Pension Unitas is built in the building that housed prisoners of the former Czech Secret Police, people who were deemed "enemies of the state", including recently retired Czech President Vaclav Havel, who spent a few nights in the basement of this complex as a dissident against the communist regime.
The Pension is actually on the ground level up, with the "Art Prison Hostel" in the basement.
The Pension is your standard pension with decent beds, clean rooms, friendly staff and free breakfast.
I stayed in the prison hostel, which is much different. It is a great experience to stay in jail for your stay in Prague. They encorporate old metal-tube bunks for beds, in the old prison cells in the dungeonous basement, which is decorated with art/grafitti on the hallway walls. The beds are comfortable (although they don't look it) and, best of all, you pay less for this experience than the regular pension.
Unique Quality: The Pension/Prison hostel is located in a great area 1 block from Narodni trida metro station, mere steps from Old Town Sq, Wencelas Square, and the Vltava River.
Unitas is undergoing reconstruction and expects to open again Winter 2007, according to the website.
Directions: From Tesco (outside Narodni trida metro station), go down the hill and turn left one block down the hill. It is located about 50 m up the street.
Pnesion Unitas has a really bad tempered blonde girl who works the front desk but that is about its only drawback. For about $25 per night you stay in a converted prison that is on one of the quieter streets of the tourist area, right next door to the police station. The accomodations are simple, with shared showers and toilet facilities. The place is well maintained and sets out a basic but filling breakfast. Signs and instructions are in English, and the staff speaks English as well, but all said and done, this is not a pension along the lines of one in the anglophone world. Unitas is pure Czech. I ould classify their policies and location as "very secure". The beds are clean and comfortable. The rooms are quiet (and very dark after you turn the lights out) and the food is good. That blonde girl really needs an attitude improvement though.
Unique Quality: I think the most unique quality the Pension Unitas has is that it is not a run of the mill hotel or pension. It is reallywhat they say it is, a converted prison and you can feel that in your room. TYou don't feel bad, but there is definitely a feeling that you are staying in something different. I heard a rumor that if you pay extra you can stay in Vaclav Havel's old cell.
Directions: Not far from Narodni Trida metro station.
A former prison turned hotel/hostel, Pension Unitas is a good value accommodation option in an excellent location in the centre of Prague.
A double room with breakfast included cost 1200 Koruny (about 40 Euro) which, based on the research we did before booking, is about the best value in the area. The dorm rooms downstairs are former prisoners cells. Interestingly, Vaclev Havel, the current Czech Republic President was imprisoned here (in Room No. 6) when the communists were in power. Upstairs the rooms are more spacious - I imagine these were offices in the former prison. Showers and bathroom facilities are shared and are very clean while the rooms were comfortable and more importantly heated (very important in Prague in November).
The pension is in a great location for exploring Prague. Both Wencesles Square and the Old Town Square are within 10 minutes walk while we found a couple of great pubs very close by. The only disappointment was breakfast (which is included in the price) . There wasn't really much on offer here and the coffee was terrible.
Overall, Pension Unitas is a good option for anyone wanting budget accommodation in a quiet, central location.
Directions: Near Nardoni, not far from Wencesles Square.
Well, it wasn't the Ritz. But it was also the least expensive place we stayed (around $25 for three to a room), and it was leaps and bounds better than the $hit hole in Copenhagen.
Shared bathrooms were cleaner and nicer than most.
In the Basement, there was the "Art Prison Hostel"--which was the same as the Pension, except shared bedrooms. I think of all the hostels, this one would be safe.
This was a really safe hotel, and a police station was across the street.
Unique Quality: Killer location.
This old pension was first a convent, but during the communist era, it became a prison too, mainly for political prisioners.
Now they have made a pension, kind of hostel, and you can sleep in the former cells. They painted in pink the iron doors with hasps and the locks, and beds are all original from the prison days. Even the iron window fence is still there.
It's not a luxurious place, but weird to sleep in an old prison.
Directions: In the old town, walking distance to the main attractions
Bartolomejska 9, StarÃ© Mesto, Prague
Trziste 9, Prague
Hostivitova 3, Prague
U Slate Studne 166/4, Praha 1-Mala Stana, 118 00 Czech Republic
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Address: Bartolomejska 9, StarÃ© Mesto, Prague, Bohemia, 110 00, Czech Republic