GTHQ Jaunt Journal – Hotel: Kempinski Hotel River Park – Bratislava, Slovakia
Location: Dvořákovo nábrežie 7528/6, 811 02 Bratislava, Slovakia; Old city, Castle – 5 min taxi
This is the second time I stay at this location but felt that I was able to more fully enjoy the breadth of offerings. I also brought my wife along (who also benefited from everything including the spa!) and we spent the weekend which gave us time to visit the city. To see my initial review of this property go here. I will be focusing more on the experiences and other features as well as some tips and tricks on Bratislava.
The Plaza View Room was very similar to the room I stayed in last time which was a small upgrade for being a Platinum member. As the name states, it had a view of the plaza. Something of interest for all my German readers J – David Hasselhof was staying here and had a 5 minute meet and greet. I was working and missed him but got a picture of Kit which in my book was always the better half of the duo 😉
A couple points to add from my original post are that the bed is king size with a firm pillowtop and the housekeeping service was quick and efficient.
The Globel Hotel Alliance, which Kempinski is part of, offers a Local Experience after reaching their Platinum and Black levels and whenever you stay for the first time at a new GHA brand once you’ve achieved those levels. We used our Local Experience to try out Slovakian wine. Slovakian wine?! Yes, surprisingly there are some nice Merlot blends and Rieslings. All bottles we sampled were priced between 40-100 Euros, although these prices were most likely a bit inflated since we were in a Kempinski. The sommelier, Rastislav, was initially a bit dry but after a few wine tastings (which he tasted as well) he opened up a bit more.
We had breakfast in the ground floor restaurant and although I mentioned last time that the spread was weak, I’ll have to update and say that it was better than I remembered. Nice small touches like a variety of specialty honeys, good assortment of breads, notes for diabetics and the great service made our morning meals enjoyable. We also tried out the tapas bar with some evening drinks and dessert. The Kempinski dessert of the year was fantastic while their modern fireplace and live piano and jazz music set the mood.
We also had more time to try the spa and fitness facilities and boy did we use them. There are so many machines in the gym that you should not have an issue waiting for equipment to free up. Additionally, we went a combined total of 7 times and at most there were 5 or 6 people. All aerobic equipment is placed with a view of the river and promenade. The indoor pool was surrounded by a good number of various lounge chairs, hanging egg seats, and one sultan bed. There are two whirlpools at 38C with an ice shower and normal showers nearby. We also tested the hammam and sauna where clothes are not allowed. The spa area is spacious enough that we had no issues having to wait to use any of the facilities either.
Both my wife and I had massages while visiting. Although I would say that my Aroma Oil Massage was good but not great, my wife thoroughly enjoyed her Lymphatic Drainage Massage. The staff is very courteous and is always offering water with slices of lemons for all the gym, massage and spa activities.
I believe we only missed out on using the top floor to land our helicopter but that’s fine since I let a friend borrow it 😉
The hotel offers one daily “shuttle” ride in their BMW 740i or Rolls Royce Phantom (the $750,000 model with added options) to various spots in the city which are all about 5-10 minute drives. Any additional usages cost 12 Euros which is very reasonable in my opinion and we took advantage of it. This free perk has since gone away but being that I booked before July 1st we were still entitled to use it. For bookings made after that date, usage of the Rolls will cost 100 Euros per ride – for 5 or 10 minutes that’s not much of a deal! Overall, I reiterate that the price of this Kempinski is good value for the amenities and services provided.
The old city center is definitely worth a visit and has many historical sites including the Castle that’s perched on a hill overlooking the Danube. It’s easy to get lost in the small alleyways and streets in the medieval town center. There are also a number of good restaurants spread out over this area. We tried one called El Gaucho which had excellent tender Argentinian beef and the service was top notch. I ordered the skirt steak which was just perfect – almost as good as the one I had in Argentina a couple of years ago. For a dessert, definitely taste the Marlenka Classic Honey Cake.
The city center is about 10 minutes and the old town is only a short 5 minute taxi ride. Walking to the old town from the hotel is also an option and only takes about 15 minutes. All in all, a long weekend is all that is needed to visit Bratislava but one I recommend doing. Prices are reasonable even in the “lux” area around the Kempinski.
The Good: Spa, Gym and Massage services; Normal Nightly Cost: 258 EUR – My Cost: Company Paid
The Bad: Although the breakfast is better than I remembered, I still expect more options/choice from a Kempinski
The Ugly: Still stand by my original thought: Nothing.