Steal the style: Prague

Showcase hotels: Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons, Prague
Prague is the location for Serena, one of this year's most hotly anticipated movies. It stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, noted for fizzing on-screen chemistry in Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, for which Lawrence won the best supporting actress Bafta at the weekend. Set in Depression-era North Carolina, Serena was shot over three months in the Czech Republic capital by director Susanne Bier, who was lured by its filming facilities and streetcapes.

With an unrivalled mix of Gothic, Renaissance, baroque, rococo, cubist and ultra-modern buildings, it's no wonder the city has become a hotbed of cutting-edge design.

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Dream team on screen: Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper rekindled the cinematic fizz in Prague for the film Serena, out later this year

Architects Dum a Mesto are behind two of the most glamorous buildings in the city - the Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons hotels. Here, the practice shares the design secrets behind each project...


Mandarin Oriental 
Built on the site of a 14th-century former monastery, the hotel is in the cobbled streets of Malá Strana, or the Little Quarter, a smart, quiet area of the compact city. "The most difficult part of the project was figuring out how to fit a new hotel around the existing buildings of a baroque monastery," say the architects, who chose materials carefully. Windows and doors are oak, there are parquet and polished limestone floors from southern Europe and paving slabs outside are Czech sandstone.

The old chapter room and refectory became a ballroom, lounge and restaurant, while in the hotel spa the walls of a former Gothic church were uncovered. The remains of the nave are now visible beneath a glass floor in the lobby.


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Be inspired: the Barego bar, left, at the Mandarin Oriental is a statement in smart contrasts. Find red leather bar stools at Ikea for £50 each

The hotel room interiors are designed by London-based KCA International. Principal designer Khuan Chew reflected the eclectic nature of the city in the fabric motifs, furniture and lighting, and no two rooms are the same. The Moser Crystal Suites, showcasing the Bohemian crystal manufactured by the Czech Republic's premier luxury crystal maker, are dazzling.

Get the look: paint walls in Dulux's calming Blue Lagoon (£24.49 for 2.5l). Hang Francesco Iacobelli's Charles Bridge print alongside a retro Praha canvas and The Streets of Prague III print by Laura Denardo (from £23.99, £84 and £44.99 respectively at allposters.co.uk). Take inspiration from the hotel's Barego bar and cover a section of a wall in patchwork tiles — try the La Dolce Vita Patchwork Black option (£10.99 per box of four at Toppstiles.co.uk). 

Moser stockists include Selfridges, Harrods and Lucie Rydlova Home in Chelsea. If the lighting is beyond your budget, add a touch of bling for less with a vase directly from the moserglass.com site for £95 or the Moser Four Seasons vase set for £350 from luxdeco.com. Then evoke drama with Julien Macdonald's black chandelier table lamp (£90, debenhams.com) and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's Glamdelier floor lamp (£68, isme.com). 

Team a Days Forum leather and walnut sofa (£1,360) with the red Chester chair (£770, both habitat.co. uk) and a Juke armchair (£349 at made.com). Head to La Redoute for a bargain patterned rug at £15 (laredoute.co.uk). Keep storage masculine using Ikea's Besta combination, with doors in blackbrown (£185, ikea.com) or Oliver Bonas's Herbert Wood Chest (£495, oliverbonas.com).

mandarinoriental.com/prague 

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Cloistered in luxury:
(left) the Mandarin Oriental harks back to the site's monastic history in this stunning lounge; Mix of architectural styles: (right) Four Seasons hotel, Prague

Four Seasons
Architectural styles are married in the combination of three historic properties and one modern structure — the Neo-Renaissance, Neoclassical and Baroque Houses, and the Main Building — to create a characterful venue. The Neo-Renaissance and Neoclassical sections were originally built as 19th century homes and shops. The baroque property dates back to the late 16th century. Original cross vaulting, stone architraves and masonry vaults, wooden doors and hand-forged ironmongery have been restored. The Main Building cleverly ties the three different looks with ochre sandstone sourced from a Czech quarry, and pale plaster façades with dark roofing.

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Style at a snip: the Plantation Rug Company's Nomadic style, right, from £100 at plantation rug.co.uk

American interior design practice Frank Nicholson, which specialises in high-end makeovers, and Pierre-Yves Rochon, the designer behind The Savoy revamp, are responsible for the furniture and fabrics, which are sumptuous, warm and welcoming, with deep-pile carpeting.

Get the look: Oliver Bonas has velvet tub chairs in a wide variety of colours (£445, oliverbonas.com) and larger "love tubs" for £565. Graham and Green's Deep Dream armchair (£1,062.50, grahamandgreen.co.uk) in vintage green velvet is a bestseller. Go for velvet scatter cushions, such as the Phipps Cobalt in pure velvet from Designers Guild (£39.50, designersguild.com); Bhs's duck egg and ivory cushions (£8, bhs.co.uk); the Christian Lacroix Paseo Doble Jais (£95, amara.com) or Homebase's Home of Style Velveteen (£5.99, homebase.co.uk). 

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Hues: for a similar Four Seasons feel, team blue curtains and paisley linen from Monsoon Home (£12-£80) at Debenhams

For chic storage and seating, splash out on the Langley ottoman from The White Company (£700, thewhitecompany.com) or the Decker bench from made.com (£199). Liven up the floor with Oka's Vasili rug (£1,150) or the Bishkek Turkish design (£1,385) at okadirect.com. For a less costly version, pick up Plantation Rug Company's excellent value Nomadic rug (from £100, plantationrug.co.uk). Head to Ikea for bargains from the Hemnes range, including a black-brown chest of drawers, £90, and bedside table, £40 (both ikea.co.uk). Match curtains and bedding. John Lewis's Aspen pencil pleat curtains (£60-£130) in blue or putty go well with Monsoon Home's light blue paisley bed linen (£12-£80, debenhams.com). Go for Soho Stripe wallpaper (£65 per roll, fabricsandpapers.com). Or keep walls plain and add artwork from art.co.uk - we like the View of Prague (£36.99) or Old Town Square (£23.99). 

Accessorise with an Amy table or floor lamp (£59-£129) and Wireform table lamp (£39) from isme.com and the Lloytron touch table lamp from Tesco (£17.40, tesco.com). A Tarbert Windowpane throw (£125) or an Arbriachan Jacquard throw (£225), both at johnstonscashmere.com adds the finishing touch.

fourseasons.com/prague
  • Flights from London Luton to Prague, from £29.99 at wizzair.com (0907 292 0102). 
  • Prague History Trips (from £36) by vintage car are a great way to learn about the architecture - ask for Mat (+ 420 776 829 897; historytrip.cz).

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