In the city center is one of the largest town squares in Europe. At the southeast corner of it we found the newly refurbished Grand Hotel Zvon. For 2950 Kc ($98), plus 250 Kc ($8.33) for breakfast for two, we were given the V Lanner Suite, which was simply a double room. It had the usual amenities, but was rather narrow and overlooked the main square, making it somewhat noisy at night. The staff, however, was helpful and spoke enough English for our needs.

Parking the car was interesting. On the street behind the hotel we turned in to the hotel's garage. There, a man motioned us to drive onto a large lift which ascended to a small, secure rooftop parking area. He then helped us unload and carry our luggage to our room. Despite the hotel's fancy looking Gourmet Symphony restaurant, which boasts a hand-carved wood ceiling, we opted to dine at the Budvar brewery. For snacks and beverages there was the Café Mozart, a Vienna-style, wood-paneled combination wine bar and coffee house.

Our favorite part of the hotel, however, was a ground floor bistro that opened to the town square. It has a pleasant, warm atmosphere with dark wood tables spaced well apart, good lighting and walls hung with framed clippings from old newspapers. The restaurant's centerpiece is a huge, highly-polished copper beer tank top that hangs umbrella fashion over the heart of the operation, draught-central, where the beer is pulled. Here, after an afternoon walk, we settled in with the locals for half-liters of splendid Pilsner Urquell and a small plate of French fries. The total was less than $2.

A 50ish man in a tuxedo supervised the uniformed young servers, most of whom seemed to speak at least some English. There was much to choose from at breakfast, but the experience was marred for us by too many smokers and a thermostat turned too high. The items on the buffet did not seem as fresh as they might have. Overall, however, our experience at the Zvon was a good one and we recommend it without hesitation.

Street Address: Nam. Premysla Otakara 11.C.2828
City: Ceske Budejovice
Country: Czech Republic
Phone: 011 420 38 731 13 84
Fax: 011 420 38 635 89 29
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Quality: Rating: 2 stars
Value: Rating: 2 stars
Price Level: $$$-
Type: Hotel