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“Hotel's beach is a dissapoinment”
Review of Helena Sands Hotel

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Helena Sands Hotel
Ranked #11 of 220 Hotels in Sunny Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Nairobi, Kenya
Level 4 Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Hotel's beach is a dissapoinment”
Reviewed August 14, 2013

This was our second time in the Helena Sands Hotel. The hotel itself was as nice as we remembered it from our last year, our room was big as we booked a junior suite, it was clean and airy. We were on half board, both breakfast and dinner choices are the best you will ever see anywhere in the world, tasty and delicious. Even if you find you do not like something, you will find hundred other things to satisfy yourself, which our family did. The only thing is that they do not provide drinking water for the dinner (only for breakfast) or in the room, so you have to buy water for dinner and fetch liters of water from outside to your room, we did it in the evening while having our walk, but it is uncomfortable since you have to carry bottles of water with you. The hotel this size and this expensive should provide drinking water for free, but this is our family’s opinion, which we have expressed to the hotel manager, however I do not believe anything will change. Our big disappointment was the beach. It was bad last year when we visited, but this year was even worse. The first day we went to the beach I was scared to step on the beach or let my daughter play in the sand. Full of garbage, cigarette butts, old papers, even bottles etc. It looked like nobody cleaned it for a year! We complained to the reception and we saw the sand-cleaner tractor in the evening, but that was it. The next day it looked much cleaner, but the tractor never came back, so little by little after few days the beach was as dirty again as it was the first day we arrived. Then there were sunbeds and umbrellas… many of them broken and unusable. The hotel has about 50 sunbeds for 300 people! Forget getting the sunbed and the umbrella in the morning. Although the policy says no reservations with towels, my husband tried to stand up one time around 6 a.m. and went to the beach….almost all of the beds were reserved already! Not sure what time people woke up to reserve those beds. We tried once to fix one of the broken umbrellas without success and saw another man trying to do the same the next day since there are not enough beds for everybody. Guests trying to fix umbrellas and sunbeds ...this is a shame for a five star hotel! This was our seaside vacation and we went there to enjoy the seaside not to just sit in the hotel. The beach part of the vacation was important to our family and it was below of all our expectations….
The pool area was nice but the water in the pool was cold at least for us, although there were some people swimming in the pool. The service in the hotel was good but the situation with the beach and unwillingness to do anything about it from the hotel side left us disappointed and we decided not to come back next year. I am giving this hotel poor for service and value this time because of the situation with the beach area.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Liana A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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338 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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English first
Swansea, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2013

We have just returned from a week at this Hotel and to be honest we can not see how it is so well reviewed. The hotel itself is very nice although some things are not in the 5 star league, the main problem is the staff most were un helpfull and made you feel like you were a nuisance. Unless you were Russian or Italian,Eastern European, then they made a real fuss over them. Here are some observations:
:Waiters filleting fish for other Italian/Russian customers while ours was just left in front of us.
:Wine being decanted for same customers while ours just plonked on table.
I had coffe knocked over me in Breakfast Restaurant and waiter just looked at me and after a long silence just bluntly said "sorry" and walked off, I then reported it to Restaurant supervisor who also not interested.They did not check for burns or damage to clothes.
:Food in fish restaurant is superb and could not fault it , only the service by some of the waiters.
: Hotel can not be faulted for cleanliness ,always cleaning being done.
:Rules such as NO food to be brought from outside or no shorts in Restaurant not adhered to we saw British people walking straight past security with fast food.
We soon got the impression the British were not wanted or welcomed in this hotel, which was evident in the breakfast choice where the nearest thing to British food was a fried egg advertised as poached.
We also had a trouble booking a courtesy room on checkout as we were not being picked up till 23.00, we asked the day before and told again in a blunt manner " come back tomorrow " we will see". They let us have half an hour for 2 of us to get showered and changed.
:My girlfriend was humiliated in the breakfast cue because she had trouble scooping the eggs on to her plate, she was shouted at by the chef.

Apart from a few exceptions like a couple of waiters in the fish restaurant, most of the staff were just not interested in us.It was a shame because the hotel is very nice and in a quiet location , just let down by appalling customer service.

We also were not impressed with Thomsons , as when we came out of the airport in the early hours there was no Thomsons rep at the desk, I had to struggle crowds of people to find here only to be told go to the coach park and find someone else. I eventually found another rep who sent us off to find the coach on which we sat for an hour.After 3 days we received a phone call in our room asking how our holiday was, so I complained to her about the experience and was sent a bottle of wine.

W are fairly well travelled people and have stayed in everything from hostels in spain to 5star cruises and this was the worst we have ever been treated, at one point I thought I was on a faulty towers set.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank andynali
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2013

That is the only problem - so much scrumptious food you can't try it all. Which indicates that the hotel is superb.

Ages ranged from 14 to 84 and all equally delighted.

The hotel boasts a fish, an a la carte, and a poolside restaurant. It's one and the same restaurant though! [It looks as if there was a restaurant on the 2nd Storey, but that it is not used now.] There is a separate main restaurant where most meals are held. Plus, a beach bar a few yards away.

The food at the multi-modal restaurant is first rate. All of us including some very fussy eaters enjoyed it. It does serve fish and some first class meals. We ate there at lunch most days. When we didn't we ate at the Beach Bar and that does excellent snacks.

The Spa is good with a range of treatments and therapies. Inexpensive compared to some.

Good friendly service. Efficient and friendly service. Pleasant comfortable spacious rooms.
Great praise for the quality and variety of food in the main restaurant. With such good service.
For example the roast beef and vegetables I had for dinner on Sunday were perfect - but no Yorkshire puddings!

There were roast and grilled meats and selection of hot fish and cold fish dishes every night. Lots of international dishes, good vegetarian selection, pasta dishes, and salads. The vegetable accompaniments were delicious. All in all a super restaurant.

The beach bar was a jolly place during the day and a lively family environment in the evening. Very congenial staff at the beach bar as well. The beach is as good as you good wish.

Entertainment in the hotel was hampered by the number of nationalities/languages. Music quiz in 5 languages was fun. But sitting in the garden listening to the band - singing English language classics - was very agreeable.

My daughters are too old for the kids club, but seemed not to have too many kids involved when I observed it. [If kids clubs are important to your family maybe this is not a hotel for you.]

Jess R mentioned the Thompson Rep. Had no contact with him/her the whole holiday. Not even a note when our airport coach left. However, Sarah the rep in the Majestic just down the promenade couldn't have been more helpful.

As for the resort itself. Not sure about it. There is lots of activity away from the hotel but not sure how impressive it is. Nearby Nessebar is very nice - but don't catch the bus there it takes far too long.

Like, everybody else I met at the hotel, I recommend it very highly without reservation.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank jamesguest2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 27, 2013

Excellent hotel. Very friendly staff, fantastic pool and high quality beach.
The food was really good. We thought we might be bored eating there all week but really good variety.
Rooms very lovely, very clean and a great view of the sea.
If you are going to sunny beach, I would definitely recommend staying here!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank EnglandTraveller475
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stafford, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed July 24, 2013

Just returned from a couples holiday on monday morning from a week away at helena sands hotel.
first impressions were great we arrived at about half 7 in the morning after a late night flight so no sleep and they were very friendly and helpful
slightly annoyed that our thompsons rep meeting being at 9 that morning but that wasn't the hotels fault
we went half board which was great really as we had such big breakfasts we didnt need to eat again untill dinner:)
it was buffet breakfast with a very wide range of food and all amazingly cooked and the quality at dinner with each night being a different theme (you do have to pay for your drinks at dinner)

MOST staff were very friendly and approachable especially the dining room staff and chefs:)

the hotel was lovely spotlessly clean everywhere, pool was lovely!, staff around the pool came round offering activities to keep you entertained, especially for the kids kids and there were a few entertainments in the evening :)
there are also alot of securety staff around and on the back gates which makes you feel quite safe

my only grumble about the hotel was once you check out your kind of forgotten about. you have to check out by 12pm but we wern't getting picked up untill 2:15am and when you check out you need to give everythign back the key card (obviously) and also the pool towel card so now we had no pool towels for the day and no indication that we were staying at the hote
l but you can leave your suitcases in a locked room behind reception for the day

Also there is a courtesy room you can use for half an hour after you've checked out to get changed ect... but they don't tell you about it! we found out from other guests and when we asked about it were told "well you can get showered and changed in the spa before 8pm but we do have a room if you'd rather" well yes that is why i asked for it!

Over all the hotel was lovely and we had a lovely stay just a shame about the last day i would highly recommend staying there the hotel is in the quieter end of sunny beach but a short walk to the main strip with bars and shops but we could also get a peaceful nights sleep:)

Room Tip: if you've got a late flight home take your own towels and remember to ask for the courtesy room...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Jess R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rotherham
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed July 23, 2013

Just returned from a week at the Helena Sands. The hotel was unbelievably spotless, rooms immaculate. The cleaners never stop cleaning! Only stayed on a bed and breakfast tariff as we like to try different restaurants. The staff are really pleasant, although one pool boy was a bit stroppy as we were a couple of minutes late returning our towels to the hut(it closes at 5) he told us to come back at 9 in morning but we were leaving that night. I needed pool cards to get my passport back!
My only real negative for this hotel was our shower. It was a disabled walk in shower, but the water didn't go down the grate in the cubicle but went under the shower door into a grate under the sink! So the whole of the bathroom was wet through. We had to put bath mat at the edge of the bathroom door to step out on to get dried.
The hotel is at the quieter end of Sunny Beach, but within walking distance of the main strip, with plenty of restaurants and bars. The Bulgarians really know how to cook a steak to perfection!!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank neesycoop01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KENT
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2013

Really cant fault this hotel, rooms and beds spacious. Pay a little extra for deluxe room with sea view.... well worth it and only around £75 extra for the week through thomsons.
We only took the B&B option as we love to get out and about in the evenings and theres plenty of eating places & nightlife on the strip in Sunny beach !! Have to say though that 1 week is more than enough of running the gauntlet in the annoyingly commercialised and competitive centre of the resort. That said Helena sands is perfectly placed at far end of resort where its much quieter and right on the beach and has a beautiful quiet pool adjacent to the beach.
Many thanks to the friendly and helpful staff at Helena sands we will certainly be recommending your hotel as an affordable luxury stay, also compliments to Thomsons for an easy and uncomplicated booking and their rep Steph who was lovely and helpful to us.
Trip to Khans tent well worth doing, lovely meal, spectacular show and limited drinks included for £45 each including transport. Nessabar is also well worth a visit, an amazing mix of ancient and new in harmony.

Room Tip: Pay a little extra for deluxe room with sea view.... well worth it and only around £75 extra for the...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank CLIVEMANN0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Helena Sands Hotel

Property: Helena Sands Hotel
Address: Sunny Beach 8240, Bulgaria (Formerly Riu Palace)
Location: Bulgaria > Burgas Province > Sunny Beach
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
#4 Family Hotel in Sunny Beach
#5 Romantic Hotel in Sunny Beach
#9 Luxury Hotel in Sunny Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Helena Sands Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 190
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the Sunny Beach resort area on the Black Sea. 3 to 7-story building and garden villas. Situated directly on the beach. Sun loungers and parasols on the beach (additional charge). In a 14,500 m2 garden together with the Riu Helena Park Hotel. 2.5 km from the centre of Sunny Beach. 28 km from Burgas airport. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Visa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Helena Sands Hotel
Helena Sands Hotel Sunny Beach, Burgas Province, Bulgaria

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