CZECH REPUBLIC – Karlovy Vary, Kaiserbad Spa // Casino Royale (2006)
It has been a noble bath house and a fancy casino. Nowadays, the renaissance modelled “Kaiserbad” in Karlovy Vary is empty – but invites you for its looks none the less.
Why Bond was here
After underworld banker Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) gambled away his clients money, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is to meet him in a high-staked poker tournament in Montenegro. The jackpot is filled with 150 million US-Dollar. Le Chiffre desperately needs to win the cash, whereas 007 wants to finally bankrupt him. Ten players join the game – it is set over several nights in the noble “Casino Royale”.
To visit the “Royale”, change Montenegro to the Czech Republic and change the casino for a spa. It’s chic “Kaiserbad” in Czech town Karlovy Vary, or dubbed “Bad I”, as the locals call it. The Kaiserbad was a 19th century bath house, built in the looks of renaissance grandeur. It is situated next to small river Teplá on the southern end of Karlovy Vary in Mírové náměstí – right next to the Grandhotel Pupp, where Bond resides in the movie.
When coming from Karlovy Varys main bus hub Tržnice, take a left on Doktora Davida Bechera street and then follow along river Teplá. Or take bus No. 2 to the bus stop Lázně I directly next to the Kaiserbad spa. To reach Karlovy Vary from capital Prague, opt for national Student Agency, that offers two hour rides for 160 Czech Crowns.
Good to know
The Kaiserbad had been a bath house for around one century, before actually becoming a casino in the late 1980s. Though from the 19th century, it combined renaissance and baroque elements in its architecture, making it one of the most extravagant pieces of its time in Bohemia. After only some few years as a casino, the Kaiserbad closed in 1994 for public. A bad turn for the building: interiors faded, the façade started to decay.
It could be, that it was just the publicity from 2006’s Casino Royale, that turned the fate for the building. In 2008, the building became government property. The Kaiserbad was turned into a national cultural monument, with officials promising a complete renovation. Nowadays it’s open again for exhibitions and cultural events. Check Karlovy Varys city homepage for current events at the former spa.
When the Kaiserbad was turned into a casino for James Bond, they only used the exterior and the balcony next to the entrance for filming. The actual poker game was set up in the Barrandov studios in Prague. But its worth to enter the impressive lobby anyway – be it just to feel like traveling into the 19th century when passing the revolving door.
© 2015 Huntingbond (1,3), © 2006 United Artists Corporation and Danjaq, LLC (2)