Ještěd Mountain Hotel
Visible for miles around, the tower on top of the Ještěd peak has become a symbol of Liberec and the region, and is possibly the most recognisable modern building in the country.
Built between 1963 and 1973, the tower was designed by architect Karel Hubaček who won the 1969 Perret prize (for technology applied to architecture) for his efforts. Ještěd was primarily constructed to be a communications transmitter and meteorological station, but on its fourth floor is a restaurant, and the two floors above that function as a hotel. Thanks to long swooping concrete ramps, the third floor is the entrance level, so don’t be confused when you climb just one flight of stairs and find yourself on the fourth floor.
As you might expect for one of the most iconic buildings in the country, the Ještěd mountain hotel doesn’t exactly fall into the budget category. They do however offer good deals for weeknights in the off season, in late 2008 single rooms were as low as 710Kč per night and doubles were going for 1020Kč, including a good buffet breakfast.
My room was up on the sixth floor, where the shared bathroom facilities are on the corridor. The gently wedge-shaped room had four tall, narrow windows with curved corners, a natty brushed aluminium radiator cover, ship-like circular air vents and three big metallic discs built into the ceiling. I couldn't figure out what those discs were for, as the ventilation and lighting was all over near the windows.
The aluminium windows don't open, but the rotating air vents to the side take care of ventilation; O for Open and Z for closed. Not long after I checked in a storm blew in from the valley right to my window. Quite an amazing sight to see the clouds swirling in and twisting like waves as the wind tangled them around the tower. Even with the vents closed, the constant roar of the wind reinforces the impression of being on some kind of 1970's television spaceship.
The sixth floor is as high as you can go in the tower; everything above is used by technicians and other personnel. The fifth floor has the luxury ensuite hotel rooms, the fourth is the restaurant and the third is the where the entrance ramps deposit you at hotel reception. The lower floors are closed to the public and are used for storage and utilities.
In the central core of the tower is a staircase for personnel, and around that core are arranged the practicalities like bathrooms, kitchens, storerooms, staircases and elevators. Then around the outside near the windows are the hotel rooms and seating areas of the restaurant. On the reception level there's also an enclosed observation deck that runs around the circumference.
If it's within your budget a night at the Ještěd hotel is likely to be your most memorable Czech hotel experience.
Check availability and prices here.