We decided on the Kempinski for a long weekend break to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Driving to the hotel the damage caused by the hurricane in 2004 is very evident with large swathes of land virtually flattened – on the Slovakian side of the Tatras over a third of trees were destroyed.
The hotel is in the small village of Štrbské Pleso looking directly on the beautiful lake and with great mountain views. It actually consists of three separate buildings that have been added over the years: Jánošík (1893), Kriváň (1906) and Hviezdoslav (1923) and currently has 98 rooms. The oldest building, and the one in which we stayed, is called Jánošík – the Slovak equivalent of Robin Hood and a national hero. The current hotel was opened after a €42m refurbishment of the Spa in 2009. The hotel is indeed very grand, but it is the Spa with its uninterrupted view of the mountains and lake that is the real star of the show – a truly wonderful place to spend time and relax. There is a peaceful adults only area, and the facilities and service are truly five star.
The Grand Restaurant lives up to its billing, and the food and service were again superb with a great selection of local and international wines. Although we had opted for a Half Board package, after the first night we came to the conclusion that eating A La Carte was a far better option.
If I had a complaint it would be that you are not always able to experience the wonderful views from the hotel; on one side of the lake and High Tatras, and on the other a spectacular valley. Our Deluxe Suite was spacious and elegant, but had no balcony or views. But the worst crime is that the beautiful terrace of the hotel has been given up entirely as a smoking area, meaning that non-smokers can only enjoy the views by either walking outside the hotel or by visiting the Spa.
Other than this though a great weekend, and cautiously recommended – just remember that The Kempinski is a 5* Hotel, with prices very much to match and there is better value to be had elsewhere in Slovakia