We stayed two nights in August 2012 at the height of the European tourist season and the hotel was full. Read crowded. A hotel can be full but not feel that way, but here it was very much in evidence. We arrived at 2 PM and had to wait an hour for our room to be ready--not surprising and no big deal. We went to the dining room for lunch and when we asked about reservations for dinner we were told that the entire restaurant was given over to "Latin Night" with an outdoor barbecue and a multi piece band. That left us with no other choice but the other a la carte restaurant which entailed a ten minute walk (in 104 degree temperatures) to an indoor-outdoor seating arrangement overlooking the small stone beach. However, the restaurant itself that evening was superb and the service excellent. As soon as the sun went down a breeze came in and made the evening tropical. A lovely view of the sea and the Slovenian coast added to the charm. We shared a 2 kilo branzino baked in salt which our server filleted after releasing it from its thick salt casket. It was remarkable. He was very knowledgeable about Croatian wines, introducing us to their "orange wine"--a blend of Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc with the must allowed to stay with the grape skins an extra day, giving the wine a distinctly orange hew and a very interesting taste. The experience was so good we made reservations for the following night and were just as pleased with the other choices of fish we had. While the menu had a good selection of meats as well, overlooking the sea it seemed a sin not to go with the fish. The breakfast buffet was extensive with different cuisines, many choices beautifully presented, but like the rest of the hotel, it gave the impression of trying to impress with more rather than with better. Our room was modern and spacious but the multi page room menu offering different scents for the room, different oils for the bath, and two pages of pillows was a little over the top as were the push button open/close drapes, the flush tv in the bathroom mirror and the spa offerings which included a cooling cabinet with tiny ice cubes which we didn't care to try. The poolside was a madhouse of people, many with children, understandable at this time of year, but with no lounges avaiable except two (one broken) next to a kiddie pool. It did not make for a great experience. Nor did the equally crowded conditions at the small beach. One felt as if every last person was being squeezed into the hotel at its peak just for that extra kuna or, more like it, extra hundreds of kunas or so. If a hotel aspires to excellence as the Kempenski chain does (we have stayed in several others which have been top notch) the true test comes when it is fully booked. On that basis THIS Kempenski rates a C at best. The hotel is located in what can only be described as the Croatian hicks and there is no place else to go, even with a private car and that too I suspect ,adds to the attitude problem that seems to exist with the staff. When we checked out we were billed for parking even though we had no car as our registration no doubt would have revealed. Perhaps for the many Russian oligarchs who were there and their trophy wives, this hotel fulfilled their fantasies. There is a quiet and discreet luxury that some of the finest hotels in the world reflect and there is the loud and ostentatious bling that shouts money and wealth. This Kempenski is still ringing in our ears.
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- Also Known As:
- Kempinski Hotel Adriatic Istria Croatia Savudrija