The majority of the people I know who have been to the Czech Republic (or Czechia) have only been to Prague. I fell deeply in love with Prague, in fact, I started to look for jobs and apartments there after two days, but I also found a lot I loved in the other Czech town I visited, Cesky Krumlov. Cesky Krumlov is a medieval town designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It might just be the most charming place I’ve ever been and is one of the smallest towns I’ve explored. I joked to my family that it was the size of our neighborhood at home. In this most charming town I’ve ever been, I stayed in the most charming hotel I could find: Hotel Ruze.
When you’re traveling to 10 cities (that turns into 11 on accident) in six weeks, you want some places of pure comfort and luxury, so when I was in Cesky Krumlov, I decided to stay in five-star Hotel Ruze, which has more unique accents on the u and the z than my blog platform will allow. Ruze (with its accents) is Czech for rose, and this hotel is a true rose among the other accommodation options I saw in my search.
Hotel Ruze has more history than you could imagine. The building started as an old Jesuit college in the 1500s, became military barracks in the late 1700s, became a hotel, was used by German soldiers during the occupation in the second world war, became a restaurant, was closed for decades, and was purchased by Jan Hotels in the late 1990s to become the luxurious hotel, spa, and event space it is today. Got all that?
I felt like I’d gone back in time during my two days in Cesky Krumlov, but I especially felt that way when at Hotel Ruze. After I checked in but before I went up to my room, I wandered out on the terrace, down to the spa, and around the halls.
The terrace view was from a fairy tale, with the Vltava River rushing around the whole town. While it was raining when I arrived, I could imagine spending summer days out there with a Czech beer or two and some Kafka. If I’d had a friend with me, I would’ve posed as a princess in a renaissance painting as the opportunity was there and it was on theme.
I’ve never taken advantage of spa options at my hotels as I want to spend as much time outside exploring as possible, but I was certainly tempted at Hotel Ruze. I dipped my hands into the spa swimming pool and found it comparable to the public baths in Budapest – as hot as a hot tub but big enough to swim around in. I was tempted by the adorable wooden bath tubs, the sauna, and the menu of massages and wraps (including a lavender wax wrap with ginger lemonade), but my time in Cesky Krumlov was limited so I walked myself out.
Before going to my room, I peeked into the breakfast room, which was in a banquet hall, where the next two mornings I had full feasts. I wanted to take a tupperware container of their delicious pastries with me to nibble on throughout each day.
When I finally opened the door to my room, the first thing I noticed was the incredible view out of the large windows in the bedroom and the bathroom. The second thing I noticed in the bathroom made me laugh out loud. My regular modern-day toilet was overlaid with a full-on wooden throne. Talk about a Royal Flush, amirite?
Cesky Krumlov was one of the only places I fully relaxed on my trip, as there weren’t too many other tourists or too many attractions or restaurants to cross off my list, but it was also the place I had my first freak-out of the trip. I returned from sight-seeing one day and started to do work in the lobby bar. I realized that I didn’t have my phone and, later, that it wasn’t anywhere in my room. I walked outside, retraced my steps, asked a street musician, peeked in storm drains, and even spoke to the police to see if anyone had handed it in. I returned to the lobby dejected because I thought I’d would never see my phone or my photos from the trip ever again. The bartender of the lobby bar ran up to me with the phone which I’d left at a different seat when I switched to be near an outlet. So in my book, the staff at Hotel Ruze is a-okay.
One thing that was challenging about my trip was that I had collected many different currencies throughout my six weeks – Rands, Pounds, Euros, Forints, and Koruna. It would take me a few minutes to take out the correct coins for my trdelniks (a cone-shaped pastry found all over Cesky Krumlov and Prague, sometimes filled with ice cream). I also was always in search of an ATM to load up on the right currency. I didn’t have to find an ATM in Cesky Krumlov, because Hotel Ruze had a convenient money-changer in the lobby where I could exchange my leftover Euros from Vienna for Koruna.
Cesky Krumlov is truly a magical town, and if you’re there, you might as well stay in the nicest place available, for the same price you’d stay in a 3-star hotel in a larger European city. Whether you’re intrigued by the history, the views, the comfort, or, let’s be honest, the toilet that’s a real throne, Hotel Ruze is the spot.
Dekuji, Hotel Ruze, for the special media rate. Opinions are always my own.