Hello? Herr Kempinski. Are you awake? Have you ever been to the edifice that is called the Kempinski in Ajman, one the less rich United Arab Emirates? The hotel was built in the late 1990s and there isn’t a square inch that has any class or style. Everything about this place was quite shocking - shocking for the UAE, that is, and in a year or so new next-door hotels from Sheraton and Fairmont will probably put an end to the Kempinki’s long phoney reign of being Ajman’s finest. I don’t think Kempinski will care much. Seventy percent of the guests are Russian and they’ll still come here. And also, Kempinski has the uber-luxury Emirates Palace down the road in Abu Dhabi to burnish the brand.
Our room, on the fourth floor, had a good view of the beach. The balcony was small with nasty little chairs and you couldn’t keep the door open and thus get fresh air into the room. The room itself was of adequate size, bright and white, with decent quality fittings and an extremely comfy bed. The bathroom was a big letdown, pokey and dark and with a weird dove grey suite. Overall the room was of the quality you’d expect at an airport hotel at Gatwick.
We had dinner in the main restaurant where they served a mean, penny-pinching buffet for about £40 per person. Just salads and precooked stews. A nasi goreng was 99% rice with a few bits of gristle thrown in. Desserts were slightly better but this was way below the standards you’d expect at this price level. Breakfast the next morning was similarly disappointing and had the atmosphere of a package hotel in communist-era Bulgaria.
The hotel’s own literature promises the finest private beach in the UAE. Well, it is pleasant grey sand but nowadays it’s your typical UAE building site at both ends. When we checked in one of the first things we were told is they don’t let you take a towel for the pool or the beach without handing in some special card and if you lose the card or the towel they fine you £20. Trusting lot, aren’t they?
And then there’s the internet. No wi-fi in the rooms, only in the public areas and the business centre. It was free down there, we were told. Then it wasn’t. Finally someone said the hotel has to pay the Ajman telephone company so they must charge the guest. Apparently £10 an hour. It’s this sort of thing that really marks a hotel down for me. They assume their guests will steal their beach towels and they rip them off for using the internet.
For these reasons alone, this place is an absolute disgrace for the UAE and for Kempinski.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Kempinski Hotel Ajman is situated in the United Arab Emirates right on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, 25 km from Dubai. Offering 180 sea or pool view rooms and boasting a private white sandy beach, which is classed by many as the best private beach in the UAE. Dining options range from traditional Indian and Chinese cuisine, to rustic Italian and themed international buffets. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ajman Kempinski Hotel
- Kempinski Ajman