'wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking. we're all wanderers in life.' -spanish poet, antonio machado

Saturday, November 7, 2009

what i do in prague...

Yes, it may seem like all I do is take silly iPhone tram snaps of Prague fashion (or lack thereof), facebook about all the PDA I see around the city, go to cool coffee shops, blog about my recent travel adventures to Oktoberfest, Berlin, London, Dresden, etc. and plan trips for the future (to Krakow, my home-away-from-home (Krumlov(e) House in Cesky Krumlov), Barcelona with my bro, skiing in the Alps (Kitzbuhel + Schladming world cup and maybe Gryon, Switzerland too, emerald isle, and more)...but to be honest, this is just a small chunk of my time here.

So, you may wonder what I spend most of my time doing, then?! Well, working...to be honest. The thing with my career here (Experience Manager for four accommodation properties), is that being in the hospitality industry...it never sleeps. Plus, my work life intersects with my personal life here and all of my relationships end up being pretty incestuous since friends overlap with work overlapping with church...you get the picture. It has proven to be a challenge for me in many ways, and I have grown in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

The way our organization works is that we have three existing properties - all located in Prague:

Sir Toby's (sirtobys.com) - trad'l backpacker hostel decorated with czech antiques featuring dorm rooms and private rooms, cosy communal spaces, guest kitchen, brick cellar pub, chapel, garden terrace for bbqs in the warm weather, warm and welcoming atmosphere and good vibes galore. I love Sir Toby's for the eclectic spaces and people!
(these are smokin'-hot-off-the-press-pictures...photography by my dear friend and freelancer, Mark Stewart - Black Gecko Photography)

Sir Toby's furry little mascot - Hugo

Hey! That girl looks familiar!

Sir Toby's reception with Talitha at bottom left.

Sir Toby's Cellar Pub - my favorite couch!


Bueno - private rooms at Toby's
Kudos to Mark for capturing the beauty and warmth of the
Sir Toby's nooks and crannies! Truly awesome!
Miss Sophie's (miss-sophies.com - new website to launch soon) - boutique accommodation featuring chic, modern, minimalist decor, cool brick music lounge, gigantic rain-head showers, brushed steel beds, lacquered cement, ultra-comfy beds and so much more. Was recently featured in local boutique, Timoure et Group's catalogue, for their fall '09 line of clothing.
Timoure found us through the article about Sophie's in Czech design magazine, Dolce Vita. They make the space look so fab: http://www.timoure.cz/teg/index.html. Take a peek! Also, here's your sneek peek at our new website...it is under construction...will be launching next week: http://new.miss-sophies.com/!

(photography by my dear friend and freelancer, Mark Stewart - Black Gecko Photography)

Big red couch in the Miss Sophie's Music Lounge

Music Lounge from a different perspective

Miss Sophie's apartments are stylishly-appointed and super-spacious.

Czech Inn (czech-inn.com) - I hold Czech Inn dear to my heart, not only because it is where I spend almost all of my time (my office is located on the third floor), but it is also where I manage events - open mic night, gallery openings, musician gigs, holiday parties and more!! This is where my passion truly lies, so for me this has been a great experience. However, since the events are an extension of my day job, I find myself spending a great deal of time at the Inn. Czech Inn's design is much like Miss Sophie's - upscale ikea, is what I like to call it. Sleek, chic and minimalist - again, offering everything from dorm rooms to private rooms to apartments.

Czech Inn's newly-renovated 4th floor - SO fab...

...and don't forget the rough-luxe-designed bathrooms!

One of the many gallery openings at the Czech Inn Kavarna
(I'm in the yellow)

These properties are redefining the term 'hostel' and my goal is to educate the masses. Our properties have been featured in Elle, the New York Times, Glamour, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Let's Go, Routard, Lonely Planet, and other various design pubs as well as guide books. People are amazed when they come through our doors, not expecting the quality we provide.

When expats come by for events, they often have the preconcieved notion that they are coming to a hostel with dorm beds, and when I tell them what we offer they don't believe it. But, what it is really fun for me is when I give these individuals a tour of our spacious, wow-designed dorm rooms, twin rooms, newly renovated double ensuites (my personal favorite - room 406!), and apartments with wide-open spaces and high ceilings. They leave truly impressed.

For the most part, the hotel industry lacks in providing a communal experience conducive to meeting new people and sharing experiences...our properties fill this gap. Our offering is a unique combo of communal spaces for sharing + high quality (designer) accommodation at affordable rates. It's an awesome concept...and one that will continue to thrive in the recession and onward.

My focus (ha...'focus' is a funny word to use in this case) is on spreading the word and creating buzz about our properties...which plays out in the form of partnership marketing, interactive marketing, relationship management, event planning, copywriting, strategy and planning, operational marketing (managing a sales team who focuses on reservations and answering guest inquiries via email and phone), training, customer experience, press relationship management, social responsibility initiatives and more. Yeah. 'Focus'. Ha. As always, I feel like I am okay at a million things and not particularly amazing at any one of them...a generalist in life.

But, really...the main focus during my time here is not solely on the above, but to build as much positive buzz about our newest (and my personal fav already...shhh, don't tell!;)) property, Mosaic House - currently under construction and opening in early 2010.

Mosaic House, the most central of all of our properties (located near Karlovo Namesti in a historically-maintained 1920's style building) is special because it will be a cultural melting pot under one roof - the space will fit nearly 300 people and will feature 4-star quality designer private rooms, designed with green in mind. What this means is that Mosaic House will have numerous green components that'll make it truly green...not just faux green like the other guys.

Featuring the Czech Republic's first grey water recycling unit, energy-efficient elevators, LED lighting, solar panels, green insulation (keeping the warmth in during the winter and the cool air in during the summer, the smartest electricy in-room (sensored electricity that shuts off when no one is in the room), recycled paper products, use of city recycling, and various other green elements (potentially including an airport shuttle powered on french fry oil coming from our restaurant, Belushi's). What's more, we'll have a games room, fully-licensed bar and restaurant with the biggest TV screens in Prague (and the best burger!) featuring a theatre bar and lounge with a full stage for nightly events, zen garden and more. Our vision is to bring together people from all walks of life under one roof, where they can share their experiences and experience Prague in a unique and meaningful way...to make their stay in Prague a memorable stay not just because they slept in a nice room, but because they met a fellow traveler who shared the same love and innate passion for travel and sharing stories.

It will truly rock the house. And, I am so excited to be involved from the early stages through launch next year. I encourage you to take a peek and follow the progress on facebook. If you have any suggestions for taglines (calling all creative friends out there! - style guide is underway as I type this), memorable/quirky marketing ideas, ideas for opening party (we want to make a big splash! so, any PR contacts you have in green/design/hospitality industry would be much appreciated! also, if any of you event planners have any cool ideas for opening party, let me know), and more - email me. I'm open to any suggestions.
A visual tour through the sample room at Mosaic House...
Sample room - beautiful!

Owner Mathias Schwender shows off the view
from the penthouse - that's the Prague Castle to
the top left! I call the penthouse!
Fancy-shmancy sink
Bathroom - of course it's nice - Mathias
is mad about nicely designed bathrooms! :)

Light inset provides a cool ambiance.

Close-up of bed and the oh-so-soft pillows!

I adore the design...the mixture of things you
wouldn't normally put together is so appealing...
check out the tree branch free-hand painting on
the wall and light inset above! WOW.
The comfy, cosy bed!

The room - check out the beautiful wood floors!

Hang your digs on a sweet tree-branch-turned-hanging-rack!

First thing you see when walking into main entrance,
up the stairs - theatre bar and lounge!
SO jazzed about this for events!
Facade of building - under construction!

Become a fan of Mosaic House on facebook
Check out (Mosaic House) on flickr


Thanks for hanging with me. I miss you all very much.


Thank you for your support and love
(especially to my wonderful fiance!).
It means more than you know. Really.


Love, smiles, bear hugs and good vibes from Praha,


Me

5 comments:

  1. Awesome Meggers! I wish that room was mine! Love the tree branch coat hanger. Looks like you're doing a fabulous job (as always). Love you and I'm so proud of you!!
    Ali

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  2. Babes, I love you and (to one up Ali) I am more proud of you!

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  3. Hey! Bit random but I just happened to fall upon your blog. I travelled in April 2008 and recently got home. I've spent a few months at home (longer than hoped) and whilst it has been amazing to spend time with family and friends, home is not where my happiness lies. A travelling buddy I made in Oz propositioned me with the idea of getting a flight from the UK to Prague on 1st January and pretty much just take it from there. So, I'm having a little wander on the net, researching Prague and your blog pops up. I really just wanted to let you know and say thank you for the impact it's had on me. My insatiable wanderlust has reignited! You've just totally made me realise that I soooo need to book that flight. Your properties look pretty ace and if Prague has this to offer, I'm GAME!
    Peace. Rosie x

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  4. Hey, hey Rosie!

    Wow...this is SO cool! Thanks so much for the note...how amazingly sweet!! Glad my blog served some bigger purpose. I often don't think that what I do is making a difference, but notes like yours change my perception in this regard. Thank you so, so much for leaving a comment...seriously appreciative. If you end up coming to Prague, let me know and we'll get you sorted with a place to stay for a good deal! I am heading home for holiday over the holidays, but will be back on 6 January.

    Feel free to shoot me an email at megan@bohemianhostels.com if you have any questions about places to go/things to do or see/places to stay around Europe!

    I am glad I've inspired you to get out there and travel. Home is truly where my heart and happiness lies, but if I wouldn't have tackled this life experience I wouldn't be able to see home in the same light. My travel philosophy...'just do it'. If you're ever questioning travel...you're thinking too hard. If you don't do it now, you'll regret it later. Smiles, and go conquer the world :).

    Rock on,

    Megs

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