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Even for a hotel group for whom location is paramount, Four Seasons Hotel Prague’s royal-box view of ‘the city of 100 spires’ is in a different league. A line of limos was on hand to take guests the short distance across Jan Palach Square from the hotel to the Dvorak Hall, but many preferred the riverside stroll as the sky grew inky-dark and the Czech capital’s nighttime illuminations painted the prettiest of scenes along the fairy-tale sweep of pastel-hued Renaissance buildings that line the river Vltava.

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Opera, music and theatre (not to mention the art-nouveau cafés and the Christmas Market in Old Town Square) are the lure for many who return to the hotel again and again. The black-tie concert was sublime, and followed by an extravaganza of an after-party notable for endless champagne and canapés, and pop-up stations serving the hotel’s best-loved dishes (risotto with wild boar ragu and yes, even the Onsen poached egg with potato cream, porcini mushrooms and truffle pesto) served by garlanded chefs Vito Mollica and Marco Veneruso.

A breath-taking bedroom

Richard Waite

The hotel’s grand opening 20 years ago was affected by the great flood of August 2002 – but since then, the river, with new flood-protection infrastructure, gives nothing but pleasure. One of the treats is the mosaic-floored Ava Spa with the pampering offered in the sauna, steam baths and treatment rooms named after the Czech Republic’s Litava, Morava, Otava, Svitava and Vltava rivers. After a day of exploring the cobbled streets and alleys, there is nothing like lounging poolside in The Vitality Pool room, which is styled like a salon with fireplace, bookshelves and casement windows looking up towards Prague Castle.