Arena which hosts sporting and other events. The mall is set to open at the end of the year.
Inspired by the 2001 film Amelie, a new travel agency in the Czech Republic called Toy Traveling is offering a unique luxury vacation not for you, but for your toys. You send them your favorite stuffed animal and they'll take it on an escorted luxury trip all around Prague, taking photographs of it at sights like Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge. And if you'd like your fuzzy friend to really have a great time you can even pay extra for a massage, which includes incense and candles, or the 'dearest package' that comes with a cushion and duvet to make the journey home especially comfortable on his padded little behind.
Prices start at about $120 for the basic package and get up over $200 depending on options.
Filed under: Luxury Travel & Hotels
Not long ago we would have believed that Prague had everything. The city responsible for gifting us with the Horologue, the Charles Bridge, Good King Wenceslas, Bohemians and the Lennon Wall, Havel, Kafka, Kundera, the Iron Door, and a mythical, 9-foot nocturnal worker made of clay simply had to be able to check off all the boxes. Apparently, we were wrong: the city had no luxuriant members-only club. That is, until LS Club arrived.
In Prague's district 1 -- of course -- the 2-story club's playrooms include a members' lounge, business center with 50-seat conference center and reception, SHISO Japanese restaurant featuring a chef with a NOBU pedigree, and its Cristal nightclub will be opening on New Year's Eve. You don't need to be a member to dine at SHISO, and for a closer look at LS you can step into The Library, open to members and restaurant patrons. That's where you'll find the cigars, humidor, and hundreds of whiskeys and vintage cognacs. And, of course, 500 volumes of literature, because your Rocky Patel Vintage '92 isn't complete without The Trial.
Beyond its location, LS offers complimentary transfers from the center of town, a personal concierge service, a meet & greet service for your international guests, and private shopping arrangements. Speaking of private, LS Club is all about it: no photography is allowed inside and no members of the media can join... which means you won't even find Luxist there. However, since LS membership also means reciprocal rights at a host of private clubs worldwide, you might find us elsewhere. But before you find out about those other establishments, you'll have to get into this one first.
The Rocco Forte Collection of boutique European luxury hotels is celebrating Belgium's new René Magritte Museum with a special package at their five-star Hotel Amigo (above) in Brussels. The museum, opening in June, will contain 170 works by the Belgian Surrealist master. The Amigo features copies of Magritte paintings and design elements throughout. Its Magritte Suite is an elegant series of rooms with amazing city views. In addition to tickets to the new museum, a Magritte book, and other perks, the Magritte Museum package includes a special dinner at the hotel's excellent Ristorante Bocconi.
Meanwhile the Rocco Forte Collection just opened their 12th and newest property in Prague, The Augustine. Located in Prague's Mal Strana district in the heart of the city's rich cultural center, a short walk from the majestic Prague Castle, the Wallenstein Gardens and the famous Charles Bridge, the 101-bedroom hotel was created from a set of seven buildings. Many of of them are historically significant, including the 13th-century Augustinian St. Thomas Monastery for which the hotel is named.
Filed under: Luxury Travel & Hotels
Botels -- also known as boat hotels -- are a unique way to stay waterside without the port-to-port stops of a cruise. Sure, the accommodations include a rocking-to-sleep sensation and the sound of lapping water but if you really wanted these features wouldn't you look for a full-service cruise instead? I'm not exactly sure what the big perks are for those that choose to stay at these botels but I included a myriad of pictures so you can come to your own conclusion. Whether you're stopping through Stockholm, Budapest or Prague these botels would certainly not be your run-of-the-mill lodging option.
Gallery: Botel Accommodations
Filed under: Jewelry
Imagine having the crown shown above placed on your head. You can't do that but you can get a rare glimpse at the ornate creation. The crown is part of the Czech crown jewels currently on display at Prague castle. The gold crown is studded with 96 precious stones including rubies and sapphires. The AFP reports that it was first worn by the Holy Roman emperor and king of Bohemia, Charles IV of Luxembourg, for his Prague coronation in 1347. The crown is being shown along the the scepter, imperial orb and other priceless objects. Czechs and foreign visitors have only been allowed to view the jewels nine times in the last century. This time it is to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Czech Republic, the 90th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia and the re-election of President Vaclav Klaus and the object will be display for 11 days.
I've seen some pretty strange architectural renderings but the one above definitely ranks high on the wackiness scale. It's the Czech National Library by Jan Kaplicky, a new major building project set to go up in Prague. But is it too modern for the beautiful old city? The Guardian reports that the Mayor doesn't like it, the current President of the Republic doesn't like it, and the director of Prague's National Gallery believes it is too strong for the historic quarter in which the library will be situated.
The new plan for the library was the result of an international design competition in which 350 entries competed to built the £50m structure. Kaplicky's winning design is a 48 meter tall globular structure that has been likened to both a jellyfish and an octopus. Above ground are public spaces, reading rooms, and other public spaces while the 10 million books will be located down below and available via an automated retrieval system.
So far, the public seems to be on his side. In October, Kaplicky went on Czech television to debate the merits of the building wit the Mayor of Prague. And 12,000 people have signed a petition saying it should be built. Before Christmas Kaplicky presented the design to the Deputies and he is determined to get the project pushed through.
Filed under: Luxury Travel & Hotels
There are five other new Buddha Bar hotels planned so far including Panama, Dominican Republic, Paris, Sal Hasheesh/Egypt and 'The World', Dubai's island project shaped like the continents of the world.