The brief was to produce a luxury lifestyle 5* design that could adhere to Hyatt’s brand guidelines for the Andaz brand but still create guest rooms and spaces with a striking sense of place. Within the pitching process, it was clear that both Ownership and Hyatt wanted an elegant and sophisticated hotel with imaginative and surprising elements.
Known to locals as ‘Sugar Palace’, the owners were clear they didn’t want a story about sugar for this listed, heritage building in the heart of Prague – the building’s previous use as an Insurance Hub for the Sugar Industry was not to play a key part in the design theme – so it was pertinent to move away from that to create a new story and identity for the building. Therefore, the design embarks on a journey through the myths and legends of the Czech Republic. All Czech people have a deep and childlike connection to these stories, and by focusing on them as the core of the concept, the hotel becomes an iconic, personal part of the city.
Parameters affecting the brief included restrictions from the Prague Heritage Society on what could and couldn’t be done in the renovation process, yet the brief was clear to still create a fresh, modern lifestyle design, reflective of the more disruptive, exciting Andaz brand. Restricted by all flooring having to be chevron or herringbone, all flooring was then custom stained with a unique, never seen before, pink hue bringing it to life and creating a unique, Andaz experience. As well, all metal was a custom-colored warm bronze to augment the traditional brass of the former building.
All spaces were carefully curated to channel the Andaz ethos for beautifully crafted, local and bespoke elements. Native woodworking culture was brought to life through elaborately panelled wood bar with old-world nailheads arranged in Czech patterns, hand-laid marquetry depicting mythical characters inside the lifts, and traditional Bohemian wedding gown patterns laser-cut inside guestroom armoires.
In response to the brief, the design offers grand opportunities in public and circulation areas to have not just one experience but many, and presents areas where the guest can stop and feel a sense of wonder. Personalities from Czech stories emerge from the walls of every guestroom corridor in sculptural white forms, as if the renovation of this esteemed building awoke the legends sleeping within.
This type of pause and engagement excites the guest, creates visual and emotional interest and gives meaning to the design that is remembered well after the guest checks out.
Simultaneously, these design elements become a form of integrated art, and harmonize with the interiors and the overall architecture seamlessly. Cast bronze Golems peek around mirrors, legendary lion heads in bronze and plaster wink at guests from table bases or above the headboards, and blush colors match infamous Libuse’s cheeks and lips – all unifying the mythical with the real. By anchoring different micro experiences around the hotel, guests are encouraged to move and learn about the local culture.