The irony of it all is: Thanks to the privatization of the place, up until a year ago, it had become one of the Prague’s alternative luxury hotels at $300+ a night rooms. Even Tom Cruise stayed there during the filming of Mission Impossible 4, and loved it. And just as the people of the country had began to accept it as a monument to its recent communist history, in early 2013, the hotel was abruptly closed down without explanation, leaving guests with reservations stranded and scrambling for rooms elsewhere. The new owner, Petr Kellner, of PPF, said to be the richest man of the country plans to demolish the hotel and put up in its place an upscale school to be named Open Gate. There has been protests against it, but once again – this time around, not only the power but also talking is the clanging cash.

© Haresh Shah 2014

Illustration: Celia Rose Marks

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Next Friday, February 14, 2013

 THE PEEPING TOMS

If  you’re lucky, it’s only once in a life time that you meet a person quite like Franz Hermann Gomfers, let alone call him your friend.  Here was the man, for whom everyday of his life was a Karneval. Yes, like in Rio. But he would argue it to be the one in Köln. It wouldn’t be fair to compare his parties to that Playboy mansion’s. FHG as we called him, had a style of his own.        

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