What does it look like when a family used to backpacking goes on a luxury vacation to a Czech castle? Commercial collaboration with Chateu Mcely. Opinions are our own.
- Chateu Mcely secret
- Kids play the leading roles
- Chateau Mcely family
- A princess experience for the girls: Princess Nely and Bouquet Spa
- Rooms and private spaces
- Food and common spaces
- Outdoor spaces and swimming
- Our own experience
- Quick Guide to Chateu Mcely
1. Chateu Mcely and its secret
What makes some places memories right from the get-go whereas others just become a part of a life once lived, leaving no significant memories? This is what I pondered when walking in through the Chateu Mcely castle door. We had had a four-week long wonderful, relaxing summer vacation in Croatia, but from the first moment I felt that there was something special about this place. Could it be the love for castles, a promise of luxury, or something else?
We had our first contact with Chateu Mcely six months earlier at the Nordic Travel Fair when our whole family received an invitation to come visit the castle. We exchanged several pleasant messages with Chateu Mcely’s Marketing Manager Karla before we were able to fit the trip into our travel plans.
I read somewhere that people are at their happiest when they are planning the trip and especially right before departure; right when the long-awaited trip is about to take place. I believe that with the vacation at Chateu Mcely, it was largely about the same thing.
But merely waiting is not enough to create an experience, because the place also has to make good on its promise – especially when the expectations have been raised for a long time before embarking on the trip. Why did Chateu Mcely then make such an impression on us? I’ll tell you, because the answer is simple. Chateu Mcely’s secret is paying attention to kids.
If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then the way to parents’ hearts is through their kids.
2. Kids play the leading roles
We were welcomed in a special way. And I’m not only talking about us adults here. I mean that the kids were spoken to using their names, which the staff had learned in advance. Every child was greeted personally with a handshake, and they were treated as equals to adults, as individuals.
The same continued in our rooms: the girls’ beds had Chateu Mcely soft toys on them and the girls’ names were enbroidered on the beds. For our littlest, Hanna, there was a princess tiara and toys. The book about the castle’s own character, Princess Nely, was read over and over during our vacation.
The kids’ bubbling joy made us parents very happy.
The things where the special attention given to kids especially stuck with us were in the details, which had consistently been taken care of. For example, the kids had their own, right-sized bathrobes and slippers. And next to the dining space was a corner for playing and drawing, with live parrots and a chess board for older kids.
In between courses the kids took off to do their own things (which the staff and other guests considered to be perfectly normal) and the adults got to concentrate on enjoying the wine and each others’ company, instead of just entertaining the kids.
The kids’ own swimming pool with its pool toys, the whirlpool bath, playground, trampoline and other toys like kids’ bikes, soccer balls and croquet sets made sure that there was plenty to do with the kids.
3. Chateu Mcely family
The Mcely castle is situated in the village of Mcely, about an hour’s drive northeast of Prague. The castle was built in the 17th century, but didn’t get its current look until after a few rounds of renovations.
The castle’s current story began in 2001, when the owner Inéz Cusumano fell for the castle, which at the time was in really rough shape. Inéz and her husband Jim, together with their trusted friends, began a massive reconstruction project. After five years of renovations Chateu Mcely was opened up to first guests in 2006.
What does “family-like atmosphere” mean in a five-star hotel? Here is where the most cynical readers think, “Of course the service needs to be spotless in a five-star hotel!” or, “Sure, they’ll serve you well – you do co-operation with them!” We have seen a thing or two on our travels, but it seemed that the service towards other guests was equally considerate and heartfelt.
I asked Karla about this family-like feel and my sense that the staff were friends with one another, and that the service wasn’t fake. Karla said that during its 11 years of operation, Chateu Mcely has not only created friendships among its workers, but that couples, too, have been formed.
Chateu Mcely has celebrated its employees’ weddings four times already, there are ten couples working in the castle, and these unions have resulted in 17 kids. The fact that 19 members of the staff have worked in the castle for over five years speaks volumes of the family-mentality.
You know the feeling when the staff jokes with one another and finishes each others’ sentences?
As my major in school I studied leadership. Recently I have, in addition to reading books, become more familiar with how teams and people create exceptionally good communities at my workplace. The common denominator in the strongest teams is the We-spirit, the family-like atmosphere, and a common, shared purpose. I believe that these things are all present at Chateu Mcely. It was like we slipped into becoming a part of this family community.
Karla: “It makes me really happy that I don´t have to separate personal life from my career. I just have one life which I live right now.”
4. A princess experience for the girls – Princess Nely and the Bouquet Spa
Nely is the imaginary little princess of Chateu Mcely. Her story was created by the castle owner, Inéz. Inspiration for Nely was provided by the owner’s own daughter. In addition to having written Nely’s adventures into a children’s book form, Nely also has her own set of tableware, a room in the castle named after her, her own menu, a spa collection, and many other things.
Little girls can spend a Princess Nely day with, for example, their sisters, friends or mother at the Bouquet Spa. A Princess Nely pampering day includes a spa treatment, hairstyling and beautifying with Bouquet Spa’s own natural cosmetics, and dressing up in the castle’s princess gown.
Every fall, Chateu Mcely arranges a Princess Nely weekend, during which hundreds of little princesses gather to spend days full of experiences with their families.
5. Rooms and private spaces
All of Chateu Mcely’s rooms have been uniquely decorated. The Presidential Suite in which we stayed is two-storey. The living room, bathroom, kitchen, dining area, and master bedroom with its own bathroom are located on the first floor. The second bedroom, as well as the read and play nooks, are located on the second floor. The second floor also offers convenient acces to the castle’s library and to the lookout tower, which offered beautiful views of the Mcely village, and the forest and nature surrounding the castle.
6. Food and common spaces
Breakfast – well, more like brunch – was served in the downstairs dining room. We ended up having ours outside on the terrace, underneath the sunbrellas. The girls were running around on the grass field in front of us amidst the breakfast.
Is there an invention better than champagne brunch?
Restaurant Piano Nobile takes care of serving lunch and dinner. Dining can take place either in the castle’s dining room or on a glass balcony. The restaurant is ranked number four on the Czech Grand Restaurant-list. The castle’s wine cellar’s variety of 260 different wines offered delicacies we were unfamiliar with.
7. Outdoor spaces and swimming
The castle is surrounded by beautiful nature and there’s plenty to do outside: go for a leisurely afternoon stroll, take a nap on a picnic blanket, play tennis or basketball, go cycling, do yoga or own’s own exercise routine, or swim. The kids thought the most fun part was running to the castle’s reservoir for a swim or getting in the whirlpool bath to relax.
8. Our own experience
At first a luxury vacation with kids sounded like quite the waste of money to me. What if the kids don’t eat at dinner, or if they don’t behave and we grown-ups end up spending all of our time being on our toes? Will we get value for our money, or be able to enjoy all this beauty, luxury and service?
As tends to be the case when traveling with kids, our worries were unnecessary. The girls behaved themselves, but the attitude of the staff played an even bigger role. They liked kids and treated them in a considerate manner. I began to wonder whether we should compromise on the duration of the trips and switch to only doing luxury travel with the kids? That remains to be seen, but what is certain is that kids, too, deserve their share of luxury (and the adults a relaxing holiday).
Quick guide to Chateu Mcely
You can find cheap flights from Finland to Prague for about 100-150€/person. Rent a car at the airport and cruise to Chateu Mcely in less than an hour. The car rental costs about 50-100€ per day, depending on the car make and model.
Map and driving instructions to Chateau Mcely
The long weekends of the spring such as Easter are approaching. Chateuy Mcely’s room reservation and pricing here.
Sights around Chateu Mcely
- Carriage rides in the St. George Forest
- Mirakulum – an entertaining yet educational children’s park in Milovice (21 km)
- Košík Organic Farm (8 km)
- Staré Hrady Fairytale Castle and Chateau (17 km)
- ZOO Chleby (12 km)
- Loučeň Chateau labyrinth (5 km)
- Botanicus Historical Village in Ostrá (27 km)
- Folklore Museum in Přerov nad Labem (46 km)
This post is a part commercial collaboration with Chateu Mcely. As compensation, we received one free night in the Suite and the second one at a discounted price. In addition, our whole family had a complimentary three-course dinner and the older girls received spa services. The opinions are our own.