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					Prague Accommodation
M athias S chwe n d e r
                  BIO
                                  Our st
                               Ou r stor y
Prague, Czech Republic – He juggles (literally and figuratively…oranges and hostels). He makes balloon art (specializing in
the poodle). He’s passionate about antique-collecting. He grew up in a small village on a goat farm. To use the word “eclec-
tic” when describing Mathias Schwender is almost an understatement. Majoring in Theology, and tackling careers in
juggling, clowning around (he was actually a clown!), nursing, and now as an entrepreneur…he certainly does wear many
hats. And he wears them well.

With an eye for antiques and a knack for hosting, Schwender came to Prague with hopes of opening a hostel to fill a void
when he “saw there wasn’t a welcoming or inviting hostel,” wondering what his future actually held. His wonderment was
answered when he received a phone call from his brother, Tobias (hence the name ‘Sir Toby’s), who stumbled upon a house
filled with tenants of all shapes and sizes.

Not only did his future hold a bit of a hostel empire in Prague, but – more importantly – a beautiful wife named Carrie
(whom he met at Sir Toby’s). Now, ten years later, Sir Toby’s boasts seven floors and over 100 beds. It has become a home-
away-from-home for thousands of backpackers from around the world. And it doesn’t end there. The history of the
“Schwender Empire” is best told through a juggling act…

At a recent staff party, Schwender shared the history of the hostel the best way he knew how…with oranges. Starting with
one orange, he told a story of humble beginnings and very few guests at Sir Toby’s, in which he sat alone on the 4th of July
1999 at the bottom of the stairwell with 10 empty beds and 0 backpackers for one week. Soon enough the light bulb went
off and he boarded a train bound for Prague’s central station. Up and down the rows of seats he handed out flyers to poten-
tial backpackers. Four English guys showed up and the hostel has not been the same since.

In 2004, he decided to travel further down the path less traveled; opening Prague’s first boutique budget property, Miss
Sophie’s…and another orange was added to the mix. But why stop with two? Two is easy in the game of juggling. So, in
2006, Schwender partnered with New York native and friend, Chris Syvertsen to open Prague’s first designer hostel, housed
in a beautifully restored 19th century building…and yet another orange was added. Now things started to get interesting.

“That was fun…but not challenging enough…” he explained, as he added another orange to the previous three and told a
tale about meeting a couple of driven college students back in ‘05, hailing from South Carolina, with a big dream to open a
hostel in Prague. Daniel Park and David Baker partnered with Syvertsen and Schwender, transforming this dream into a
reality with the opening of Mosaic House in early 2010. This property will be a new breed of accommodation for a whopping
(nearly) 300 travelers, featuring a state-of-the-art renovation, a strong green offering (not just faux-green like the other
guys), theatre bar, restaurant and so much more. And the juggling performance has proven to be more exciting with four
oranges!

What tempts travelers to stay at these properties is the unparalleled customer service, good people (As Schwender says,
“This is the most important asset we have.”), unique atmosphere where guests are able to both relax and have fun,
stylishly-appointed décor, surprisingly gorgeous bathrooms (Mathias is partial to nicely-designed bathrooms). These are
the things that keep people coming back, and have turned the heads of major publications such as the New York Times, El
Pais, Washington Post, Let’s Go, Lonely Planet, Routard, Elle, and Glamour.

As if this is not enough, mumblings of a hostel in Ghana have been floating around. But don’t let me fool you…Schwender
doesn’t like all of this attention (and he does not endorse the term “Schwender Empire”). He’s quick to note that none of this
would have been a reality if it weren’t for the generous assistance from friends, family and complete strangers. In the wise
words of Ursula K. Le Guin, "It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end." When
you journey, you begin to realize the real work must begin in you, and the real respect must flow outward to the people
along the way.


contac t M egan Harrod, Press Liaison / Francouzsk á 76, 101 00 Prague 10 / megan@bohemianhostels.com / phone + 420 246 008 324
w w w. s ir to bys.com / w w w.m iss- so p h ies.co m / w w w.c zech - i n n . co m / w w w. mo s a i c h o u s e. co m
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