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Reviewed June 19, 2010

This was the best holiday I have ever been on, i didn't know much about Bulgaria but took a chance. the location is great its about 45 Mins from the airport and sunny beach itself has miles of shops and places to eat out.the beach is right across from the hotel which has lovely white sands the cost of the sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach were 7 levs each which is about 3.50 in English.The sea water does have a few shrimp around which i didn't like but the sea was warm, you can do paragliding there and jet skiing but not sure how much that was.
the hotel was super clean could not fault it, the food was great lots of choice but there would always be chips and pizza but at least that helps with fussy children, they did chicken, beef, lamb, and fish. the deserts were a bit different but always lots of choice and ice cream was always available.
The evening dinner had a dress code men had to wear either trousers jeans or 3/4 trousers.
The staff were very helpful and always said hello and the animation team were great in the day you could do games with them such as water polo, French bowls, bingo, volley ball, target shooting,darts and even aqua aerobics in the pool. they would do the evening entertainment which was also very good.
the bar drinks were mainly all inclusive the only thing i could see they seem to charge for was red bull but we just bought our in and they don't mind.
the rooms don't have any coffee making facility in them but you can get bottles of water from reception as and when you need them.
if you wanted a holiday for night life sunny beach is great for it lots of clubs and bars and show bars.
the shopping is great and if you like your designer labels plenty of that and very good copy's, great for handbags.
the only fault I can find with this holiday was the flight times coming back was 3.20 in the morning but you can do a late checkout which we did until 6 which cost us about 30 pound English money.
There was a few trips you can do and there weren't expensive we did the virgin river boat tour which was lovely. You can even do a 2 day visit to instalbul. there are two water parks but the one in nessabar looked better.
brilliant holiday would really recommend it.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled with family
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Thank lisamcc1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2010

we had a great time at this hotel, the staff were all wonderful and friendly. The food was very good and a lot of variety. it was my friends birthday and they made a lot of fuss and a lovely bottle of champayne at dinner time. the animation team were lovely and done a wonderful job. will go back again in the future. a good atmosphere.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank archie30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2010

I have just returned from a weeks stay at the Riu Helios where I was staying with my partner. On arrival at the hotel, reception staff were friendly but did not speak very good English. I am sure this is because we arrived in the early hours of the morning and the reception staff during the day were much more helpful. We had to ask to change our room as the original room we were given stank of smoke, however the staff were helpful and arranged for us to move room later that day. The second room was fine. The rooms themselves are fairly large and well maintained with a clean bathroom and the biggest walk in shower I have ever seen (please see my photos). The air conditioning worked well and there was plenty space for all our clothes etc. The common areas of the hotel are spotlessly clean and comfortable.

The food was a bit of a disappointment. As the hotel is a Thomson Platinum property I expected the food to be the best we had ever had, but I would say it was average. We didn't starve as there was always something you could have (I survived on soup and salad!) but the selection of food available was not really to my taste. Every lunch time and dinner time there were chips, hotdog style sausages, pizza and overcooked, pre-made pasta with bland sauce you could drizzle on it. The salads were nice and there was always soup, but I was kind of hoping for some bulgarian cuisine or something that was not fried! I think if you had kids with you, they would probably be quite happy and maybe that is what the hotel was trying to cater for. We were ok as we were there for a week, if we had been there for 2, we would have struggled!

The bar staff could not be faulted. The drinks were plentiful, definitely not watered down (as my headache could testify most mornings!), and served with a smile. Word of warning- the wine (both red and white) is terrible! I can normally drink whatever wine they have on holiday and this is the first time I have ever not been able to drink it. As the hotel is platinum, international brands are included as part of your all-inclusive, so I stuck to Beefeater gin and absolute vodka. My partner was a bit disappointed as no imported beer (bottled or draft) was included.

The animation team through the day were a good laugh and were always trying to get you to join in however a polite decline was always ok and they did not pester you. The evening entertainment was the worst I have ever seen. The animation team shows were awful, but they tried their best. The 'professional' live music act consisted of 2 guys with a guitar and a keyboard looking like they wanted to die they were so miserable singing 'party classics' in a monotone. No wonder they were miserable, so was I! The upshot of it was we ended up going into sunny beach most evenings and drinking in the pubs there. The drink was relatively cheap, but when you have paid to go all inclusive it is a bit annoying that you have to spend more money.

To summarise, the hotel was nice and clean, but as the food and entertainment were not good I would not recommend going all inclusive to this hotel. We might consider going back to Sunny Beach, but we would go either self catering or bed and breakfast.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Laurapants1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2010

This is a good hotel in a fantastic location, The hotel is kept spotless and all the staff will speak and say hello as you pass them. The room is good and average for this type of hotel, clean and tidy but nothing really special and was visited daily by the maids who do a top job. Food is average and can get a little boring as it was the same most days, people who say its fantastic are very easily pleased, it's not bad, but chips ARE with every evening meal along with pizza,salad and grilled 'hotdog' sausages (you know, the mechanically recovered chicken type) along with grilled chicken (check the centres not pink) and poor cuts of pork, I'd class it as good canteen food (Golden and Princess hotels food blow this out of the water) but the hotel overall standard makes up for this. The bar drinks are NOT watered down, I've seen staff open NEW bottles at 39% alc so they use full strength drinks and the staff serving them are brilliant, Sunbeds see the usual towels placed on them to save them as at most places though this was the earliest I've ever seen it done (5.30am onwards), so go around to the smaller pool where there's more sun and no-one saving louners ;-). My big concern for the hotel was smoking, this was allowed in the dining areas, Not good to have surrounding tables chain smoking as you eat, ok if they want to do it in the bar or outdoor areas as you have a choice you can move, but you have to eat in the food area with no where else to go so it should be no smoking, anyone disagreeing with this is selfish, smokers have plenty of other places to go smoke but you have no choice of where to eat. Sunny beach itself is a great resort and the Helios is directly onto the beach, Great spot too. The rumours about Sunny Beach are pretty much unfounded, we saw one gypsy begging, two blokes offering fruit and one bloke trying to offer to change money on the street, More grief on blackpool seafront Tbh. Every restaurant has people outside asking you to come in, but a polite 'no' etc gets a pleasant response of 'ok thank you have a nice evening' makes a pleasent change, and most locals give the same happy hello/greetings as you pass them on the street. The main areas are full of little market type shops selling fake clothes,belts,watches etc and you can get some good bargains but you soon realise most stalls have the same goods, if you do buy make sure you haggle go for half the marked price or walk away and you'll get it further along.
Bottom line is a great hotel with a really good location, I do think it's slightly overpriced so shop around the agents for the best deal, prices paid vary by up to £600 from people we met in the hotel. Great for kids although 65% of the guests were 50 plus so entertainment is mainly geared for adults.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Mark_JulieR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2010

Myself and husband have just returned from our first trip to Bulgaria travelling with Thomson and staying at the Riu Helios Hotel and had a fantastic time. The hotel is spotlessly clean with comfortable rooms that were cleaned daily. We have stayed in many Riu hotels in the past and this ranks as one of the best especially as far as the food is concerned. We were all inclusive and there was so much choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner all of which was of good quality. The only small criticism I would make is the drinks which were very watered down. The pool was big with plenty of sunbeds for everybody and although not peak season the hotel was pretty full during our stay. The beaches were also lovely. The animation team were good fun and worked non stop all day long with plenty of activities during the day to participate in. The evening entertainment was a bit cheesy as tends to be in most hotels but if you go with the flow you will have a good laugh. Sunny Beach itself is very busy with plenty going on and some lovely restaurants which are very cheap to eat out. We didn't go on any excursions as we just wanted a chilling holiday relaxing by the pool but did visit Nessebar on a couple of occasions which was lovely. To sum it all up we had a fantastic holiday in a lovely hotel and met some great people (including Germans) who we had a good laugh with. I would definitely recommend this hotel for any age group. I would also like to mention that I am disabled with walking difficulties and didn't find anything a problem to access. The only thing that would put us off returning to Bulgaria again is the ridiculous flight times.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank annie088
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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