The Kempinski Engelberg is a five-star property that opened in spring 2021. Engelberg is one of Switzerland’s top ski resorts, partly due to the fact that it has some nice slopes, is easily accessible and not quite as far off as other places like Gstaad or Adelboden.
The Kempinski is in easy walking distance from the railway station. You really can’t miss it as you exit from the station. I spent just the one night at the hotel, from Saturday to Sunday, and also had afternoon tea and dinner there.
The public areas of the hotel are somewhat generic, and parts of it look haphazardly put together, with design elements that either don’t always fit or don’t match, such as the horrific plastic faux-palm trees…
The room I stayed was nice though, and I was quite surprised by how large it was. Clearly, they were going for rustic Alpine chic with the design of the room. And mostly I think they succeeded.
The room had a Nespresso machine with four cups, and there was a bottle of water on either side of the bed.
Most importantly, the bed was large, hard and tremendously comfortable.
The bathroom was also quite large and featured a separate bath and shower, as well as a separate toilet. The toiletries were by Salvatore Ferragamo.
And the view from the balcony was stunning.
Where the Kempinski really falls short, in my opinion, is the service and the staff. None of the things they did were really major issues, they just seriously lacked the kind of attention to detail I think a guest should be able to expect from a five-star property.
As I wasn’t sure how busy the hotel would be, I made a reservation for two persons on Saturday afternoon for tea. Only, when we arrived, it became quite apparent that there was no reservation for us, even though it had been confirmed to me by mail. In as much, it wasn’t really such a big deal, because the place was far from busy anyway. However, instead of sorting out the confusion, the staff seemed a lot more preoccupied in trying to figure out what had gone wrong and, more importantly, who they could pin the blame on. And while they tried to figure that out, they just ignored us.
I had also made a reservation for dinner for 19h30. However, the confirmation I received was for 20h00. I have no idea if this was an accident, but again, I would have expected better.
And then dinner was just a mess and honestly not very good. First, one of the waitresses came to ask if we wanted still or sparkling water, to which I responded that we would like sparkling water. I also told here not to bother with the wine menu as we don’t normally drink wine. The wine glasses were not removed and two minutes after she had left, the waitress returned wanting to confirm that we wanted still water.
A short while later she came back to take our order. For the main course, my partner ordered agnolotti filled with ricotta and herbs. A few minutes after we placed our order, the same waitress returned again, wanting to confirm that my partner had ordered the fillet of veal. So again, I explained that he was having the agnolotti. I mean, if the poor woman suffered from such a serious case of short-term memory loss, which didn’t she just write down what we’d ordered?
I ordered a soup to start and fish for the main course. However, the cutlery was not changed for me and it was only when the soup was served that the waiter actually noticed that I didn’t even have a spoon to eat it with. Then, when the main courses arrived, my partner was given a plate of Älplermagrone, which is a Swiss pasta dish with loads of melted cheese and didn’t really look all that appealing. When we pointed out that there had been a mistake, the waiter just wordlessly walked away in a huff and without even as much as an apology – leaving my fish on the table to get cold. And then nothing happened, until eventually the correct dish we had ordered arrived. By this time of course, the fish was cold. It was also very oily and frankly not all that good.
All things considered, I wouldn’t really recommend the Kempinski Engelberg. I think it’s seriously over-rated and over-priced for what you eventually get, and the service was, with all due respect, lousy.