The renovation of the InterContinental Hotel and a radical change to its surroundings will be one of the most visible projects in Prague in the coming years. Architect Marek Tichý from TaK Architects presented how the hotel and its surroundings could look.
The hotel at the base of Prague’s trendy Pařížská Street in Old Town changed ownership a the end of 2018. It was bought by R2G, the investment group of Czech billionaires Oldřich Šlemr, Pavel Baudiš and Eduard Kučera. The transaction price was not disclosed.
This year, the operation of the hotel will be taken over by the luxury chain Fairmont. The hotel will be renamed in May to the Golden Prague Hotel. It will close in 2022 for a major renovation and then reopen in 2023 as the Fairmont Golden Prague.
The building is listed as an architecturally significant building by the Conservation Office of Prague City Council.
The public was allowed to make comments on when the new plans were presented. “Discussion with citizens is beneficial in the beginning of every construction project. It is important that it is conducted constructively, as locals often capture details that the architect cannot see,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlaváček said on the City Hall website.
“I am glad that the InterContinental is in the hands of people who have a long-term relationship with Prague 1 and are not afraid of discussions with citizens,” he added.
Architect Tichý said the first public reactions were mostly positive.
“From the beginning we focused on public space, which is unsightly in its present form. We want to significantly expand the space, extend Pařížská Street and connect it with Dvořákovo nábřeží to the Vltava River. Everything has an emphasis on making it an attractive place for the public. That is why the project has the working name Staroměstská brána (Old Town Gate),” Tichý said.
“We must also say that we are in the design phase. The final transformation of this space may eventually look significantly different. However, I would like to reassure citizens that the building will not have the form that was presented in the past [on some news servers],” he added.
The landscaping for the hotel counts on expanding the public space and creating a connection to the embankment with a pedestrian zone all the way to the Vltava River. The architects also promise to calm the traffic and chaotic parking on the plaza next to the hotel, where a smaller commercial building is to be built.
“We welcome the openness of the investor, who understands the importance of the location where the hotel is located. I am pleased that we are increasingly taking care of the center of Prague. The transformation of the InterContinental Hotel is one of many other projects aimed at making the city center a more pleasant place for all citizens and visitors,” Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) director Ondřej Boháč said.
The hotel has had several owners. From 2013 to the end of 2018, the hotel had been owned by Slovak-based Best Hotel Properties, which is majority owned by investment firm J&T.
Before that, it was owned by Westmont Hospitality Group from 2010 to ’13, by Strategic Hotels & Resorts from 1999 to 2010, bank funds as part of privatization from 1990 to ’99, and state travel firm ČEDOK from 1974 to ’90.
The Intercontinental Hotel was one of the places that foreigners would stay in Prague during communism. Its guests in that era included Richard Nixon, who visited in 1982. Ray Charles visited in 1981.
Celebrity guests since 1989 include composer and singer Elton John, actor Tony Curtis, actress Meryl Streep, opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, pop star Michael Jackson, drummer and singer Phil Collins.
The modern-style hotel with 372 rooms was designed by Czech architect Karel Filsak and built between 1968 and ’74, with exposed concrete and ribbon windows with tile cladding.
The hotel was renovated between 1992 and ’95, overseen by architect Roman Koucký. Part of the original interior elements by design by sculptor Miloslav Hejný are still preserved. The last interior renovation was in 2002.