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“Major Problems - stay well clear”

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Hotel Dukes' Palace Bruges
Ranked #13 of 97 Hotels in Bruges
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 August 2011

A bad egg amongst the Kemplinski brand, in desperate need of a management overhaul.

Let me be very clear: I am perfectly happy to pay good money for a quality product. Having stayed at some of the top UK hotels I know what to expect.

However, the Kemplinski Hotel in Bruges charges a high price for a very poor experience.
In fact the one experience no one wants at a hotel: lack of good sleep.

It is a badly run hotel and if you stay here it is very likely to spoil your holiday. The hotel is clearly taking advantage of the ‘more mature’ American and British tourists who are blowing their life savings on their dream European trip. It is over-charging guests for basic services that should be included as standard and does not provide good value for money.

It is also advertising and selling rooms with the inaccurate description of ‘air conditioned’ when in fact the air conditioning is well below standard.

I will now tell you precisely why you shouldn’t book this hotel.

1. WiFi Internet Charges - in 2011, I do not expect to pay for WiFi in a hotel of this quality and room price (€200+). On arrival, I was not aware of the fact that the WiFi is charged at €25 per day and attempted to log on. Met with a request for payment I phoned reception to explain that I wasn’t able to access the wireless network, at this point thinking that I was not doing it correctly. The receptionist told me that this was not a problem, simply use your surname and room number. After a second attempt, I eventually went down to reception and could not believe my ears when the receptionist told me that it would cost €25 per day! Unbelievable. I was actually speechless. Another receptionist called Christian then intervened to tell me that if I became a loyalty club member then he would take the internet charges off the room bill. Although this was helpful I still find it entirely unacceptable that a hotel of this supposed standard and moreover, high room price, should then charge guests to use the internet. Unfortunately, Christian, the young male receptionist, also had an air of supremacy and arrogance about him, as he smugly told me that ‘hotels in Brussels charge for WiFI, you know’. This attitude towards my entirely polite question left a sour taste for the remainder of the evening. I actually tried to avoid seeing this member of staff again as he certainly gave off a negative vibe towards guests.

2. Air Conditioning Failure - it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that due to the geography of the Low Countries there is a very considerable mosquito problem. This requires windows to be shut at night to prevent being literally eaten alive. Having shut the window in the early evening (7pm approx.) and set the air conditioning to its full cooling setting, we then awoke at 1am because of very high temperatures in the room. The air conditioning clearly doesn’t work well, if at all. The corridor outside the room was cool, as was the air outside. I therefore telephoned reception to inform them of the problem but declined any engineer coming into the room as we were trying our best to sleep (prior to a long journey the next day). The receptionist said that he would inform the staff in the morning. In order to sleep we therefore had to leave the window open that meant that both of us were bitten very badly throughout the night. We did not sleep well at all.

In the morning, when checking out, Christian was asked to take over when we appeared at the desk. We were given very dismissive treatment, he said that (a) his engineer’s print out showed that we requested 22 degrees and the room was 23 degrees and (b) it was our fault for opening the window. These comments made absolutely no sense whatsoever. The corridor and outside ambient temperatures were cool, so why would the AC retain the room at a higher temperature? Secondly, I opened the window after several hours, as it was the only solution to the problem. Christian simply would not accept that there is a problem with the AC.

However, since arriving home, it has quickly become apparent that I am not the first person to suffer from this problem and in fact, numerous guests prior to me have commented on this problem with the hotel. Armed with this information and indisputable evidence, I will now be pursuing a refund claim.

Christian did reluctanty give us a €30 reduction in the car parking fee as a gesture.

3. Car Parking – the hotel charges an extortionate fee for car parking, €30 per 24 hours. This is disgraceful and does not compare well with neighbouring hotels which are charging €15 for very similar parking arrangements.

4. Noise – apart from the poor air conditioning, we were also kept awake throughout the night by the sound of heavy footsteps on the floor above. Also, at some point in the early morning, a water pipe began to make a loud noise of running water.

I will now be spending my own time pursuing a refund since I was unable to resolve this matter on the premises and had no option but to pay and leave. I felt that the staff forced me into paying for this inadequate stay by using a delaying strategy. I had to leave otherwise I would have missed my Eurotunnel booking.

A very poor and disappointing experience. Stay well clear until they’ve sorted this mess out.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank bhwh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,648 - 1,654 of 2,729 reviews

Reviewed 27 July 2011

We stayed her for 2 nights in early April. As a better suite was available we were upgraded, it was an amazing stay from the moment we arrived. Simply perfect. Great service at check in, they couldn't be more helpful. Everything we wanted was provided with ease, speed and with a smile. The hotel is literally seconds from the main Bruges attractions and popular areas. Couldn't fault the place in anyway.

  • Stayed: April 2011
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Thank zhCJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2011

Lovely hotel, ideally located within walking distance of all of the shops and belfry tower. Breakfast superb. Would highly recommend

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank louisehooley2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2011

Stayed here for just one night to test it on a business trip to Bruges. Reception was unfriendly, there were no towels in the room, and the internet reception was very sketchy. I don´t usually stay in these kinds of overpriced hotels unless invited by other people (haha) but I have had the occasion of staying at several other Kempinski hotels in Africa and Europe, and this has been the worst experience ever. The breakfast was okay (well it had better be so for over 400€ per night) but the overall attitude of staff was "je m´en fou". If this is the future of hotels, I´d rather stick with the past. No five star quality at all.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled solo
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6  Thank vandenbruane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 July 2011

A beautiful hotel in a beautiful town, but I was left disappointed after a few negatives sullied the experience. I specially requested and booked a deluxe room with a double bed, but on arrival I was put into a twin with really narrow single beds. First impression was that the room smelt of wet towels. I was informed that my luggage would be sent to my room but after heading to my room 2 hours after check in, I had to collect and carry my own bags to my room. To top off the less than 5 star experience, the paper thin Walls meant I had to listen to the couple next door in their throws of passion in the middle of the night. The wireless Internet was sketchy in it's coverage and I found myself having to find a spot in th room where it worked. I have stayed in at least two 4 star hotels in the past month that beat this hotel hands down on getting the basics right. I travel to Bruges regularly, and am unlikely to spend top dollar on less than 5 star experience, and will in future chose one of the 4 star hotels in the vicinity at which I have experienced a better all round service.

On the positive front, the garden/porch is a stunning setting for drinks. The front desk is manned by helpful/friendly staff. The common areas are beautifully furnished, and the architecture is straight from a fairy tale. The spa services appear to be of highest quality although I didn't get chance to sample any of them.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank MWebster67885
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2011

Nice hotel in excellent location, lousy and overpirced service

Room Tip: Main buiding upper floors
  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled on business
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Thank yannis64gr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2011

A wonderful short break. Staff excellent in all departments. Room stunning. Location fantastic. Will definitely be coming back.

  • Stayed: July 2011
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Thank JB151
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 Bruges

Address: Prinsenhof 8, Bruges 8000, Belgium (Formerly Kempinski Hotel Dukes' Palace)
Region: Belgium > Flanders > West Flanders Province > Bruges
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Bruges
#3 Business Hotel in Bruges
#8 Luxury Hotel in Bruges
#11 Family Hotel in Bruges
#14 Romantic Hotel in Bruges
Price Range: £134 - £387 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Dukes' Palace Bruges 5*
Number of rooms: 110
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Dukes' Palace, former residence of the Burgundian aristocracy, is the perfect location in the heart of UNESCO World Heritage city of Bruges. The 110 rooms, of which 18 suites and 5 family rooms, are all unique and combine contemporary comfort with authentic elegance of the 15th century. The 3000 m² garden, the terrace, the bar and beautiful lounges are the ideal place to enjoy. You can relax in The Spa with sauna, hammam and gym. The hotel also features a spacious garage. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kempinski Hotel Dukes Palace
Kempinski Hotel Bruges

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