Sunday, June 13, 2010

Holiday Apartments in Prague City Centre - Top Tips!

If you haven't already been to Prague yourself then you will almost certainly have friends that have been and if you are reading this article you are probably planning a trip there in near future.
There are plenty of other articles that will tell you where to visit, what to see, where to get cheap beer and how not to be ripped off by taxi drivers. This article is about the holiday letting market in Prague and how to get the most from it.
When booking a city break or vacation in Prague most people immediately consider hotels with a recognisable brand. This is fine and you will no doubt have a great time staying there - but at a price! If 3 couples are travelling together and staying in 3 hotel rooms you could typically pay up to $600 plus taxes for the group - PER NIGHT! The same quality of accommodation in a Prague holiday apartment will normally cost $120 per night. Just think how much more beer, or wooden toys or boat trips down the Vltava you can buy with that!
Where to Stay?
For obvious reasons many people are attracted to the Old Town Square or the immediate vicinity to the Charles Bridge. If you are thinking about this then consider the following:
Stag and Hen parties congregate in these areas and can be very noisy, particularly late at night. Czechs congregate here for key sporting events normally shown on Huge TV screens - check you dates carefully. Pickpockets and street prostitutes frequent these areas. Prague city centre is very small and most places are either within walking distance or are served by excellent public transport links (metro and trams). Hotels and Apartments are generally more expensive in these areas. There are many other areas of Prague that are quieter, cheaper and well connected to the rest of the city. One of the most popular areas in my experience is Vinohrady (the Royal Vineyard). The architecture is fantastic with a real café society. It is a 10-15 minute walk away from Wenceslas Square and well served by public transport.
Two outstanding new developments have recently been built in Vinohrady and there are many holiday apartments available. These are the Zvonarka and Korunni Dvur developments. The apartments are generally furnished to a 4 star standard with swimming pools and fitness facilities available either for free or a small charge. These are well worth considering over and above a small, drafty, noisy Old Town apartment.
Other pitfalls
There are thousands of apartments available for short term holiday and vacation rental. But choose your apartment carefully!
Following entry to the Czech Republic there has been a great deal of investment into this market from outside of the Czech Republic. It is easier than ever before to buy and mortgages have become available to non-Czech nationals for the first time - and at reasonable rates. These are normally furnished to a high standard and in good, safe locations and add to the stock of quality Czech owned apartments.
There are also a large number of 'protected rent' apartments that are sublet illegally. These are much older and the 'owners' spend much less on furnishings and maintenance because they are letting the flats illegally. Protected rents were intended to provide affordable accommodation to Czechs during the communist period and in the future these are expected to be phased out.
But how can you tell what the apartment will really be like from a few thumbnail pictures?
The best way is use a reputable website such as to choose your property. These apartments are all vetted and are in well furnished properties in safe, central locations. You can reserve the apartment with a small deposit and be sure of local English speaking support on arrival in Prague.
Holiday Rental Checklist
Know the TOTAL price of the booking at the time of booking an insist on email confirmation Agree Check in and Check out times in advance. You will normally be asked to check out earlier than a hotel so that the apartment can be cleaned in advance of the next guests arriving. It is always worth asking for a late check out. Most owners will agree to this if they have no guests arriving that day. Make sure you discuss this in advance though as the cleaner will need to be notified.
Extras. Normally airport transfer can be added to the cost of the booking for reasonable rates. Owners prefer to know exactly where you are once you arrive rather than have you show up on the door step at a random time somewhere near to when you said you show up. Taking advantage of airport transfers will normally save you money and get you to your apartment faster. Ask about security arrangements.
(ArticlesBase SC #26045)

Ian J.smith - About the Author:
Ian Smith is an expat from the UK living in Prague for the last 8 years. He manages the prague apartment rental business and advises investors on the pitfalls of holiday buy-to-lets.