I have stayed here many times but this was the first time in over a year and since the previous GM Jacques Brune has moved on. I believe the excellent Scottish Ops chap is still here though.
Unfortunately things have really gone down hill in terms of the amenities for Diamond and presumably Gold members. I was upgraded to an Executive Room, good but most Hilton's now offer Diamonds suites in line with changes to the Brand Standards Manual at the end of 2012. The Executive Suite was available. The free transfer which didn't cost the hotel very much (this is BG after all) has gone.
The biggest disappointment is the lounge. Previously during the day there was beer in the fridge all day, afternoon tea with sandwiches (often mini club sandwiches and macarons the old Executive Chef was French afterall), in the evening a very pleasant hot buffet of perhaps beef bourguignon and cold starters like prawns etc. Now its very basic and looks like a North American airport hotel!
Unfortunately I feel that the breakfast is less generous than it was before too.
I note the current GM Stephan Reiter's explanation for this is the new "brand standards". I don't mean any disrespect Mr. Reiter but this is a lie, and its also a lie to say all Hilton's will be like this because they won't and they aren't.
I've been a Diamond member for 15 years and I know many GMs and managers in hotels. All have confirmed that the minimum standard has been lowered such as cutting down the buffet, no afternoon tea and no spirits, yes there is a new MINIMUM standard, but the hotels are under absolutely NO obligation to lower their standard if they don't wish to. It has been designed to help hotel's control their costs. So Mr. Reiter, please don't lie to your customers and ask your wonderful staff to ply the same line.
For example looking at the UK, Tower Bridge in London (they even have 6-9PM for buffet), Cardiff and Glasgow have all said this is not going to happen there. Any seasoned Diamond member will know this is the case because he just has to look at other hotels in EMEA to see that they haven't lowered the hotel. Take yourself to these hotels Mr. Reiter, go to Prague Mr. Reiter, what's happening here. It's just not true. Mr. Reiter, there are still hotel's I can point out to you that have genuine champagne in the lounge!
Me and my fellow Diamond members are not putting up with this, we are voting with our feet and taking our business elsewhere. HHonors already made our life hell with the massive devaluation earlier in the year and this is the final straw. You can't pull the wool over our eyes like guests who have never stayed there before and have no clue of the usual benefits!
It's a classic mistake airlines make in cutting costs by cutting the product offering, what happens, the customer goes elsewhere! Look at Air France! Sofia has many 5* hotels all vying for business, this is a very silly decision indeed.
All the hotel's that are doing this have a reputation for being tight, but this upsets me the most because Sofia used to be a fantastic hotel for Diamond benefits and the place to feel valued!
To the rest of the staff in the hotel reading this, you are as wonderful as ever, pleasant and courteous and the rooms are spotless as usual.
What does it cost to have some BG beer in the lounge all day, a decent evening buffet and sprits, basically nothing.
Bring back Jacques Brune, he would have never let this happen!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hilton Sofia has the perfect location in the heart of the city, opposite the Sofia Congress Centre (National Palace of Culture), surrounded by the South Park and overlooking the Vitosha Mountain. Hotel guests are near the commercial district and government offices. Boutiques, restaurants and nightclubs are within walking distance, while Sofia International Airport lies 13 km to the east, an approximate 20 minute transfer. With 245 rooms on 8 floors, equipped with the most modern in-room facilities, dedicated Executive Floors and cozy Executive Lounge, Health Club with in-door pool and 24/7 Fitness by Precor, Hilton Sofia is the perfect choice of the modern traveler. Spacious, stylish and modern venues, resplendent with natural light, provide you with an unparalleled environment in which to work and relax. From the multifunctional business facilities to the creative food service at Seasons Restaurant and Artists Bar: enjoy the Hilton Sofia experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Sofia Hotel Sofia
- Hilton International Sofia
- Sofia Hilton International