When i read the reviews on this site about the Hotel Lion i was worried (to say the least), but as the holiday was already booked i just put them to the back of my mind and hoped it wasn't as bad as everyone was saying it was!
All i can say is if you go expecting Britain you will be disappointed! Bankso itself is undergoing a lot of building work and the roads and pavements aren't great, but the building work happens during the day, so if you are skiing/boarding you don't see it anyway and it stops when it gets dark.
Right, back to the hotel...'The Nightclub' I can honestly say I didn't hear it apart from when i was in it!! My room was on floor five however and it is on floor one. But i think the restaurant is above it anyway so i don't understand how you could hear it unless it's the bar music and not actually the nightclub?!
Bulgaria hasn't banned smoking in bars/clubs etc so if you don't like people smoking then it's not for you. I believe however that the smoke in the lobby comes from the open fire as well as cigerettes, out of our group (of twelve) only 3 of us smoked and no-one else in the group complained about the smoke in the lobby!
The food was fine, I would suggest you get there early doors though, we did go later one night and although the food hadn't run out we did have to wait fifteen minutes for fresh to be made, but all of us found something we liked out of the selection and all left each night full! Again please remember they aren't British chefs but they do try (and succeed) to make food that we like.
The first day we went to the slopes the Gondola queue was massive!! However it was about 10am when we got there and we queued about 45 minutes to get on. It is the only way to get to the slopes and other chair lifts! The next day we went for half eight when it opened and we walked straight on, needless to say we did this again every day and it was fine. We even skiied down just after lunch and got straight back on. The worst time to go on the gondola is between 9am and 10.30am.
We didn't have any money taken from the hotel, but i would never leave money or valuables laying around in any hotel room and that includes here!! They do have a safety deposit box that can be rented for 4 lev per day. I only ever once had a problem with change in the hotel bar and it was for 1 lev! The only thing to be careful of is beer can vary alot in price depending on the brewer! The bulgarian beer is the cheapest and is actually very nice. The price in the hotel bar is the same for Stella though!!
The slopes can get busy in the afternoons and because there is NO green runs, ski school generally go up about the third/fourth day onto the nearest blue runs, so my advice would be to go further afield if you are competent towards the back end of the week which are quieter. We didn't have any injuries and that's not bad for twelve people. It is defiantely better for intermediates.
The hotel is warm, but we just turned the radiators off!!
There are dogs but they were all friendly and considering they live on a mountain don't look that bad!
I had a brilliant time in Bansko and would definately go back to The Hotel Lion.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The four star LION Hotel Bansko starts December 2005 in one of the most beautiful and peaceful spots of the country - Bansko resort - the newest and most modern ski resort in Bulgaria. Hotel Lion offers a full range of services and amenities to provide you a memorable gateway experience. The hotel has 190 rooms in different room categories: single rooms, double rooms, studios and luxurious apartments, offering comfort and privacy for your stay. Each guest room features private bathroom with a bath-tub and hairdryer, satellite TV, mini bar and direct telephone ... more less
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