The first written mention of the building in which Café and Hotel Imperial are now located dates back to 1383. It was an ordinary building where there was nothing of interest to see. The building burned down in 1648 and nothing was done with it until the 1730s when the building was renovated and converted into the inn U černého orla.
The building was demolished in 1912 and the plot was acquired by the brothers Jan and Alois Kolář, who decided to build a luxury hotel here.
The reason for this was the strategic position and superb ground plan. They called in the architect Jaroslav Benedikt and in two years’ time, a luxury 7-floor hotel was built using his plans in a geometric Art Nouveau style. The unique ceramic tiles designed by Josef Drahoňovský, the mosaic ceiling and the decorations on the walls also date back to this time.
Hotel Imperial was very popular among the Czech elite and famous personalities of the time. The first present of Czechoslovakia Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the writer Franz Kafka and the musical composer Leoš Janáček were patrons. The hotel offered its guests 180 rooms of various categories, suites, lounges, a restaurant, a café and later even a wine bar.
After the occupation of Prague by the German army, from 1939 onwards, the Czech clientele was replaced by German soldiers and officers and in 1948 Hotel Imperial became a hotel of the Revolutionary Trade Union Movement. It was therefore closed to regular visitors. After the Velvet Revolution, this unique hotel, which was relatively shabby at that time, was used as a cheap hostel for manual labourers.
A decision was made to renovate the building in 2001, work which was performed by Metrostav in collaboration with the academically trained sculptor Vojtěch Pařík. Pařík is an expert in restoration of interior ceramics which there were a lot of in the building. Thanks to this renovation work which took place from 2005 until 2007, patrons of the luxurious premises of Café Imperial can nowadays admire the wonderful Art Nouveau decoration on the walls and the ceiling, look out onto the streets through large windows and experience the unique “genius loci” from the time of the First Republic.
The hotel is currently rented by the Czech company Special Tours Prague and the café has been rented out to Zdeněk Pohlreich. This means that superb gourmet experiences are guaranteed in the form of delicious meals enhanced by this unique and luxurious atmosphere.