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.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sophisticated Hotel in traditionally styled, 5-story building located at city center. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sheraton Sofia
- Sofia Sheraton