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“Fairytale Palace with service to match...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Dukes' Palace

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Hotel Dukes' Palace
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Prinsenhof 8, Bruges 8000, Belgium (Formerly Kempinski Hotel Dukes' Palace)   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #17 of 101 Hotels in Bruges
Wiltshire, UK
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
“Fairytale Palace with service to match...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012 via mobile

We stayed during the first weekend in December and had travelled to Bruges for the Christmas market. After a delayed flight and rail journey (Bruges is not that easy to get to if your plans don't run to time and the Belgian rail system is nothing short of chaotic) we then waited 40 mins in the pouring rain to get a taxi. My first piece of advice is to book a taxi to pick you up from the station through the hotel to avoid the wait, cost is 7-10 euros.

Thankfully when we arrived at the hotel the staff couldn't have been more welcoming. The room was great with every amenity except tea/coffee which was my only disappointment and the bathroom was fabulous. We had a meal in the bar and a delicious mug of their own homemade gluhwien. After that the dreadful journey evaporated from our minds and we settled in.

The hotel is centrally located just off one of the main shopping streets and is walking distance to all the main attractions. It has a great bar and restaurant and the food is comparable pricewise to other restaurants in the city, all of which were incredibly busy so we went back to the hotel for a more relaxed meal. On our second evening our package included a 3 course dinner and this turned out to be a set menu. I asked to change the main course as I don't like pheasant and this was accommodated with ease and we were served venison instead. I wouldn't have chosen that either but it was very nice.

We also had a private walking tour included in our package and this was fantastic. It lasted 90 minutes which was perfect and took us slightly off the beaten track. If we hadn't done this we would have missed a lot of the wonderful architecture and history of the city. If you don't have this included, ask the hotel reception team to arrange one for you, it will make a big difference to your stay.

Also get recommendations from the lovely receptionists for restaurants, chocolate shops and places to go. They can help you pick out the highlights of Bruges if you don't have a lot of time to explore on your own.

I would certainly return to Bruges but I would consider driving as parking costs at the hotel outweigh the laborious journey from London for sure. There is so much lovely shopping that you can then easily fill the boot of your car without having to carefully cram everything into a suitcase and lug it on and off trains. The Christmas market did not add much to our visit, I thought it only added people with the main city shops being much more interesting. Next time I return, I will be going in January when the crowds have gone and I look forward to enjoying another luxurious stay at the Kempinski Dukes Palace. Thanks for a fabulous stay!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1,026 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (174)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2012

Beautiful hotel in the heart of Bruges. We had a well appointed room with everything you needed. Including Belgian chocolate on arrival. Very comfy bed. Shower wasnt great as the water temp changed very quickly and the pressure wasnt good. Very romantic though and very clean. Friendly hotel staff, receptionist and concierege very helpful.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2012 via mobile

We have just returned from a 4 night stay in this hotel. Having never stayed in a 5* hotel before, I can't compare it to another hotel of its class, however when holding it up against 4* and maybe even 3*, I feel that it fell short in some areas. The positives are its great location and its impressive exterior. I saw non guests taking photos as it really does look beautiful. I also found the room to be very clean and well furnished. The hotel itself has a bit of a strange mix of artwork and I found it to be quite confusing. In some ways, they seemed to be going for an almost antique feel, with 16th Century style paintings and ornate clocks and furniture....with the other end of the spectrum being a modern enormous paint brush light installation, the huge colour splashed Manneken Pis and the strange, quite grotesque animal figures in the garden....but I guess modern art isn't really my thing. I still think they should have picked a style and stuck with it though!
The downsides that I experienced have all been commented on in previous reviews:
- the shower going from scolding hot to cold
- the room being far too hot
- the less than friendly staff who although advised us when we checked in that we should go back to the front desk once we were settled and they would make recommendations for us, when we did this we found that they gave us false information. He then clearly started to feel uncomfortable as he didn't know what he was talking about, so he just recommended that we go back to the station where they have a visitor centre and they would make recommendations....which was a bit disappointing.
In all, I was fairly happy with my stay, and find that there are normally a few niggly things that annoy me a bit whenever I stay at hotels, and I thought a first class 5* hotel would be seamless, but it wasn't.
Oh and 1 last thing, I was either completely scammed by the 5€ per night Bruges Tax or it is completely legitimate....either way it would have been nice to have been informed of this either when I booked or when I checked in, as opposed to coughing up another 20€ when checking out!!!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2012 via mobile

Pleasant suite and public rooms, comfortable bed, below average bathroom for hotel of this class. Drops 2 stars because on the middle day of our 3 day stay, (our anniversary when we had planned a light champagne lunch in the hotel), we were informed that all the hotel's public rooms were closed, to be given over to a conference for local Audi dealers. No prior notice, and a total refusal to offer compensation against the room rate for that day from inflexible management - "you had the room, why should we offer a discount?". Not really the point in a 5 star hotel in our view. Our first trip to a Kempinski, and as a result of this experience, also our last. Service levels generally way behind other luxury hotel groups. Would advise looking elsewhere.

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
west midlands
Top Contributor
110 reviews 110 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2012

We booked a superior room only deal as part of a Eurostar trip. As a result we got a far better price than booking directly with the hotel. The hotel looks great and with lights and Xmas decorations looks like something from a fairy tale. Staff are pleasant although they could do with additional reception points to avoid queues on occasions. The room was comfortable with a large bed, nice bathroom, plenty of storage space and a safe. We had the pool, sauna and steam room to ourselves and these facilities were really enjoyable. Housekeeping was first class.
It's five minutes at most from the market square and as its just off the main road nice and quiet. Would recommend especially as part of a deal which makes it far more affordable.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Farnham, Surrey
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2012

I can fault this hotel in only one thing, which I'll come back to.

Location is excellent, right beside the old town - everything within easy walking distance.

Hotel is beautiful from the moment you set eyes on it, and stays that way throughout. The staff are exceptional and cannot do enough to help. The bar staff are knowledgeable and the bar is well stocked with a really interesting range of drinks. We only had breakfast in the hotel and ate out each night, but the breakfast buffet was wonderful.

The room (superior) was excellent - spacious and beautifully appointed, and the bathroom is the best we've ever had in Europe. Its' more like a Dubai standard bathroom.

Which leads me to my only criticism - the bed(s). Although very very comfortable, we had booked a superior room to get a large king sized bed as it was a special romantic weekend break. Very disappointed to find our "large double" was just 2 singles pushed together! And I mean 2 singles, fully made up as singles, just shoved together. Even a Premier Inn can provide a half decent double bed!

Room Tip: If you want a double bed, make sure you insist on one!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bromley, Kent
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2012

Just got back from a weekend break in Bruges. Beautiful hotel, in the centre of town but nicely tucked away from all the hustle and bustle. The staff were very friendly and attentive, the room was spotless and stylishly decorated. The only downside was that we had asked for a double bed but it was two single beds pushed together, I would've thought that a hotel of this caliber going down this route with the bedding arrangements would've at least had zip together beds and made it up as a superking. It doesn't do much for the romance factor. We didn't eat in the hotel restaurant, as I didn't find their menu very appealing but we had snacks and drinks in the bar, presented just as you would expect in a luxurious hotel. I would definitely return to this hotel again.

Room Tip: We had a standard room in the new wing. It was very spacious.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Dukes' Palace

Address: Prinsenhof 8, Bruges 8000, Belgium (Formerly Kempinski Hotel Dukes' Palace)
Phone Number:
Location: Belgium > Flanders > West Flanders Province > Bruges
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Bruges
#7 Business Hotel in Bruges
#8 Luxury Hotel in Bruges
#15 Romantic Hotel in Bruges
#16 Family Hotel in Bruges
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Dukes' Palace 5*
Number of rooms: 93
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the former 15th-century Prinsenhof Palace and fromer home to the Dukes' of Burgundy, Kempinski Hotel Dukes' Palace is perfectly situated in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage city Bruges. The palace was built in 1430 by Duke Philip the Good for his marriage to Isabella van Portugal. The hotel has 93 rooms including 22 suites of which 6 are heritage listed. All rooms offer elegant furnishing with modern conveniences including individually controlled air-conditioning, plasma TV and high-speed Wireless Internet Access. Restaurant 'Manuscript' is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers a refined Belgian cuisine. Bar Atelier is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail, chilled draft beer or a wide selection of international wines. The glass windows give you a beautiful view of the 3000 sqm garden. During the summer months, the terrace is the place to be in Bruges! The Spa features an indoor swimming pool sauna, steam bath and fitness center. Additionally, a wide range of facial treatments and massages is offered.The hotel is located in the heart of Bruges, just a few minutes from the bustling Market Square, Groeninge Museum and busy shopping streets. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kempinski Hotel Dukes Palace
Kempinski Hotel Bruges

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