Above all, the service offered at Phoenix Hostel is the best I've encountered yet. The owners were very friendly and gave us information on just about anything - nearby sights of interest, the history of the city, day trips, hiking trails in the area, information on public transportation, restaurants etc., and this information was more detailed and accurate than what you will find in any guide book.
The hospitable and friendly atmosphere of the place also made it very natural and easy for us to talk to the other travelers who were staying there. The rooms (twins / dorms) are cozy, comfortable and very clean, which applies to the hostel generally (the bathrooms and kitchen were refreshingly clean and well-functioning). Breakfast is included in the price and better than what is usually offered in other hostels. The prices are pretty much the same as for other hostels in Bulgaria, a bit surprising given the high quality of the rooms and service.
All in all, Phoenix Hostel is simply one of the very best hostels I've ever been to. Should I ever decide to go to Bulgaria a second time, I will no doubt stay there again.
The only downside I can think of with this hostel was the dog from across the street. It woke us up once in the middle of the night, barking wildly for no apparent purpose. This of course can't be blamed on the hostel or the owners, and I don't think it is a general problem.
About the city - Veliko Tarnovo is perhaps the most historically interesting and definitely a very beautifully located city in Bulgaria. You can find Phoenix Hostel in the old town, which is a nice place with narrow, cobbled streets, museums and even original craftsmen's shops among the usual tourist shops. If you go there, the ruins of the Tsarevets citadel is a must-see.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Cathy and Nick look forward to welcoming you to Phoenix Hostel. You'™ll find everything you expect from a modern hostel within our unusual 1850's timber-framed house. Phoenix is part of an ensemble of listed buildings perfectly situated in the old quarter, just two minutes walk from the buzzing day & night life of the city and convenient for all the interesting sights. Newly renovated and furnished you'll find us clean and comfortable, safe and secure. Come and make yourself at home at Phoenix. ... more less