Prepare to be immersed in luxury and style as you step into the Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras in Strba Strbske Pleso, Slovakia. From the minute you walk through the rotating glass doors into the opulent and inviting reception hall, to the minute you reluctantly must accept that your time at the hotel has come to an end, the experience at the Kempinski High Tatras will spoil you completely, and in more ways than one.
We have experienced our fair share of luxe accommodations, but nothing quite beats our stay at the Kempinski High Tatras. The property, which consists of three interlinked buildings — the oldest dating from 1894 — maintains its historical charm while integrating lavish elegance into its interior. The beautifully restored handpainted hotel ceilings and the 360-degree view tower (which looks down to the glacial lake, mountains and valley below, and where you can arrange a romantic, private dinner for two) are just two examples of the unique, upscale atmosphere.
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What is particularly special about this hotel is that the pampering is not just reserved for the adults; it also extends to the youngest guests. When we arrived in our rooms, the kids were thrilled to find perfectly sized bathrobes, slippers and a welcome gift for each of them neatly set out on their beds. They immediately embraced the luxurious lifestyle for the rest of the weekend, from swimming in the chandelier-clad pool at the Zion Spa to indulging in afternoon tea at the Lobby Lounge and participating in themed activities at the kids’ club. For families looking to live large in the midst of tremendous natural beauty, the Kempinski High Tatras delivers.
It’s hard to find a room without a spectacular view at the Kempinski High Tatras. Whether you choose a deluxe valley view or lake view room or suite, you are deep in the mountains, so you’ll look upon some phenomenal landscapes no matter which room you choose.
Our family of five (children ages 6, 4 and 2) stayed in connecting deluxe valley view rooms, both with large, spacious balconies. This was the perfect choice, as it allowed us the space we needed to spread out and fully enjoy the amenities. All of the hotel’s 98 rooms and suites offer heated marble floors in the bathrooms, interactive flat-screen TVs, WIFI and truly decadent linens. The hotel provides special toiletries for children, including tear-free shampoo and body lotion, plus bottle warmers and cribs on request.
Breakfast takes place in the Grand Restaurant, and the spread is something to behold. Our children could not get into their bath slippers fast enough to make it downstairs in the mornings, and my husband and I were not far behind. The breakfast buffet and menu has everything you could want, including a pour-it-yourself Champagne bar. To accommodate younger guests, the hotel provides a child-size breakfast bar complete with pancakes, toppings and sparkling juice.
In the afternoons and evenings, the Grand Restaurant transforms into a beautiful and elegant dining hall. Tall ceilings, white tablecloths, candles and a roaring fire give it character and warmth. The restaurant offers international cuisine made with local, seasonal ingredients, and the chef often makes traditional Slovak dishes with a modern twist. We dined on a three-course meal of champignon soup, goose and bread pudding. The hotel’s sommelier kindly assisted us with wine pairings.
You would think there would be little space for kids in such an environment, but that’s not the case: The hotel offers a children’s menu, complete with Disney character pairings, that suit the preferences and taste buds of younger guests. It also offers a play area in the Grand Restaurant so that parents can finish their meals in peace while the kids entertain themselves.
For lunch, afternoon tea at the Lobby Lounge and Bar is the ultimate treat. Guests can enjoy a hot beverage along with trays of macaroons, berries, chocolates and sandwiches while taking in beautiful views of Lake Strbske Pleso and the Tatra Mountains.
No trip to the Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras is complete without a visit to the luxurious Zion Spa, which features a heated indoor swimming pool and whirlpool with unobstructed views of the scenery. A number of the relaxing treatments cater to younger guests (think princess manicures and chocolate massages). The hotel also offers a fitness center, a well-appointed kids’ club with themed activities every evening, and a player’s lounge with chess, pool and reading material. To the delight of most older children, the hotel also offer a Nintendo Wii gaming area.
Depending on the season, there’s a wide range of outdoor activities offered in and around Strbske Pleso. Because of the proximity to Tatra National Park and Lake Strbske Pleso, summers bring spectacular hiking, horseback riding, boating and paragliding. You can even view the majesty of the area from a hot air balloon.
Our family was fortunate enough to visit during Strebske Pleso’s generous ski season, which runs from mid-December through mid-April. The area is ideal for a wide variety of mountain sports, including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and sledding. With nine slopes located less than a mile from the hotel — and a private shuttle that takes you directly there on demand — getting the kids ready to ski is nearly effortless. The hotel will help arrange ski passes as well as admission to the local snow park, where you can snow tube, snow raft and engage in a variety of adrenaline-pumping winter activities sure to please the younger people in your party!
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If it’s culture you seek, head to the nearby Spissky Castle, one of the largest castle complexes in Eastern Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Or visit Belianska Cave, an underground cave in the Tatra Mountains, and have coffee at Cafe Dedo on Slovakia’s second highest peak.
At the Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras, you can choose your own adventure in the lap of luxury. Prepare to be awed by the area’s beauty, immersed in a plethora of fun outdoor activities and pampered beyond belief.
Editor’s Note: Loren was hosted by the Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras in order to review the property. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Loren Braunohler.
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