Hotel history

The History of Hotel Beránek in Prague


    At the beginning of the 1900s, the building of Hotel Beránek was a part of the property and businesses that proudly bore the name Beránkovy podniky (Beránek Enterprises). Their founder, Mr. JOSEF BERÁNEK (1864 –1936), laid the foundation in 1887 by taking over a butcher shop at Tyl Square (Tylovo náměstí). Ten years later he bought the house above his store, and the Beránek empire began to grow nicely.

  Tylovo náměstí, Kr. Vinohrady - Hotel Beránek Praha

Built just before World War I there was a café and restaurant, and after the war an additional building was built for the Slovanský Hotel – Beránek. In 1929, Beránek built one of the most modern cinemas of the day on London Street(Londýnská ulice). On that street, his hotel also is documented as having had other facilities – accommodations for waiters and chambermaids, the hotel office, a private villa for the Beránek family and the hotel’s general manager, a hay loft, later adding a garage, a gasoline pump, meat market facilities and the Beránek Market Hall. Actually, the hotel and market hall were the life blood of the entire Tylovo náměstí area, with sales people either at their stalls or going the restaurant U Keců (today Pizza Einstein) for soup.

During the First Republic, Hotel Beránek mainly served American guests and made it through World War II with parties for German officers, but the hotel was not able to avoid Communist nationalization.

After Josef Beránka, Sr. died in 1936, his son Josef (1901 – 1987) took over the business. The hotel was confiscated from him, but even during the Communist era, there was a hotel and restaurant here.

From the following texts, you will learn that Josef Beránek was an entrepreneur in the true sense of the word and a gentleman who, despite his success, was also able to care for others, and his business was generally popular and respected.
Pohled na Tylovo náměstí kolem roku 1919 - Hotel Beránek Praha

  • Excerpt from a commemorative publication about the town of Královské Vinohrady (Památník města Královských Vinohrad, 1929)

AT THE BERÁNEK MARKET HALL

you can now buy anything you need for preparing meals, including meat, fat, wild game, fowl, fish, vegetables and colonial goods. All merchandise is strictly categorized, and prices are clearly marked, so even a small child could go shopping at Beránek Market Hall safely and reliably.

For public convenience, the separate departments mentioned above were set up, each with a particular type of merchandise. This, together with the assistance of trained personnel, lets Beránek Market Hall give the public the fastest possible service even when large crowds are present, as is the rule lately at Beránek Market Hall. Every day, especially in the morning hours, people flock there not only from Prague and its vicinity, but also from more distant, rural areas. This phenomenon can be explained by the fact that at Beránek Market Hall the best goods are sold at the best prices, so that savings from shopping compensate any buyer even for a trip to town by rail. Even the people from the countryside who order goods from Beránek Market Hall and have them sent by mail or by railway do not miss out on the advantages that Prague customers enjoy, since they get the same quality goods for the same price. Merchants and brokers get special privileges. In 1920, Beránek Market Hall was built onto the magnificent Slovanský Hotel, which has become a favorite center for foreign guests, Americans, Prague citizens and people from the countryside. That same the popular

GRAND RESTAURANT

was expanded with the addition of the lovely Freedom Hall, decorated with reliefs depicting the heroic exploits of the Czechoslovak Legion in Russia. During the jubilee year,

BERÁNEK SLOVANSKÝ HOTEL

was greatly expanded, making it Prague’s biggest hotel, now with 310 modern rooms equipped with every convenience, allowing the accommodation of even an entire travel group. At Beránek Slovanský Hotel,

BANQUETS FOR WEDDINGS AND OTHER OCCASIONS

can be held at any time, even without a prior reservation. Beránek’s excellent French cuisine is always ready and at your service for any occasion. Food is served at Beránek dining halls all day, and there is something to eat for everyone, whether rich or poor.

The menu offers a hearty selection of foods for all classes of society.

THE GRAND RESTAURANT BUFFET

at Beránek is open even on holidays and Sundays. With the extension of the hotel in 1929, the first-class, state-of-the-art

BERÁNEK PREMIÈRE CINEMA

later Dalibor

was built, with a first-class orchestra pit and a marvelous electric organ, the only one of its kind in this country. Organ recitals played on it are broadcast throughout the country and abroad by Radio Prague.

 To satisfy the demand among Bráník residents, in 1928 the

BRANCH OF THE BERÁNEK MARKET HALL

was opened. Business has turned out very well there because buyers get goods just as cheaply there as at the central market hall in Vinohrady.

Beránek is also the owner of the exemplary, extensive

HODKOVIČKY FARM

that attracts many Czech and foreign visitors. Mr. Josef Beránek himself enjoys giving guided tours, because he is proud that his hard work has not been in vain and that his magnificent enterprise enjoys general recognition and admiration.

 Jídelna v Hotelu Beránek - Hotel Beránek Praha

Mr. Josef Beránek is a working man and a success in the best sense of the word. It should also be emphasized that unlike others, he has a trait that one does not encounter too frequently in this country – business acumen. There is something American about the powerful force constantly driving Beránek Enterprises onwards and upwards. In spite of having already achieved such massive dimensions, Beránek Enterprises will surely continue to blossom magnificently, since the man in charge is a model of industriousness and confidence.

 Excerpt from the publication Královské Vinohrady dated 1940

Without a doubt, one of the peculiarities of the neighborhood Královské Vinohrady is its many butcher shops, world famous for their products. Prague ham is known around the world mainly thanks to companies in Vinohrady. And not just because of such giant companies as Beránek, Chmel etc., but also because of the many smaller shops with the products that have made Vinohrady.

The history of Beránek Enterprises is not just the history of a butcher shop, but rather is a reflection of the overall economic development of Královské Vinohrady.

In 1887, having attained considerable personal business experience, the company founder Josef Beránek took over a butcher shop at Tyl Square from Mr. Čížek. He thereby laid the groundwork for the present-day businesses. There followed the purposeful work diligence, making the company grow into the pride of not only Vinohrady, but also of all of Czech business and enterprise.

In 1897 he bought the building in which he had his first store, and after the relatively short period of two years, he also bought the adjoining building on the street Hálkova ulice. In the following years, the company was not burdened with new expansion, but work continued to the extent necessary on the company’s technical and commercial growth.

Once the company was on a sure footing, a café and restaurant were opened in 1914 at great expense. Towards the end of World War I under truly difficult conditions, a hotel was built that was the best equipped hotel in Prague at that time and that had a large garage.

The founder, Josef Beránek, was one of the first Czech businessmen who fully understood the importance of business efficiency. In an effort to secure the cheapest possible supply of food and raw materials, he opened a poultry farm and vegetable garden in Hodkovičky using the most up-to-date methods.

In 1927 he expanded his business for the last time, adding a cinema with interior furnishings that topped all other cinemas in Prague at the time. The fact that there were no more plans for expanding the company did not mean the end of work for the founder. All of his efforts now went towards perfecting production, and every precaution was taken to ensure the highest standards of hygiene during the production and sale of food.

With the most modern technology in its sales outlets, production plants and cold storage facilities, the company was number one not only in this country, but throughout Europe.

The management of Beránek Market Hall was among the very best. A separate department was set up for each type of merchandise. In 1928 a branch of Beránek Market Hall was opened Bráník, and in 1934 another branch was opened in Smíchov.

The death of the company’s founder, Josef Beránek, was a loss not only for the Czech business world of a man who had created an extraordinary Czech commercial enterprise, but also for the public at large, with whom he was very popular as the co-founder of the Vinohrady Sokol chapter, a member of the National Unity political party and the first chairman of Řeznicko-uzenářská banka (Butcher’s Bank). The event nonetheless had no impact on the smooth operations of the company, because Mr. Beránek’s successor continued in the family tradition. Josef Beránek Jr. proved to be no less able an entrepreneur.

The reputation enjoyed virtually around the globe by Beránek Enterprises represents a huge part of the economic life not only of Vinohrady, but of all of Bohemia.


Beránkovy podniky - tržnice a hotel - Hotel Beránek Praha
  • Quotation from a text by a private researcher of Prague history entered into the Archives of the City of Prague in 1981

Western Vinohrady

The appearance of Tyl Square (Scheinerovo naměstí from 1933 - 1940 and after liberation) changed mainly on the western side. Particularly striking was the new building number 650. The reconstructed houses at street numbers 16, 15 and 700 were renumbered as no. 15, the site of central headquarters of Včela, the Workers’ Central Consumer Union (known as Brotherhood during the occupation). During the May Uprising of 1945, the Czech National Council was sheltered there. The buildings rebuilt on the opposite side were numbered as 479, 480 and 654. Added in 1920 with Beránek’s business under a common façade was the Slovanský Hotel with Svoboda Hall, which reached the size of 300 rooms with the large annex built on the street Londýnská ulice in 1929. Buildings nos. 478, 561 and 629 on the square were joined with a uniform façade design. At the southern end of the market hall, a new public scale and underground restrooms were built in the years 1924/5. In l925 the gas lighting on the square was improved.

J. Beránek had a butcher shop at building no. 629 since 1887. From the late 1890s the prospering business developed into a meat market. In 1914 a café and restaurant were added.

  • An essay from the publication Hotels of Greater Prague (Hotely velké Prahy, 1934). From the text you can infer something about the training of the personnel and the quality of services provided. Appendix No. 1 gives an overview of some of Prague’s hotels at the time.

Hotels in Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia’s motto is to become the Park of Europe. It has all of the prerequisites for that motto to become reality, with world famous mineral baths, incomparable natural beauty, historical buildings and an assiduous and industrious population that is able to give a warm welcome to anyone coming here to spend a few days of holiday or recuperation.

In important factor for the satisfying of every visitor to Czechoslovakia is a developed hotel industry. Hotel owners are aware of that responsibility, so they are trying to accommodate their guests in every way. All hotels in Czechoslovakia are governed by the same common principle: to provide guests with accommodations so that they are fully satisfied in all directions. For this reason, the chief aim of personnel training is to give them needed expertise and language skills and to help them make the effort to satisfy every customer’s wishes one hundred percent. This way, every visitor to one of our hotels feels like he is at home. The hotels included in the list are aware of the responsibilities thy assume by accommodating guests, and they make an effort to fulfill every guest’s wishes.

All of our hotels share this spirit, and visitors soon discover that everyone’s efforts are to make their stay not only at the hotel but in Czechoslovakia as such so pleasant as to assure that the visitors will return year after year.

Come let us show you that we want to care for everyone, so they will be satisfied and go back home convinced that in Czechoslovakia they received not only a warm welcome, but also the kind of care that lets them make full use of their holiday and return home in full health.

 General Comments

The Union of Hoteliers and Grand Restauranteurs in the Republic of Czechoslovakia is a member of the Alliance Internationale de L'Hoteliere with headquarters in Paris

International hotel rules are generally applicable in Czechoslovakia, and one may appeal to it in any direction.

The customs inspection at the border is very lenient for foreigners. Customs officials will only acquire about the amount of tobacco visitors are bringing, since tobacco is subject to a monopoly in Czechoslovakia. The inspection of baggage may be left until the final destination, since all spas and important tourist sites have customs offices that also clear guests’ baggage upon departure.

The fees for hotel and restaurant personnel are not uniform. In world-class spas and in Slovakia, the service fee is a 10% surcharge to the bill, while in other parts of the country a system of voluntary tipping applies. Also here it is possible to have a 10 to 15% surcharge added to the hotel bill.

 

The price of a hotel room normally includes ordinary lighting and heating. Sometimes, however, heating is charged separately at a rate of 4 Czechoslovak crowns for a single room and 6 to 8 crowns for a double room. In some cities, there is a municipal surcharge for temporary accommodations in the amount of 10% of the billed room price. It is usually collected from guests separately. The prices in this list are the minimum and depend on the position and furnishing of individual rooms. We recommend reading the house rules of every hotel, which will bring all of these circumstances to your attention separately. This list only includes hotels that can fulfil the task of hospitality and that have pledged to us that in all ways they will care for visitors so as to attain their complete satisfaction. They therefore deserve the trust of the travelling public.

You may travel to Czechoslovakia without a visa from the following countries: England, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Danzig, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Yugoslavia, Canada, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Austria, Saarland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and the Vatican State.

 Arrival in Prague

Baggage porters:

 - 1 crown per piece of baggage, minimum charge of 2 crowns

Taxis:

 - rate: 2, 3 or 4 crowns per km, base rate also 2, 3 or 4 crowns, same price day or night

Baggage surcharge:

 - according to the vehicle size 2, 3 or 4 crowns per item; a 10% tip is customary

Sightseeing tours of Prague: 

 - from the Municipal House beneath the Powder> Tower and from Náměstí Republiky full-day tour for 70 crowns

 - half-day tour for 35 crowns, including the entrance fee to all landmarks

Guides for foreigners:

 - the best way to hire a guide is by contacting the office of the Union for Foreigners, Prague I, Municipal House, telephone number 626-37. .     

 

  • One of the hotels in the book Hospitable Prague (Prahou pohostinnou, 1976)

 BERANEK - B

Prague 2, Bělehradská 110 – phone: 25 45 44

Thanks to extensive reconstruction performed in several stages, since 1973 guests at the hotel on Tyl Square in Vinohrady now find basically an entirely new hotel.

Ready for guests are 280 beds (including spare beds) in single and double rooms, one third of which have their own bath or shower.

Also new is the hotel’s hospitality center. Instead of a 4th class buffet on the ground floor, there is now a hotel restaurant (2nd Class - 100 seats 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.), a bar (2nd Class - 20 seats – 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.) and the hotel hall with 40 seats. For various celebratory occasions, the hotel has two salons available (50 seats).

Electric tram station and tram numbers: Tylovo náměstí - 1, 2, 6, 16, 19, 22, 23

  • Excerpt from a book about Prague District 2 issued by the District 2 Municipal Authority in 1996

In 1929 the Vinohrady businessman Josef Beránek expanded his property at Tyl Square (Bělehradská třída), building an extension reaching to the street Londýnská ulice (building no. 376). In that building he even added a luxury cinema bearing his name, Beránek (later renamed Dalibor for a historical Czech figure).

Prague’s hotels are also places of hospitality. Hotel Union on the street Jaromírova ulice in Nusle as well as Moráň on the street Na Moráni or Juventus on Blanická street, Luník on Londýnská street, the Beránek Hotel on Bělehradská street, Ametyst on Jan Masaryk street or the closed hotel Kriváň at the square I.P. Pavlova constitute the traditional accommodations facilities, followed by the many others that have opened since 1989. 

  • Except from period correspondence – guests staying in Prague at a garden party celebrating the founding of the republic. It documents that the hotel really was for foreign clientele, with a focus on America. Here specifically are important wartime emigrants and Mr. Beránek himself with his wife – prepared by Tomáš Biskup

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 Hotel Beranek - Czech Hotel Awards 2013