Just got back from a weeks stay at the Smolian and could have easily stayed for another week at least! This was our first time in Bulgaria, so were unsure what to expect, but went with open minds.
I'm pleased to say that Bulgaria surpassed our expectations on many levels and is on our places to go again list,
Reading some of the other reviews many of the comments about the hotel are true - both good and bad, however some of the reviewers possibly need a reality check, as expectations seem a tad high in some cases taking into consideration the star rating and the cost of the holidays here if you shop around.
The hotel is set back from the main road and is surrounded by other hotels and buildings and yes, there is still some construction going on in the area.
We had room 308 which is on the 2nd floor (go figure) and this looked out onto some waste ground and a couple of construction sites. Although it was not particularly panoramic, the balcony was reasonably private and being away from the main road was actually fairly quiet. The rooms are clean and relatively comfortable with a tv, a small fridge and air con included (no hair dryer for the ladies though). The beds are a bit firm and you can feel some of springs, however I have to say that I had a week of some of the best sleep in ages, though cheap booze may have played a part in this! The rooms are double glazed and when you shut the patio door it was exceptionally quiet.
The bathroom is actually a wet room with floor drains and a raised sill for the door. The shower bracket is fixed and it does indeed spray above your head if you are less than six foot tall. You need to think outside the box to get the shower to spray directly down onto you without the need to stand half way across the room, but it can be done! Plenty of hot water though and a nice powerful shower - couldn't really fault it except for no plug in the sink and care needed on wet floor.
The staff were all friendly and helpful. If you are friendly and polite and take the time to talk to them they will reciprocate - same as anywhere really. I asked for an extra pillow and it was done without fuss and bother.
We only ate lunch a couple of times at the Smolian and the food we had was as good as anywhere else where we had similar during the week.
The hotel is located about a 10 minute walk from the main central area. You literally turn left out of the hotel and follow the main road - you wont miss it on your right hand side as it is a massive pedestrian area crammed with shops, bars, clubs and restaurants. This leads down to the sea front from there you can go left or right and have your fill. For a slightly quieter night (only just though) cross the road in front of the hotel, turn right following the main road, then first left and follow for a couple of hundred meters. You will see The Harp on a corner to your left which is a nice restaurant, to your right you will see more bars which have a slightly more "British" feel.
Basically the whole of Sunny Beach is geared to tourism, you can not go 100 yards in any direction without seeing somewhere to eat or drink and it really can be very cheap to do both. We would not entertain going All Inclusive unless they start to get really greedy or go into the Euro, which thankfully they haven't yet.
All in all, we had a fab stay at the Smolian and met some great people while we were there which just added to the experience. If you choose to go to the Smolian, go with an open mind and you will not be disappointed.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.