The cable car from a hotel in Smíchov up to a nearby hilltop with a pleasant view used to be one of Prague’s little secrets. But since its renovation last year, it has become too popular.
The hotel is now limiting access to members of the public who are not hotel guests to certain hours: 10:30 am to 11:30 am, 3 pm to 6 pm, and 10 pm to midnight.
The sideways-traveling elevator goes from Hotel NH Prague City on Mozartova Street up to the top of Mrázovka Hill. It has been more popular with the public than with hotel guests.
“Due to the high interest of the public in transportation by the sloping elevator at the expense of hotel guests, we had to regulate traffic for the public. The main reason was the security risk that arose from the unrestricted movement of non-hotel persons inside the hotel,” hotel CEO Petr Nešpůrek said, according to press reports.
The lift makes it easy for people living on Mrázovka Hill on to travel home or to the city center, while offering a unique view of the city. It has also been popular with tourists and Prague residents due to it being mentioned in a video by the Honest Guide. The series has over half a million subscribers on YouTube. The particular video has had 546,000 views.
There is little public transport going to the top of Mrázovka, and a trip to Anděl by pensioners or parents with baby carriage can be quite difficult without using the cable car.
Last April the hotel replaced the cable car with a new one that is faster and more modern, as the previous one had gone beyond its planned lifespan. The upgrade cost some 30 million CZK.
The original car transported 14 million passengers in 3,735,790 trips during 22 years.
The most notable difference after the renovation is that the new car is a metallic gray, while the previous one was red and vaguely resembled a British phone booth. Four metal cables pull the booth sideways up the hill on a fixed track. Paths in the park go under the track, so pedestrians are not inconvenienced.
The new car was designed by Swiss company Inauen-Schätti. It travels at about 9 km per hour, but the trip is only 156 meters and takes about a minute and a half. The cabin holds 12 people, the same as before, even though it is slightly larger.
This is not the first time an attraction mentioned in an Honest Guide video has become too popular. Prague City Hall has limited access to its paternoster, a type of elevator that has no doors and does not stop. Turnstiles were installed at the service entrance, facing Old Town Square, because tourists were coming in drunk or people had strollers, which are not allowed in the cabins for safety reasons. Only city employees or disabled people can use the service entrance now.