Located in the heart of the city, the InterContinental Prague Hotel attracts a global audience whilst operating an exemplary local supplier strategy
Established in 1974, the InterContinental Prague Hotel is steeped in historical and geographical significance to the city of Prague and the Czech Republic. At the time of opening the American owned InterContinental brand was the first western hotel to emerge in the communist city, representing an important time in the country’s history. Situated in the heart of upmarket Prague and with views out over a stunning old town, the five-star hotel occupies the city’s number one spot amongst designer outlets and iconic buildings like the Prague Castle. Revered for its Brutalism architecture, the building itself is protected by the city of Prague and is highly representative of the movement that took shape in the seventies. The hotel attracts both leisure and business guests, is popular with blue chip company events and regularly hosts celebrities and high ranking politicians, most recently of note, Head of the UN Ban Ki Moon.
General Manager of the hotel, Robert Rudge, tells FoodChain that tourism in Prague is very much on the up at the moment. “The city is going through an exceptionally positive period of performance. This year it is one of the best performing cities in Europe in terms of year-on-year growth.” Despite having its own currency, the Czech Republic is very much connected to the performance of the euro and a weakening of this has attracted distant tourists from America and Asia who can get good value from visiting. “A lot of our customers are retired Americans who are exploring Europe with a lot of disposable income, and the Asian tourism market is growing as travellers there mature in the way they travel to Europe,” adds Robert. The Prague hotel occupies the upper-tier segment of the InterContinental brand, which is currently as a group experiencing around 15 per cent year-on-year revenue growth, so performance in a number of respects is positive for the Czech-based hotel.
With regards to catering, the hotel has two separate restaurants. A regular breakfast and lunch facility based on the ground floor, and the prestigious top floor Zlatá Praha restaurant. “This has been a key feature of the hotel since it opened,” notes Robert. “It has really wonderful views of the old town, which is really enchanting with the roofline of all the old buildings and churches. In addition to the restaurant is the terrace, which offers a panoramic view over the city and Prague Castle over the river – it’s beautiful in the summertime. We serve mainly fine dining Czech cuisine with some European dishes as well so that the guests have a choice.”
The hotel’s sourcing strategy is heavily focused on being as local and specialised as possible, and it can’t be any more local than on its own rooftops where the hotel houses eight beehives. Now in its second year of maintaining the hives the hotel harvests three times a year to acquire 160kg of honey. “This supplements the 600kg of honey that we consume each year at the hotel in breakfasts, homemade pastry and also given away in gifts,” says Robert who goes on to outline how the rest of the hotel’s needs are catered for locally: “At breakfast we derive benefit from products supplied by our partner farmers who deliver bio-quality smoked meat products, cheeses, yoghurts, fruit juices, eggs and bread products. These items represent a part of the buffet offer and are all organic. At the Zlatá Praha restaurant, we focus on supporting local products as well, as we benefit from the supplies arriving from our farmers and we buy vegetables and fruit from the Kunratická stodola region. Herbs and flowers are grown for us by a gardener, we have a certified professional mushroom-picker who delivers seasonal mushrooms and the same goes for raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and rhubarb.
“We take pride in purchasing the traditional Czech pork labelled Czech Prestik, as well as in preparing dishes based on red-spotted beef cattle bred on the Czech grasslands – these two meat varieties are supplied to us by Amaso CZ s.r.o. And of course, the menu cannot exclude the traditional Czech duck either, which we buy in chilled twice a week from a company called Jankri based in Vyzlovka.”
The hotel runs a constant programme of improvement to maintain a fresh and up-to-date environment for its guests, and the next project on the cards is a renovation of the Zlatá Praha restaurant. “It has a great location and view, but it does need refreshing,” explains Robert. “We are looking to do this in Q1 of next year.” As well as this, the hotel is also exploring the idea of installing an external elevator from street level up to the restaurant, but this requires city approval due to the protected status of the building.
“Our goal is to be the hotel of choice for guests both in leisure and business, individual and groups, when they are looking for an upmarket city experience,” concludes Robert. Sitting atop the historical foundations of successful growth and a strong reputation at the heart of a busy tourist-rich city, the hotel won’t be going anywhere fast. A continued attention to offering a refined experience will ensure that the growth trend is maintained. Catering-wise, the hotel’s sourcing strategy is exemplary and meets the expectations set by being a top tier venue.