“Pardon?” is the most common word we use during our stay at Divadelni 22. Covering an entire floor, this two-bed (doubles), two-bathroom apartment is so huge that we can’t clearly hear each other from one end to the next.
It’s the gaff of dreams: high ceilings, original, decorative doors and cornices, a high-tech kitchen, dining room, lounge and two balconies overlooking Kranner’s Fountain, the river Vltava and, beyond that, the hilltop Prague Castle. It’s quite the view and spans the length of the apartment.
“D22” is a hit with film production companies – and it shows. Rooms are sparse and contemporary – no chintz or frivolous ornaments or artwork – but incredibly comfortable, ideal for a long-term let. Well, if it’s good enough for Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan, who stayed here with their families during the filming of World War II drama Anthropoid (2016) … The property itself dates back to 1905 and is the Czech off-spring of France’s wine-making Chateau de Panisseau (chateaudepanisseau.com), some 20 kilometres from Bordeaux. The chateau produces its own red, white and rose vin – hence D22’s honesty bar and wine club.
We’re in town for a four-nights, hunkering down for some quality time and, while the aforementioned castle, the Charles Bridge and Astronomical Clock are must-sees for the first-time visitor, the inevitable swathes of large tour groups being herded from one historic pillar to post, proved to be a nuisance for this writer. Fortunately, you don’t have to venture too far for a bit of calm – take a turn off the main drag into any one of the Old Town’s many beautiful arteries and you’ll find your peace, quiet – and perhaps an obligatory strudel, at the historic Café Montmartre, where once notable Czech bohemians (Franz Kafka, Egon Erwin Kisch) caroused and crafted their masterpieces. Montmartre’s rowdy cabaret origins more than a century ago are long gone, but antique furniture and a steady roll call of artistic patrons, from local actors to architects, carry the torch of days gone by.
It’s a city to get lost in and, if you like cocktails, it’s hazardously easy to lose a few hours at locals’ favourite Bonvivant’s CTC (bonvivantsprague.com), less than five minutes’ walk from D22. It’s tiny and has a laid-back retro, speakeasy vibe, with bartenders who are an encyclopaedia of mixology knowledge: if you’re dithering at the drinks menu, tell them your likes/dislikes and they’ll rustle up something bespoke. Great value, too.
For daytime eats, cross the Most Legií, or Legion Bridge, for the elegant Café Savoy (cafesavoy.ambi.cz). Art Nouveau in style and with a listed, ornate ceiling, it has been serving hungry customers freshly baked pastries, cakes and classic Czech and French-inspired cuisine since the late 19th century. We grabbed takeout pastries, boxed up with bows on.
Work it off afterwards on a swan or vintage-car shaped rowing boat (oh, go on), jumping out at Strelecky Island en route, where you can throw down a blanket and enjoy live music. And if you’re planning a visit in summer 2018, be sure to loaf along Prague’s Naplavka riverbank between the Palackého Most (Palacký Bridge) and Vytoň tram stop, a locals’ hangout where food and drink can be bought from twinkling boats and stalls that line the cobbled boardwalk. It’s like the Seine in Paris, but better – and leagues cheaper. And then back to D22 to get lost in that vast apartment …
Apartments at Divadelni cost from €244 per night. divadelni22.com