Djibouti Palace Kempinski

  based on 2 reviews   write a review

Average rate: $347 - Hotel class: 5 stars
Ilot du heron, Djibouti, Djibouti

Djibouti Palace Kempinski Rates and Deals


Djibouti Palace Kempinski Reviews

txaggie txaggie
6 reviews
Djibouti Palace Kempinski, typical tourist trap Feb 22, 2013
I have never really liked staying at the tourist hotels in any country. The Marriots, Sheratons of the world are like MacDonald’s, all cookie cutter images of the same theme. Many people look for sameness in everything they do throughout their life as it represents security. These people travel to a foreign land then stay at the Marriot and spend time at the swimming pool, spa, or in the lobby drinking coffee and return home and talk about visiting the country. My fellow Americans are some of the worst at this, as they talk about how they went to Djibouti yet they stayed at the hotel, went to the Embassy or the US military base, traveled about in a tour bus, and they visited Djibouti…ha ha

The Djibouti Palace Kempinski bases its theme on the country, while offering the perception of amities found in the chains other 5-star hotels; as one would expect in a cookie cutter. The Kempinski’s décor’s opulence is unmatched in all of Djibouti, which of course one must consider the baseline of comparison. With the beauty that is found in a studio set of Universal Studies the Djibouti Palace Kempinski is a similar façade, and the resemblance to a 5-star destination ends.


The Lac Asal Restaurant offers a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The appearance of a grand offering spread of delights is a well design use of architecture to mask its limits. The salad bar is limited to a handful of items, but as these items are duplicated on different sections of the bar the appearance is of a large selection. The hot food section is no more than an industrial mass produced hodge podge of selected non-tasting items.

I prefer to start my day off with a good breakfast, as there are times when this maybe my only meal of the day. Lac Asal Restaurant ranks in my book as the worst on the whole planet for breakfast. They have a custom omelet area where the customer selects what goes into the omelet. Once the items are cooked the eggs are added, and this is where the system collapses. The cook proceeds to burn the bottom of the egg so that what is delivered is a brown crust. As a person who enjoys a properly made omelet this was very disappointing. You maybe asking yourself what I mean, if you don’t know omelets or your one to accept whatever is presented to you. Omelets, as any scrambled eggs, are supposed to be yellow with no brown crust. The crust is reserved for over-easy and similar. Okay, so the guy who doesn’t stay in the hotels for sheep is picky about his eggs? In a 5-star hotel that charges $30 for breakfast, ahhh yes I am, because when the hotel has presented themselves as the best my expectations are high.

Before I go on, which I will, the service personnel are some of the best found in any location. They try to do what the client asks, even if it is not normal. Unfortunately, they have not been taught how to cook properly.

Back to the $30 breakfast experience, as I am a nice guy and I know that most people are sheep and accept whatever ‘grub’ is put on the plate so I took this opportunity to try and teach the cook how to cook a proper omelet. Turn the heat down, and don’t let the egg sit on the pan on one side to long. Unfortunately I failed because the second rendition was just as bad as the first. The cook was not sure what to do with this client. I then found a pan of pre-cooked scrambled eggs, very wet of course as they are most likely the dehydrated variety, and had the omelet made with those. The other items offered were all sub-par. Any breakfast bar at a Holiday Inn beats the $30 breakfast at Lac Asal. I recommend saving your money, go into town and have breakfast at a local restaurant for 1/3 the price.

Because I always give the benefit of the doubt to people and places I tried the normal dinner. After that, being that I am from Texas I tried the Tex-Mex night, which was a major disappointment. For both events I have two words—Bland and Tasteless, all for only $56.77 for all you can eat.

Next I tried the Italian Restaurant. Every body loves Italian, the basic items are really easy to cook, and these have been a staple of Djiboutian cuisine for many years. At the Kempinski a simple pizza is burned; the simple spaghetti is dare I say it bland and tasteless. Once again my recommendation, save your money, go into town and have the same food with better taste for 1/3 the cost.

Okay to add insult to injury I tried the Café Arta Sandwich shop. Simple sandwich, nothing difficult to making a sandwich; two pieces of bread, a slice of meat, a slice of cheese, and maybe some lettuce or tomato. Now you can get fancy and add other items, but the basic sandwich is easy. Not at the Kempinski. The ham and cheese sandwich came with hard stale bread, and there is nothing worse that a sandwich with stale bread. I then tried a chicken sandwich and asked that the bread to be toasted (in order to avoid getting stale bread)…and this is where the fun really started. The staffs, which are terrific, had no clue what this meant. Toast the bread? I explained the whole process of removing the contents of the premade sandwich, cooking the bread on a pan over fire, then putting the cheese on it to melt, and then putting the lettuce and tomato on before serving. This was such a novel concept to the staff, which is strange to me as this is the Kempinski. The mess that was return to me after 15 minutes was microwaved heated bread with the sandwich contents on the side. I then explained the process of toasting the bread once again. Off they went, and 15 minutes later the sandwich was returned. The outside was toasted and the inside was soaking wet, like a wet sponge. I explained that I would not eat that, and was asked if I wanted to take it home…funny people at the Kempinski. I ate some potato chips and went home hungry because I don’t accept low quality.

My recommendation to the Kempinski management is to employ a concept known as Quality Control/Quality Assurance for their food, but this would be based on the assumption that the mangers care.

My recommendation to clients is to save your money and not eat at any restaurant in the Kempinski, unless of course you don’t mind settling for the lowest quality while paying for premium prices.

Front Desk

The front desk staff is very friendly and always attempts to be accommodating. The only problem is that they have no clue on how to do anything that is not within a prescribed box. This applies to both the Djiboutian worker and the French managers. An example of this is when trying to pay for your stay. It is Visa, American Express, or cash, and if you don’t have one of those you are simply S.O.L. You can’t wire funds to their bank, you can’t use mastercard, you can’t pay at another Kempenski to pay for your stay here, your company can’t transfer money, you can’t this and that, and they do not offer any other solutions; don’t forget you are paying $350/night rack or some reduced rate for us military and embassy staff.

The check in process is one of the worst on the planet. Try checking in to a Motel 6, La Quinta, or even the local Djibouti Sheraton, and it takes minutes, not at the Kempinski. I think it is because the client is being evaluated for patience, if you can pass the patience test at the front desk you can endure the other ‘issues’.

Recommendation to the client is avoid the front desk at all costs especially if you are frustrated in anyway before arriving.

Recommendation to the hotel managers is to do more than just walk around looking cute. Evaluate your check in and check out process by simply sitting in the corner and listening. You will learn a lot, and then fix it.


The Kempinski does offer a bit of the Djiboutian experience as the mosquitos can be found in each room of the complex, as well as in the outdoor areas. Try sleeping with mosquitos in the room that are on a search and destroy mission and you are the target. Don’t forget there are incidences of malaria in the country, just a bit of trivia.

I was assaulted by a terrorist bee while walking by the beautiful and abundant bonnavilla plants. Of the whole Kempinski experience in Djibouti, this was probably the only one that I can say I didn’t mind as it was not to be unexpected.

The pool area is very nice. Yeap that is all I can say about that, as large bath tubs are simply not on my scorecard for grading a hotel.

The hotel has fresh roses around the whole complex. This is a great touch of class, and helps explain the $350/night bill. I would rather have a proper omelet and sandwich.

The hotel security is a serious farce. I am not certain how the US Military has vetted this hotel, and accepted it as being ‘safe’. There is no problem walking in with a gun tucked under your shirt, as the metal detector beeps a warning that no one pays attention too. Once again the Universal Studio appearance of security is more important than actual implementation of security measures.


In one respect the experiences I have presented here are actually a representation of the country. This is a country of little and anything that is offered is appreciated and acceptable. The opulence and grandeur of the Djibouti Palace Kempinski outshines any other facility in the country in scope and appearance, but does not meet the bare minimum expectations that it represents.

People who are willing to pay a premium price should have higher expectations than simply settling for whatever is presented. From my observations, people who frequent the Djibouti Palace Kempinski are more accepting of not getting what they paid for in order to have the ‘privilege’ of being seen in the hotel. If you are going to be pretentious at least demand a higher standard.
bigmac993 says:
Good review!
Posted on: Feb 22, 2013
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
nik2blessed nik2bles…
83 reviews
Serenity in Djibouti May 31, 2008
Once again a great place to take you away from Djibouti City, if you need it. I have been to this hotel at least 5x's and every time I go I am out tanning at the coolest pool that over looks the ocean. Count on having a nice tan if you desire, and strong heat throughout your stay. There is a bar in the pool if you desire to drink a nice beverage or non-alcoholic one at that too. You may even order an meal from the servers there as well. Also inside they offer extraordinary of variety cuisines to satisfy your need, and appetite. Pretty penny but beats most meals in Djibouti to me,,so sorry but again what I like.

The rooms are expensive but depending on your motive for your stay...maybe a day, vacation, or even pool usage. It will definitely please your intentions for whatever you need. If you need internet they offer an complimentary free access to the guest that stay there and anytime you have guest come to see you,,,they charge them for even stopping by your room, so they mind as well get a room. The Kempinski gets a little money hungry and enjoys charging for any reason they can it seems. So yeah this would be the only negative review I have for them.
Kempinski Palace Hotel
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy

Djibouti Palace Kempinski Overview

With its central location, Djibouti Palace Kempinski Hotel is within easy reach of most tourist attractions and business addresses in Djibouti. All hotel's guestrooms have all the conveniences expected in a hotel in its class to suit guests' utmost comforts. The guestrooms are equipped with non smoking rooms, air conditioning, bathrobes, daily newspaper, inhouse movies, desk, hair dryer. Hotel facilities offered at this Djibouti accommodation include 24hr room service, shops, casino, elevator, coffee shop, bar/pub, laundry service/dry cleaning. Hotel's guests can experience on-site latest leisure and sports facilities such as massage, pool (kids), jacuzzi, kids club, gym. With elegant facilities and hospitality, guests at this hotel will surely have an impressive stay. For your reservation at the Djibouti Palace Kempinski Hotel Djibouti, please choose your period of stay and fill out our secure online booking form.

Djibouti Palace Kempinski Amenities

  • Business Center
  • Room Service
  • High-speed Internet
  • Fitness Room/Gym
  • Parking
  • Swimming pool
  • Airport shuttle
  • Concierge
  • Valet Parking
  • Tour Desk
  • Elevator / Lift
  • Babysitting / Child Services
  • Air Conditioned
  • Non-Smoking Rooms
  • Tennis Courts
  • Conference Room(s)
  • Currency Exchange
  • Safe-Deposit Box
  • Sauna
  • Mini Bar
  • Cable / Satellite TV
  • Secretarial Service
  • In Room Movies
  • Bath / Hot Tub
  • Porters
  • Wake-up Service
  • Meeting Rooms
  • Coffee / Tea Maker
  • Hair Dryer
  • TV
  • DVD Player
  • Laundry service
  • Casino
  • Shops
  • Excursions
  • Garden
  • Nightclubs
  • Water Activities
  • Fishing
  • Playground
  • Desk
  • Fitness Facilities
  • Internet Connection (wireless)
  • Bathrobes
  • Shower
  • Child Pool
  • Pool Outdoor
  • Coffee Shop/Cafeteria
  • Luggage Storage
  • Shops in Hotel
  • Express Check-In/Check-Out

Check Djibouti Palace Kempinski Rates and Deals

Djibouti Palace Kempinski Map
Value: Location:
Cleanliness: Amenities:
Bed: Bathroom:
4 reviews - $176
photo by: hauteboy