We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“This used to be my favorite” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Sofia Hotel Balkan

Best prices for your stay
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 6 more sites!
Save
You added Sofia Hotel Balkan to your Saves list
Sofia Hotel Balkan
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   5 Sveta Nedelya Square, Sofia 1000, Bulgaria   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #25 of 124 Hotels in Sofia
USA
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“This used to be my favorite”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2012

This used to be my favorite hotel in Eastern Europe.

In the '90s, it was run by an Austrian manager, the staff was attentive and polite, everything was spick and span.

Later, a Greek management company, Classical Hotels, took over and things have slowly deteriorated.

A while back, they introduced a casino, which every year seems to take more of what used to be a grand first floor. Combined with the glass addition built at the front of the hotel a few years ago to house a couple of third-tier stores, it gives off a somewhat tacky appearance.

The rooms were refurbished and while generally made smaller, are still overall nicely done and comfortable.

The hotel used to have a fabulous breakfast, but the breakfast area has now been pushed by the casino into a much smaller area, which looks rather dingy. The variety has been greatly reduced and most of the food is inedible -- omelets are greasy and cold, the fruit looks like it's been sitting there for a day. The "chef" who is supposed to take special orders hides in the kitchen and apparently does not know a word of English. You are really better off having breakfast somewhere else.

Before the new management, the staff was generally young, energetic, fluent in English and extremely helpful.

Since then, things have been getting worse and now the staff is more on the glum and lethargic side. There are a few burly guys milling around front and the lobby, talking on their cell phones. While one of them may ask if you need help with your roller luggage, if you say "No," they will look away and let you struggle with the two sets of doors by yourself. Housekeeping seems sweet, but there was a chewing gum stuck in the corner of the tray in the room and for some reason in the last few years there has always been one robe in the room, instead of two (I assume it's a new policy). The rest of the staff is generally polite, but the sense is more "cafeteria" polite than "grand hotel" polite.

Then there are the parking "attendants." Unkempt and outright rude, they have perfected the trick of taking your money and instead of returning whatever change is required, simply walking back and opening the barrier so you have to drive out. Without your change and without a "thank you," or at least a smile.

It's still a great location and the rooms are overall still nice, so I would still recommend it, if you get a bargain.

But it pains me to see this once great Eastern European hotel sink to this level.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMSheratonSofia, General Manager at Sofia Hotel Balkan, responded to this review, September 19, 2012
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you, for sharing with us your thoughts about the services and facilities experienced during your stay at the Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan. Your valuable comments will contribute to our Team’s on going efforts to monitor and improve our service standards and help us in our continuous search for excellence.

I would like also to extend my sincere apologies for the shortcomings and unresponsiveness of our services.

In reference with your comments about our services such as the bad conditions during the breakfast I would like to assure you that I have taken notes and addressed the mentioned issues to the all concerned departments for immediate reaction and would make sure the special attention is paid.

We are thankful that you chose to stay with us, and assure you that we will continue to do our utmost to meet and excuse your expectations. As such we would be delighted to welcome you back to Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan, which is meeting high quality standards and recently awarded like the Franchise Hotel of the Year 2011 from Starwood for Europe, Africa and Middle East, next time your travels bring you to Sofia and I would like to meet you personally.

Sincerely Yours,

Athanasios Pantazis
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

552 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    182
    214
    112
    34
    10
See reviews for
29
88
60
286
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (80)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Croydon
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

This was our second visit here and we highly recommend this hotel. Staff friendly and polite. Good cooked breakfast with pastries being exceptional. We stayed in a executive room and had use of executive lounge on the 2nd floor which was a bonus as I could not walk much due to injury. The lounge has a smaller breakfast buffet and evening snacks and canopies, but its well worth the small extra charge for an executive room.

A special praise must go to Elena who worked in the lounge who was most courteous and informative. Have been to other 5 star hotels in Sofia, but the Sheraton has the best location and staff. My wife and I come to Sofia regularly and we will definitely be using this hotel again.

Room Tip: Rooms at the front of the hotel have the sun in the afternoon, plus some have balconies.
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMSheratonSofia, General Manager at Sofia Hotel Balkan, responded to this review, September 13, 2012
Dear Valued Guest,

I would like to thank you, for sharing with us your thoughts about the services and facilities experienced during your stay at the Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan.

I am very pleased to see that you have enjoyed your stay with us and that members of our staff have fulfilled your expectations. Thank you for finding the time to also compliment our associate Ms. Elena and be sure that we will pass your comments to her.

It is through responses like yours that we can evaluate our services and I thank you once more.

I look forward to welcome you again and meet you personally hopefully in the very near future

Sincerely Yours,

Athanasios Pantazis
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

We stayed 2 days in the hotel and enjoyed the experience. While it was an older building it certainly didnt feel like it on the interior. We enjoyed the varied refreshments throughout the day in the executive lounge. Breakfast was a good mix for all tastes.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMSheratonSofia, General Manager at Sofia Hotel Balkan, responded to this review, September 13, 2012
Dear Valued Guest,

I would like to sincerely thank you for sharing your positive thoughts and feelings regarding your memorable stay at the Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan.

I am very pleased to see that you have enjoyed your stay with us and that members of our staff have fulfilled your expectations.

It is through responses like yours that we can evaluate our services and I thank you once more.

I look forward to welcome you again and meet you personally, hopefully in the very near future

Sincerely Yours,

Athanasios Pantazis
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Utopia, Texas
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2012

We spent five nights at the Sofia Sheraton in late August while attending a conference.

Pros
- FANTASTIC location.

- Breakfast exceeded expectations. Freshly made cappucinos were generally good and were promptly made and served even during the busiest breakfast periods. Breakfast staff is extremely pleasant, polite and efficient and receives a big thumbs up. The only downside was the bircher muesli which included soggy cornflakes rather than muesli proper, and the stale/frozen bread (which was however fine for toast).

- Solid marble staircase and classic furnishing in lobby and guest areas.

- Complimentary mineral water and chocolates with turn down service.

- The bar fridge was a roomy, older model, so it was possible to buy and refrigerate food. For info, here is a good supermarket located in the TZUM Central Department Store (1 minute walk from hotel) that is open seven days a week until 22:00.

- When it wasn't experiencing intermittent server problems, the internet connection was fast and without download/upload restrictions.

- The reception staff was generally very pleasant and helpful.

- Good selection of English language cable channels.

- Excellent air conditioning (in room control).

- All staff spoke decent English.

Cons
- There are firm mattresses, and then there a cheap mattresses with unpadded springs that result in aches and a stiff back. The mattresses in the hotel’s classic rooms are completely unacceptable for a five star hotel - let alone one belong to the Starwood group with its generally excellent reputation for 'heavenly beds'. Flopping on to one's bed after a long day could well result in a sprained coccyx! This really isn't a joke. An average three star Holiday Inn puts the Sofia Sheraton to shame in this regard. This complaint was repeated by a number of conference guests during our five night stay. Mattresses in executive rooms are only marginally better.

- Super inflated room service prices - approx 18 EURO for a club sandwich –as compared to similar five star hotels in Bulgaria and the Balkans generally. For the same price, it's possible to take a five minute walk to a decent restaurant near the hotel and have a very good three course meal+glass of wine+tip, and still have change to spare.

- No in-room tea or coffee making facilities; this might be acceptable if tea/coffee from room service wasn't charged at the astronomical price of 6 EURO!! To put this in perspective, exceptionally good tea from the award winning tea menu at the Langham Hotel in London comes in at a lower price.

- Business centre facilities very poor. Two computers squirreled away in a tiny room at the bottom of the hotel; due to a laptop problem I needed to briefly use Microsoft Word and was told that I would need to pay for the privilege. Local radio being played from a sound system in the small space did not aid concentration...

- NOISE! At all costs, avoid staying in the executive level rooms in the left wing on the first floor, i.e. those located next to the hotel ballroom and guest lavatories. We were subjected to wedding parties on two consecutive nights and had to deal with raucous music and wedding guests wandering around the corridors until the early hours of the morning. Despite a letter informing us of the weddings and offering a room change, our request to do so was handled poorly by a rude female member of staff who made her annoyance at having to do so very clear. The obvious solution would be to assign these rooms to wedding guests partaking in the merriment rather than business travellers, but apparently not...

Upon being moved to a new room on the third floor (facing the TZUM department store and 6th century church and surrounding mosaic town square) the problem continued. Despite double glazing, traffic noise is considerable. Additionally, one day there was an all day concert held in the square lasting from midday until approx 22:00 and was so loud as to make the room windows and walls reverberate. Some of the music was thoroughly enjoyable and the concert would have been fabulous to attend; however for non-leisure travellers saddled with work obligations, it was a pain in the butt. Which leads me to...

- Business centre facilities are very poor. Two computers squirreled away in a tiny room at the bottom of the hotel; no space to use a laptop. I was told that I would need to pay to briefly use Microsoft Word on one of the provided terminals. Local radio being played from a sound system in the small space did not aid concentration...

- One particularly rude night doorman whose only interest was in visibly nouveau riche Russians and scantily clad young women. At one point he actually closed a door directly in another guest's face and then offered no apology.

- Wilting floral arrangements throughout the hotel somewhat depressing.

- Shower/bath in classic rooms does not have glass door but rather a less than pristine shower curtain which blocks out most light and quickly becomes wet. Shower/bath did not drain. Water had to be left running for a number of minutes before becoming hot.

- Cleaning was haphazard, despite leaving generous daily tips for housekeeping staff. Used glasses were removed but not replaced, little evidence of vacuuming/dusting (would have been appreciated at some point during five night stay). However overall acceptable and generally clean.

- The different treatment metered out by staff depending on guest clothing is rather quaint. Received a considerably different reception from staff when dressed in formal business wear compared to smart casual...

- Be aware that an upfront amount for full room cost plus 50 EURO for every night of stay is held against guest’s credit card upon check-in. In this case approx 850 EURO; 250 EURO of which was to supposedly cover any mini-bar costs. Rather over the top!

Despite the cons, I would still recommend the Sheraton as a pleasant place to stay in Sofia; especially if travelling for pleasure. This would have been a four star review were it not for the mattress issue.

Regardless of where you stay, Sofia itself is a fantastic, friendly, lively city. Try to pay a visit to the National Gallery of Art and the National Ethnographic Museum (the traditional Bulgarian folk costumes are fascinating!) – both housed in the same building.

Room Tip: If you don't like noise, avoid staying in the rooms in the left wing on the first floor, i.e. t...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMSheratonSofia, General Manager at Sofia Hotel Balkan, responded to this review, September 10, 2012
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you, for sharing with us your thoughts about the services and facilities experienced during your stay at the Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan. Your valuable comments will contribute to our team’s on going efforts to monitor and improve our service standards and help us in our continuous search for excellence.

I am very pleased to see that you have enjoyed your stay with us and members of our staff have fulfilled your expectations.

In reference with your comments about our room, business center, housekeeping, night doorman, I would like to assure you that I have taken notes and addressed the mentioned issues to the all concerned departments for immediate reaction and would make sure the special attention is paid.

It is through responses like yours that we can evaluate our services and I thank you once more.

I look forward to welcome you again and meet you personally at Sheraton Sofia, hopefully in the very near future.

Sincerely Yours,

Athanasios Pantazis
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Top Contributor
179 reviews 179 reviews
127 hotel reviews
Reviews in 70 cities Reviews in 70 cities
418 helpful votes 418 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2012

The hotel is located right in the centre of Sofia, accessible to all major attractions on foot. The building was a bit old but the renovated rooms on high floors are nice.The Executive lounge is quiet and offers nice snacks in the evening and a variety of drinks which could serve as a light dinner as well.The bellboy is extremely friendly, and overall the service is good. Try also the museum club restaurant at the museum nearby - trendy, tasty and good value for money.

Room Tip: Executive Room on high floor
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMSheratonSofia, General Manager at Sofia Hotel Balkan, responded to this review, September 4, 2012
Dear Valued Guest,

May I thank you, for sharing with us your thoughts about the services and facilities experienced during your stay at the Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan.

I am very pleased to see that you have enjoyed your stay with us and members of our staff have fulfilled your expectations.

It is through responses like yours that we can evaluate our services and I thank you once more.

I look forward to welcome you again and meet you personally at the Sheraton Sofia, hopefully in the very near future

Sincerely Yours,

General Manager
Athanasios Pantazis
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mexico City, Mexico
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2012

Formerly the hotel was a state building, so, imagine the luxury of the hotel, the rooms are so big and comfortable, the Heavenly Beds are my new best thing ever! i loved it.

It has a nightclub, wich i woulded go but i couldnt know it, when you go to the casino, please look at the dealers, they are gorgeous!.

Pros.
Very luxurious, Space on the room, casino, location, art gallery, breakfast.
Cons.
Sofia people are not friendly.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMSheratonSofia, General Manager at Sofia Hotel Balkan, responded to this review, September 4, 2012
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for posting your comments through Trip Advisor regarding your recent stay with us. We do appreciate your comments, as our customers opinion is
most important for us.

I hope that I will have the pleasure to welcome you again and meet you personally
at the Sheraton Hotel.

Sincerely Yours,

General Manager
Athanasios Pantazis
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
norfolk
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2012

We have just spent the night at the Sheraton in Sofia, we stay I this hotel when we wish to stay in Sofia overnight. We find it a very good central hotel, rooms very quiet, good double glazing and good air conditioning. We had a very peaceful night. Breakfast is pretty good for a bulgarian hotel, pretty westernised, and no real complaints. One tip is that there is a very good garage just down the road on the right( not the first one but the second) where you can park your car overnight for 18 leva, to park outside the hotel it is around 40 euros!!!!
we had a room one grade up from the bog standard, and we had robes, water, turn down etc.

Room Tip: As above! Choose one grade above the bog standard rooms
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMSheratonSofia, General Manager at Sofia Hotel Balkan, responded to this review, September 4, 2012
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for posting your comments through Trip Advisor regarding your recent stay with us.

I am very pleased to see that you have enjoyed your stay with us as we fulfilled your expectations. It is through comments like yours that we evaluate our services and I thank you once more for your invaluable input.

I hope that I will have the pleasure to welcome you again and meet you personally
at the Sheraton Hotel in the very near future.


Sincerely Yours,

General Manager
Athanasios Pantazis
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Sofia Hotel Balkan? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Sofia Hotel Balkan

Address: 5 Sveta Nedelya Square, Sofia 1000, Bulgaria
Location: Bulgaria > Sofia Region > Sofia
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Casino Hotel in Sofia
#6 Family Hotel in Sofia
#19 Luxury Hotel in Sofia
#19 Business Hotel in Sofia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — Sofia Hotel Balkan 5*
Number of rooms: 184
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sophisticated Hotel in traditionally styled, 5-story building located at city center. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Orbitz, Booking.com, Travelocity, Cheap Tickets, Despegar.com, Priceline and Hotels.com so you can book your Sofia Hotel Balkan reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Sheraton Sofia
Sofia Sheraton

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Sofia Hotel Balkan, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.