Prague

Part of Prague’s iconic Dancing House turns into hotel

PRAGUE – For many of the millions of tourists who flood the Czech capital every year, taking a selfie in front of the Dancing House has become as important as walking across the medieval Charles Bridge. The unusual building that resembles a pair of dancers is a rare example of contemporary architecture in Prague, which otherwise abounds with picturesque historical buildings, churches and monuments.

Originally designed as an office building, access for visitors has been limited. But now a part of it has been turned into a hotel, offering visitors the chance to stay in rooms with magnificent views over the city. The hotel has 21 rooms with fantastic views of the city and will start at 180 euros per night for a single room.

The Dancing House is located on the bank of the Vltava river, next to the building where the late President Vaclav Havel lived most of his life. It was built on a plot of land that earlier housed a 19th-century neo-Renaissance building that was destroyed in a World War II air bombardment. Havel is said to have been the first who approached Czech-Croatian architect Vlado Milunic with a request to make an architectural study of a possible arts centre. In 1992, the Dutch company Nationale Nederlanden acquired the land with the aim of construction an office building and Milunic approached famed architect Frank Gehry to participate. Their nine-story project was completed in 1996.

Due to its shape, the Dancing House has become a widely used nickname for the building, but it is also known as Ginger and Fred after famed dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It’s formed by two central towers; the one known as Ginger is made of glass and steel, while Fred has a concrete body and a metal head. The unusual architecture initially caused some controversy, with critics saying it doesn’t fit its historical surroundings, but such arguments gradually disappeared as it drew the attention of an increasing number of tourists.

Apart from staying in an architectural masterpiece, the 21 rooms offer breathtaking views of the city and of Prague Castle in particular. They can be seen from the beds, and in some of the rooms even from the bathtub and the toilet. Some rooms in the Ginger tower have walls made of glass and breakfast is served in the restaurant at the top of the building. Prices start at 180 euros ($201) per night for a single room.