On February 25th, 1927, The Grand Hotel Steiner was opened in a quiet, but prominent neighborhood of the Municipal House in Prague 1. It was built and owned by an experienced hotelier Mr. Josef Steiner. The newest technologies were used to create this extraordinary place, which soon became one of the most famous spots in Prague.
Mr. Steiner who had gained his experience in England and Switzerland brought the newest trends into his business. There were 100 rooms of his Prague hotel offering accommodation on the highest level of luxury, most of them also equipped with marble bathrooms or at least a toiletry corner with a sink and mirror. Some of the rooms offered a possibility to be connected and create luxury suites with a living room, several bedrooms, private dining room and bathrooms. Every room was also equipped with an outside telephone line and a special paging system enabling the guest to call a chambermaid or room service attendant at any moment. There were also a winter garden and green terraces on the 6th and 7th floors of the grand hotel. The hotel lobby was decorated in English Art Deco style, with its marble floor, wooden cassette ceiling and comfortable leather chairs in front of a fireplace and together with an adjoining French restaurant it was the place to meet for Prague´s high society in the 1920's and 1930's.
After the communist takeover in 1948, Mr. Steiner himself offered his Prague the hotel to the Communist Party for representation purposes, asking in return for a possibility to remain in the hotel at least as an employee since all private properties were nationalized and a private ownership of business became illegal. Mr. Steiner probably hoped (as many others) that the rule of communists will not last very long and he wanted to keep his eye on the property.
Unfortunately, he was wrong. His name disappeared during the 40 years of "the dark times" as well as the beauty and luxury of the grand hotel. Furnishing and decoration faded away, rooms were newly "equipped" with bugs and served to accommodate and monitor not only high communistic officials from foreign countries but also to gather compromising materials about other guests. Wild parties were held in the Boccaccio ballroom (click here for details about the Boccaccio Ballroom and its history) and continued in upstairs rooms. Hotel in Prague 1 was renamed to Hotel Praha, but it only was a hotel by name. It was never mentioned in any guidebooks, tourist information, not even listed in a telephone directory. Hotel served solely to the Communist Party and its needs.
In the 1970's, the first republic hotel became the property of the state, since it had not been beautiful enough anymore to accommodate any officials here. Mostly unofficial guests were staying here then. New Hotel Praha was built in the other part of Prague to take over a position of the Communist Party "official" hotel.
In 1989 the Velvet revolution came and saved the Prague grand hotel from a decay. The property was returned to the Steiner family who later sold it to an Austrian hotel company Austria Hotels. Hotel had undergone major reconstructions in only 11 months and was reopened on the 1st of October, 1993 under its new name Grand Hotel Bohemia.
Today, this five star hotel has accommodation of 78 luxurious air-conditioned rooms on 7 floors and it is listed in most guidebooks and travel brochures. Hotel in Prague 1 is a member of Worldhotels hotel group, but it is still owned and operated by Austria Hotel International as one of their 14 hotels located in Austria and the Czech republic.