After the Velvet Revolution of 1989 the doors of Czechoslovakia were open and four years later, Czech Republic became its own independent state. And that's when the Ploberger brothers arrived. Rudolf and Christian Ploberger were looking for somewhere special to expand their hotel entrepreneurial skills after the success of their namesake hotel in Austria. Prague seemed the obvious choice. They could not have come at a more perfect time because, as fate would have, they were met with an incredibly excited taxi driver who was proud of his city and wanted the brothers to explore as much as possible. He drove them all around Prague, highlighting various points that make the city so special. He actually forced them to walk across Charles Bridge and to explore every nook and cranny. To touch every stone, every statue, to, in a sense, feel the history. And they did. By the end of the tour Christian and Rudolf Ploberger were decided; Prague would be the home of their new hotel.
First came the Maximilian hotel. The building itself was designed in the 1920s by Karel Teige who was a beacon in the Czechoslovakian avant-garde style. They kept the style and gave it a modern twist. After reconstruction, the Maximilian was open in 1995. It was the first hotel of its kind in Czech Republic at the time. It had the added benefit of merging history with the present and International standards of excellent services. As a result Maximilian flourished thus encouraging the brothers in their pursuit of another hotel.
Helped by the success of Maximilian, building a design hotel from the ground up was possible. Josef’s location was difficult to find but eventually a plot of land opened up that was ready for sale. After negotiation the next step was finding an architect. News of an exceptionally talented architect reached the Plobergers and they travelled to London to meet with the award winning Czech architect, Eva Jiricna. Despite her schedule, Mrs. Jiricna took on the job with great pride and ferocious attention. She designed and selected every detail of Hotel Josef, from the glass accented interior to the butterfly motif in the lobby and restaurant. In June 2002 the doors of Josef were open for business and what visitors see is the result of what happens when everything comes together, just so.
The story does not end here. Josef has had its share of obstacles, such as the August 2002 European flood which occurred two months after its opening. However, the dream of a design hotel in Prague was not to be halted. The doors were open again two months later.
Prague has an amazing story and it is a privilege for Maximilian and Josef to become part of that in its own small way.