If you harbor dreamy memories of being a princess in a past life, you can live them in the present at Mcely Chateau in the Czech Republic. About an hour outside Prague, it’s an aristocratic residence fit for Bohemian royalty — and destination weddings.
I’m not in the market for a destination wedding (or in fact any wedding) but I do like to be a pretend princess.
The location is so magical that a fairy tale story — the Nine Flowers — has been written about Nely, a princess who “lived” in the chateau. In fact, the hotel prides itself on being “family friendly”. Services just for children — and I must point out that there’s a definite emphasis on girls here — include princess-themed menus and even a Princess Nely Suite. A whole host of Princess Nely items are available for sale (in addition to the book). There are dolls, stuffed animals, a tiara, and even a series of butterfly porcelain.
Just about twenty years ago, the manor house was derelict, abandoned in the Soviet era. In 2001, Inéz Cusumano caught sight of it. The entrepreneur saw its future: a boutique hotel, one that today is billed as a spa hotel and forest retreat.
Mcely (named for its village) is small: just 24 rooms, but each is individually furnished with élan in “modern chateau” style. The first floor is called the Floor of the World. The second floor follows the theme of Time. (In addition to weddings, it’s ready for corporate meetings and other gatherings.)
I stayed in a Superior Room. As is typical in “hotel speak, this is the “lowest” category (about 215 square feet) but lovely nonetheless. There is an oversize painted flower on the wall and an endless view over the countryside from a dormer window in the roof. Maybe this top floor was once a warren of housing for the “help”, but now it’s a series of compact garrets with queen-size beds and amenities including free WiFi and en suite bathroom.
Since “luxe” is in its DNA, the Mcely Chateau includes a spa which makes use of its own specialty products (and story line behind them). The MCELY BOUQUET line of “pure, natural, organic” skincare products was developed by Inéz Cusumano to “share the alchemical and herbal heritage of this historic aristocratic residence in the heart of Bohemia and its healing energy”.
No time to spend the night? You can dine in the chateau’s Piano Nobile Restaurant for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, or dinner (or, outside on the terrace, weather permitting). Executive chef Honza Štěrba emphasizes homegrown herbs, homemade marmalades, fish and meat smoked in the chateau smokehouse, and other locally-sourced specialties.
(Photos by Susan McKee and courtesy of Mcely Chateau, where she stayed as a guest of Czech Tourism)