A “Last Holiday” experience in Karlovy Vary

I have seen a very limited number of Queen Latifah’s movies. But, the ones I have seen are often referenced by the family members I convinced to sit down and watch them with me. I still remember her antics with Steve Martin in Bringing Down the House; I even convinced my grandmother to watch this film after I used Steve Martin as the selling point.

Queen Latifah and Steve Martin in Bringing Down the House.  Image courtesy of cinemablend.com.
Queen Latifah and Steve Martin in
Bringing Down the House.
Image courtesy of cinemablend.com.

But, her film that I have seen more than once and that I still largely remember is Last Holiday. Queen Latifah stars as a woman diagnosed with terminal cancer who decides to spend her life’s savings on travel. It’s only after she spends huge sums of money that she finds out she has been wrongly diagnosed. It’s actually one of the better B-rated films out there.

The reason I bring up Last Holiday is because Queen Latifah decides to travel to the Czech Republic and stay at the Grand Hotel Pupp, a top-rated hotel for the wealthy located in the country’s spa town of Karlovy Vary. The town also happens to host the International Film Festival every year, and celebrities including Robert DeNiro, Keira Knightley, and Scarlett Johannson have stayed at the famous hotel.

Admiring the Grand Hotel Pupp.
Admiring the Grand Hotel Pupp.

Included in my study abroad program was a free day trip to Karlovy Vary, and as someone on a tight student budget, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. I had completely forgotten about the Grand Hotel Pupp’s cameo in Last Holiday until I was standing on the celebrity walk of fame positioned directly in front of the hotel.

In addition to the Grand Hotel Pupp, Karlovy Vary sees many people who are in town to receive the spa treatments supposedly able to help with a variety of medical conditions due to their mineral composition. Visitors to the town are prescribed 3-6 cups per day of a specific type of hot spring water that will treat ailments ranging from metabolic diseases to gastrointestinal problems. Cups are available for purchase that you can then dip into the springs.

Karlovy Vary's largest spring.
Karlovy Vary’s largest spring.
You can find these hot springs all throughout the town, each helping with various ailments.
You can find these hot springs all throughout the town, each helping with various ailments.

During the day trip, we participated in a guided tour through the town, enjoying the sunshine and brightly colored buildings. After the tour, we stopped for drinks at Cafe Pupp attached to the hotel. One delicious Irish coffee later, we hopped on a bus back to Prague.

Enjoying an Irish Coffee at Cafe Pupp.
Enjoying an Irish Coffee at Cafe Pupp.

The springs are Karlovy Vary’s main attraction, so there is a limited number of activities you can do. But, the architecture and gorgeous weather made the free trip worth the time.

Loved the view from one of the many bridges that go across the River Tepla.
Loved the view from one of the many bridges that go across the River Tepla.
My friends and I enjoying the weather in the spa town.
My friends and I enjoying the weather in the spa town.
Mary Magdalena Church was gifted to the town by Austrian archduchess Maria Theresa.
Mary Magdalena Church was gifted to the town by Austrian archduchess Maria Theresa.

Although I wasn’t able to stay at the Grand Hotel Pupp like Queen Latifah, I at least got to stand and admire it from the outside. The free day trip to Karlovy Vary was a welcome adventure outside of my Prague apartment.

-Morgan

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