Story and photos by Barbara Angelakis
289 36 Mcely 61
My recent trip to the Czech Republic ended with a brief stay at a lovely chateau just an hour’s drive from Prague in the rolling hills of the verdant Czech countryside. Chateau Mcely Spa Hotel and Forest Retreat is a 5-star eco resort located in the Saint George Forest in the midst of 12 acres of parkland and forest with hiking, jogging and bicycle trails.
Each of the 23 rooms and/or suites was individually designed and decorated by Inez Cusumano.
Inez, along with her husband James A. Cusumano, acquired the Baroque castle which dates from the 17th century, and which over the years had been home to several aristocratic families. The Cusumano family rescued the noble building which had fallen into disrepair, completely renovated it, and opened it as a resort/retreat in May of 2006.
Not only is the Chateau ultra chic, it is welcoming and family oriented, encouraging families to bring their children and pets. Rooms are arranged to accommodate little ones and animals are given their own areas and amenities. There are many activities for young guests and on my brief stay several children and dogs (well-behaved I hasten to say) were guests in the chateau and it was lovely to see how warmly the formally attired staff reacted to their tiny guests.
When I arrived early at the Chateau, my room was not yet ready and I was ushered into the solarium and invited to have lunch. The attractive space was encased in light pouring through the large windows enclosing the room, and in one corner was a generous sized antique aviary in which brilliantly colored birds were singing. Having eaten just before departing Prague for the drive to the chateau, I simply sat in the overstuffed couches, had a cup of freshly brewed coffee, and admired the meticulously manicured English “park” through the windows.
Still waiting for my room I had a chance to explore the artistically laid out chateau. Each floor has a designated theme with the rooms decorated to correspond i.e. 1st floor wing “Floor of Worlds” with its Europe and Northern Seas Double Rooms and Orient, Africa, Southern Seas and American Suites plus the ultra luxurious Legend Suite; 2nd floor wing “Floor of Time” with rooms named for the months of the year and the June, Mark Twain Wings of Fame and Princess Nely Suites (named for the children’s book “Nely Princess of Chateau Mcely” created and written by the talented Inez Cusumano); 3rd floor wing holds the duplex Presidential Suite Agape with its wood burning fireplace and interior circular wrought-iron staircase, a balcony that overlooks the living room, fully equipped kitchen, and many other amenities.
Many of the rooms feature original parquet floors, crystal chandeliers, antique furnishings and decorative arts. There is a library on the top floor with outstanding views over the countryside and for the adventurous; a climb up a ladder through a skylight will take you to the rooftop outdoors observatory.
In addition to a relaxing retreat Chateau Mcely also has a philosophy of “maximizing your personal and professional success” a policy of individual improvement developed by James A. Cusumano. This makes it a perfect retreat for business people to recharge and redefine their professional practices. Cusumano also has designed three separate leadership programs which can be arranged by visiting www.chateaumcelyforum.com or www.leadershipforlife.cz Four elegant meeting spaces are available for up to 70 participants and the entire chateau can be rented for the exclusive use of a group.
My personal reason for visiting was to experience the spa and while it was different then any other I had ever been to, nevertheless it was a treat. Due to the landmark status of the building, the spa could not be encased in one area so dedicated “Silk” and “Pearl” suites were set-up on separate floors and it was not unusual to see bath-robed guests in the halls heading towards one or the other of the therapy rooms. The one exception is the sauna, Jacuzzi and “Honey” suite which is just down from the main building where there is also a natural swimming lake. The Jacuzzi is outdoors and can be booked for private romantic nights under the stars. My therapy treatment was the signature Mcely Bouquet aroma massage in the “Honey” suite and Mrs. Hanka was my therapist.
All the herbs used are grown and processed on the property and are for sale from www.mcelybouquet.com Inez Cusumano, after years of study and experimentation developed an herb and cosmetic line that is mixed by hand in small batches in their laboratory without the use of additives of any sort. Products are packaged in dark glass containers to guarantee a minimum one year shelf life.
All spa treatments begin with a sage/salt leg-and-foot scrub and end with a sample of products used during the treatment presented on a tray that you take to your room to be used during the duration of your stay. Mrs. Hanka concentrated on my back as I had asked her to do, and the massage was perfectly wonderful. Afterwards she pointed out areas that needed to be attended to and I was impressed by her concern and her knowledge. After the massage instead of soaking in the outdoor Jacuzzi as I had planned I went directly back to my room for a rest to fully integrate the beneficial effects of the treatment.
Once rested, I dressed for dinner in the formal, beautifully appointed restaurant Piano Nobile, which has been rated as one of the top five in the Czech Republic by Maurer’s Grand Restaurant Guide. Not only was dinner a sumptuous affair with formal service and a piano-player but the breakfast buffet and menu were outstanding as well with extravagant selections including a bowl of caviar set on a side board with smoked salmon and other delicacies.
Dinner began with an amuse bush of hollowed out baby potato stuffed with chopped fresh veggies in a cream sauce, followed by a Thai soup that was spicy and flavorful, again with mixed veggies and cellophane noodles. The entrée was a large portion of cod beautifully seasoned and cooked to perfection served on a bed of roasted potatoes in a white wine herb sauce with sun dried tomatoes for accent. Desert was vanilla, chocolate and caramel made-on-site ice cream topped with fresh fruit. I have been an ice cream junkie all my life but that was without a doubt the best I ever tasted; rich without being sweet, flavorful and creamy...
All in all, I can’t think of a better location to hold a wedding or corporate event; the hotel is 5-star luxury, the grounds are both landscaped and forest to please all comers, there are all manner of activities plus the spa and of course the absolutely divine gastronomy. Booked far enough in advance you can have the entire chateau and gracious staff at your disposal... perfect.
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