Gay Travel to Prague – Still Wonderful and Affordable

 is happening for the first time this week!  Wish we were there….but we were just in Prague in June, and then went over to Budapest Pride. (American Airlines now flies JFK to Budapest. Then we got a small plane to get over to Prague).

It was our third time in Prague and we just love it there. Prague got a lot of bad press this last week as the President of the Czech Republic and Deputy Chancellor made some very negative comments towards the gay community and gay pride.

HOWEVER, Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda (Civic Democrats, ODS) said last night he will NOT  withdraw the auspices he granted to the August 13 Prague Pride march of homosexuals!  Kudos  to him!!

“I considered it my duty to secure that the minority’s right to be tolerated did not end in front of the mayor auspices’ gate,” Svoboda added.

 But back to why we love Prague…it’s beauty, it’s people and it’s still a terrific travel value for the US dollar.

The official currency used in Prague, the Czech Republic, is the Czech crown (Kč, CZK). The Czech Republic has slowly been preparing itself for its transition to the euro, which is expected to happen around ….who knows when?! Some rumors say it may never happen. Some countries that have transitioned to the Euro, are not happy they did so.
Nonetheless, it is already common today that many shops and restaurants will accept payment in euros (but the exchange rate is less favorable than in exchange bureaus), or even in U.S. dollars. SO BE SURE TO CHANGE YOUR MONEY TO CZK.

For instance, we saw one sign that said entry was  $10  US or   100 CZK   or  10  Euro. 
10  euro  is about  $14  and   100CZK  is about  $6  in  US.  So  CZK is always the best way to pay.

There are many exchange bureaus in the Czech Republic. Exchange services are of course provided by banks and at most hotel receptions, but the exchange rates are not very good. The best exchange rates are offered by private exchange offices, but you should always compare their current rates and fees that may apply. There are a few  really good ones right in/near Old Town that charge 0%  fee. I feel it is best to take US dollars over there  and exchange them over there.  Your credit card and bank cards WILL  CHARGE fee’s to withdraw and convert the money for you. Chase charges  $14 in fee’s  for every  $300  you withdraw!

 There are so many reasonable places to eat and drink. Especially if you like beer or wine.  Many places offer beer and wine for $2 !  Mixed drinks will cost a lot more. $6-$10  on average.

On this recent trip, we wanted to go somewhere 5 star…a little on the fancy side. Dancing House (Tančící dům) occupies a fine position by the Vltava River. This stunning building, constructed between 1992-1996, is somewhat of a rarity in Prague; a modern, glass building surrounded by historic architecture.

Dancing House has daring, curvy outlines, which led its architects, Vlado Milunc and the American Frank O Gehry, to initially name it the “Astaire & Rogers Building”, after the legendary dance duo.

The top floor of Dancing House is home to one of the city’s leading restaurants, Celeste Restaurant. Diners can enjoy delightful cuisine and magnificent views over the river and up to Prague Castle. You can have a lovely prix fixe lunch there for about $32 US. Dinner Tasting Menus can run $100. Wine here can run $10+ a glass EASILY. But the atmosphere and views are worth it.

One of our favorite restaurants is right in the gay district.  CELEBRITY  CAFE serves up amazing good food for breakfast lunch and dinner.  A swell-elegant gay restaurant in heart of the Vinohrady nightlife district, right next to Club Valentino, Celebrity Cafe (Vinohradska 40, 420 222 511 343) is a wonderful, atmospheric place with a couple of rooms lighted by candle and dim lamps, fun-kitschy faux-leopard walls and chairs, gilt mirrors, cozy round tables, and disco balls – it’s a study in high camp, yet it’s surprisingly cozy and tasteful.  In warm weather they have a great outdoor patio and sit on the street and watch the boys going by.

Two people can eat and drink like a king (or queen) for less than $30US.  Excellent!

 Another favorite spot we LOVE  is  PIZZERIE ROMA UNO  – which is near Alacatraz bar/club. AMAZINGLY good  thin crust pizza and very tasty beef carpaccio. And open 23 hours! (They close for 1 hour) I think this is the ONLY place in Prague serving food and drinks round the clock.  Jagellonska 16, Prague 3 , Tel: 222 714 154
We love it here. And so affordable!

Sauna’s / Bath Houses are very big in Europe, and Prague is no exception. A favorite of our is Sauna Babylonia.  It’s big, it’s clean, it’s nice, people are very friendly. It’s about $12 US  entry fee and they offer a full service bar inside.

Leaving the Sauna one evening, we were hungry and just 2 blocks away found this amazing hidden gem of a restaurant/cafe  called  JEWEL.  Delicious food and great wines. Very reasonable and 5 star presentation.  The aroma’s wafting out into the streets lured us in. We’ll that, and the hunky blonde waiter standing in the doorway!

Jewel Café Bar and Restaurant is  a place that will absorb you with its uniqueness and ambient atmosphere. More than 10,000 crystals will attract your eyes. Sense of smell and taste will be satisfied with modern cuisine. Every two months you can look forward a new menu prepared by their chefs. Similarly, famous cocktails and special collections of Martinis will fulfil your passion for taste.

So on our third meal there we had the opportunity to met the manager Jakub, who gave us a tour of the attached Jewel boutique hotel!  Which we had no idea was even there!

The hotel is situated in historical building and besides the unique design and comfort it also offers a great location – only 1 minute walk to Wenceslas Square and 3 minutes from Old Time Square. With its 11 boutique rooms, Jewel Hotel offers a high-end LUXURY  design accommodation for sophisticated customers. Each room in Jewel Hotel has a unique personal atmosphere. The Café and Restaurant with breakfast service are located on the ground floor.

Jewel – design boutique hotel (U Klenotníka) was originally built as an old bourgeoisie house. Some of the original brickwork from the beginning of 13th century can be found in it’s basement. Over the centuries the house was been rebuilt many times and therefore many architectural styles can be found here.

The gold painted ceiling with the motifs of jewels in the ground floor is very unique and is also heritage listed. This decoration was created at the beginning of the 20th century when a prestigious jeweler come into the building. The repair of the crown jewels of Czech Monarchs was one of his many commissions. Therefore the name – Jewel (U Klenotníka).

The whole building was reconstructed and turned into a hotel in 1994. The house kept it’s historical look, but at the same time it is elegantly furnished with modern interior and some art pieces of contemporary artist were installed. very nice indeed!

On this most recent trip, we stayed with our dear friend Joseph Brewster who owns Club Temple and Hotel Temple. And now Little Temple bar, right next door.  It’s in a great convenient location.  Seifertova 32/3,  130 00  Praha 3. Close to Old Town and close to the gay district, plus lots of hot young gay guys – and straight guys, all over the neighborhood.

Temple is like staying in someone’s home, not a hotel. And it has a  very “old world” feel. Old Europe.  Huge ceilings! (15ft?) and big large windows, which you never see in a hotel.  There is a large community dining room and a TV area and lounge area also for you to enjoy. They offer a selection of suites and standard rooms to match all tastes and budgets. The  friendly and helpful staff are on hand to take care of your every need round the clock, 24/7.

Downstairs is a big nightclub – but you never hear the music in your room, not to worry. Club Temple has superb state of the art sound and lightshow, along with live DJ’s playing a wide variety of music both old and new. The interior is like being inside an ancient stone Temple. Very cool!

The nightclub is open in the evenings, and during the day, there is Little Temple, right next door, where many locals come and have afternoon and early evening drinks.

I love Prague for it’s amazing architecture. In 1992 the historical core of the city covering 866 hectares was listed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Register.

Prague represents a unique collection of historical monuments dominated by the Prague Castle which towers high above the city. It is a display of all artistic styles and movements.

More than 20 years after the fall of communism and the Velvet Revolution, the popularity of Prague (Praha in Czech) as one of Europe’s premier tourist destinations shows no signs of slowing down. And while it’s no longer the travellers’ bargain it was in earlier days, the Czech capital’s combination of a thrilling history and glorious architectural overachievement remains as compelling as ever. It is still much much cheaper than say London or Paris, both of which are on the Euro!

While the city centre is a mélange of stunning architecture, from Gothic, Renaissance and baroque to neoclassical, art nouveau and cubist, beyond the medieval lanes of the Old Town and the Castle District, there’s an entire other cosmopolitan city to explore. Search out the riverside parks, lively bars and beer gardens, music clubs, museums and art galleries!   The people are nice and welcoming and there are many gay establishments.

There is so much to talk about, we could go on for pages!

More soon!

Prague Tourism  GAY PAGE

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