Talk of the tower

Talk of the tower

In the city of a thousand spires, there’s a buzz around one in particular: the newly renovated TV tower, with a fine-dining restaurant and a one-room hotel at the top of it.

Towering over Prague’s thousand baroque and renaissance spires at 216 metres high, the Zizkov Television Tower has undergone an extensive overhaul and reopened as Tower Park Praha. Nicknamed ‘The Rocket’, it was built in the late 1980s – a souvenir of the Communist era – in the Late Modernist (or ‘high-tech architecture’) style pioneered by Richard Rogers, Norman Foster and Renzo Piano, to mixed reviews.

Despite some locals’ reservations, the tower certainly stands out, and is further distinguished by Czech artist David Cerny’s gigantic Babies sculptures which ‘climb’ up the tower’s sides.

The makeover includes the addition of a fine-dining restaurant plus a bar and bistro at 66 metres and, at 70 metres, a brand new, five-star, one-room hotel – all of which undoubtedly have Prague’s most stellar views. At the very top, 93 metres up, the observatory has been completely overhauled.

At ground level, the reception desk – a white fibreglass bowl on three legs – hints at the space-age-like design to come at the top. Architect Adam Jirkal of Prague-based Atelier SAD – the team behind the renovation – said they were inspired by ‘the sci-fi aesthetic of the 1960s’ as well as by the building’s 1980s origins.

Higher up, the main spaces in the ‘cabins’ on the three towers are characterised by clean design with thoughtful detailing including unusual clocks, trefoil glass pieces mimicking the tower’s floor layout and 3-D porcelain bird wallpaper by Daniel Pirsc. On both the restaurant and observation floors, each of the three cabins, which have been given a specific function or theme, are connected by a common public space. ‘We wanted to open up and connect everything in one space as much as possible,’ said Jirkal. ‘Immediately after exiting the elevator, the visitor should know where he is, and see the 360-degree view.’

In the first cabin, the new 50-capacity restaurant Oblaca does modern Czech cuisine with an emphasis on seasonal cooking by young star chef Ondrej Soukup (previously at Four Season Hotel Prague’s former Allegro restaurant, Prague’s first Michelin-star awarded establishment). For lighter fare there’s a bistro on the same floor and a bar offering molecular mixology by Achim Sipl, who was awarded Czech Republic Barman of the Year in 2011.

From here, an elliptical-shaped spiral staircase – of cast-iron propeller-shaped stairs engraved with the names of other international towers – leads to the single hotel room. It is furnished luxuriously, with Vitra fittings, a Hastens bed, Bose technology and a bathroom with a deep, freestanding tub from which you can lie back and look out through the glass wall at the view across the city.

The observation floor, which features at its centre a circular sculpted bench that looks as though it was carved from a piece of the moon, is divided into three themed rooms: Paintings of Prague, Golden Prague, and Echoes of Prague. In Echoes, iconic Bubble Chairs by Finnish designer Eero Aarnio are suspended from the ceiling, while embedded speakers emit sounds from around the city.

Tower Park Praha, Mahlerovy sady 1, Prague, Czech Republic (00 420 210 320 081;, open daily 8am-midnight. Oblaca restaurant reservations (00 420 210 320 086). Exclusive-use hotel room, €1,000 per night.

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