The finest hotel in Europe….Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras

This summer, The Birmingham Gazette set out to find a truly magical holiday destination. With the Romance of Venice, the majesty of the Alps and the honest, authentic rural charm of Slovakia’s High Tatras we found all this and more at the Grand Hotel Kempinski.  5* luxury in the clouds truly isn’t an understatement. 

Too often, 5* accommodation in Old Europe is noted for being too stuffy or too old to boast about the ‘quaint, antique interiors’ which truthfully do little more than gather dust.  Many well known 5* residencies gained their reputation too long ago to still hold their merit of a 5* accolade. Not so in the Kempinski however.

To begin our journey we arrived in Bratislava and spent the first night at the modern and comfortable Radisson Blu in the heart of the capital. The next day our Hertz representative arrived as promised at the hotel doors with our car for the week, a brand new silver VW Golf.

As soon as we managed to make our way through the bustling capital we were out on the country roads and after a stunning 3-4 hour drive we reached the Tatra mountains. Since 1897 the hotels owners have travelled the world seeking out the most intriguing, inspiring and exciting locations to enchant their guests.

Naturally stylish, sometimes daring each Kempinski hotel and resort exudes elegant individuality and reflects the colour and customs of its location. High Tatras is no exception. When you’re just a few minutes away after navigating the stunning mountain roads and slopes and you notice the Kempinski sign – you simply know you’re just a few metres away from the destination of your dreams. The anticipation was intense.

A quaint cobbled road sits at the side of the hotel with the front of the hotel facing the valleys below and the other, towards the most beautiful lake in the whole of Europe.

On the banks of the lake in Strbske Pleso, the highest village in the High Tatras, you’ve got five-star views as well as five-star luxury inside the candy-painted turreted hotel – snow-capped mountains, forests of pine trees and fairytale-style wooden cabins dotted around the water, which freezes completely in the winter.

Inside, the rooms promise all the mod cons you might want – the pillows redefine the term comfortable, and demand you sink into them rather than simply lying back on them. The beds are equally cosy, and there’s window-side armchairs if you don’t trust yourself to stay awake on the bed.

After tackling the great outdoors, the bathroom has rainhead showers and an enormous bath to relax into but if that’s not enough, there’s a huge spa downstairs, with pool, relaxation room and a string of thermal experiences, including sauna, steam room, plunge pool and a foot-pampering series of pools at alternating hot and cold temperatures.

It has been designed by architect Peter Černo of Černo+Architekten, Munich with interiors by Living Consulting Group AB, Sweden. Zuzana Cambelova of Cadé Design has designed the wellness & spa area and public areas.

The hotel is located 1,351 metres above sea level with The High Tatras Mountains being the natural border between Poland and Slovakia, forming the central, highest and most beautiful section of the Carpathian mountain range.

The lovingly restored heritage building consists of three interlinking parts. The architecture of the historic building, a former famous Grand hotel built in 1906, is stunningly romantic with its turrets and latticed windows. The 98 spacious rooms and suites in contemporary design all offer views either over the alpine lake, the mountains or the valley. Some feature private winter gardens.

The 1,300 sqm Wellness & Spa is a further highlight, offering a variety of Thalgo and Terrake facial and body treatments. Facilities include several saunas, themed showers, a private VIP spa suite, seven treatment rooms, and a Vitamin Bar. Indoor pools with views over the lake and mountains bring the natural environment into the spa. The spa’s interior design has crystal chandeliers and designer furniture throughout.

Our tour guide around the hotel, which lasted an incredible two hours was one of the expert concierge. The hotel owners have an almost obsessive understanding of true luxury, with their attention to detail like nothing we had seen before. The walls are not simply clad in quality papers but they have taken the next step and sought the finest cashmere wall coverings with silk surrounds and Italian leathers in warm shades of sand, gold and autumn reds to give the eye a sense of calm. A stunning players lounge allows guests to enjoy a book, a game of chess or pool while their loved ones enjoy the famous ZION spa down below.

The bathroom is yet another treat, complete with towelling robes, body creams, shampoos and soaps. Not only is there a generously sized bath tub in each room but there is also a walk in shower / wet room to allow the utmost comfort and pampering.

There are a huge variety of rooms at the hotel ranging from your standard doubles, to junior apartments and even a breathtaking presidential suite catering for just about every type of guest imaginable. For more information or to make a reservation visit the Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras website

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