It’s easy to feel like royalty at the carefully restored Chateau Mcely, less than an hour drive from Prague. Housed in a 17th-century Baroque chateau, surrounded by lush countryside and the ancient St. George Forest, it was once a grand hunting lodge and later home to several European noble families. Today, the boutique hotel, set on 12 acres, has luxurious salons, a library in the tower of the chateau, and 23 elegant, whimsically-designed rooms and suites. Each room has a different theme and unique decor, with names like the Orient, Southern Seas, and Mark Twain (the author once stayed here). All have luscious linens, fine antique furnishings, and garden or forest views.
The highly-touted Piano Nobile restaurant, also open to the public, serves a seasonally-changing menu based on local recipes and the cuisine of the Thurn-Taxis family, who lived at the chateau until 1947. Expect dishes like sliced foie gras with roasted chanterelles, organic goat cheese gratin, or a spicy marinated breast of guinea fowl.
Also on site is the 17th-century Alchemist Club and Wine Cellar, a rooftop observatory with a telescope, and an expansive English park with flowers, herb gardens, and fountains. Guests are invited to swim in the lake, experience a traditional outdoor sauna, have a picnic on the lawn, and attend afternoon tea service. The Mcely Spa has private treatment rooms where therapists use products made from herbs and flowers from the forest.
The eco-friendly hotel uses wood chips for heating, has a wastewater recycling system, and composts and recycles trash and scraps, all of which helped it earn the highest European Union certificate for green hotels.
CHATEAU MCELY Mcely 61, 289 36 Mcely, Czech Republic, 420-325-600-000, www.chateaumcely.com . Deluxe double rooms, high season, from $353.