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“Ok but not a Hilton 3 Star at most”

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DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands
Ranked #16 of 110 Hotels in Golden Sands
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
169 reviews
94 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
“Ok but not a Hilton 3 Star at most”
Reviewed May 31, 2012

This is NOT a 5* hotel by western standards, but overall had a ok holiday. The hotel is a good 15 minute downhill walk to the beach, don't do it in the dark as no lights at back of hotel

We had booked the 4* Helios Spa hotel, but after one night and breakfast we could not leave quick enough, both are owned by the same company, so we had to pay a small fee to move along with 4 other families in our group.
Residents of either can use both outdoor and the Hilton indoor pools, even though the out door was not very clean the in door was nice and warm shame about the ants
The atmosphere of the Hilton was airy and not cramped like other hotels but it is May.
would not go in the summer. Nothing to do in the hotel.
Bitterly disappointed, with food as very repetative, greasy and of no more than 3* standard. And when it came to service, 'Computer says no' seemed to be their attitude. So do not expect Hilton Brand quality, as it definately is not.
We went All-Inclusive but they really do not know how to do it, had much better in other countries, more like FB plus, no diet drinks on offer only water or soda water.
The Helios and the Hilton food selection was exactly the same as the Hilton.but ours was served nicer
Rooms were great and very large, with big bathrooms. The beds were definately the best part of the holiday! Amazingly comfy and soft, pillows need updating.
There is free WiFi in the lobby, but it is a hit and miss one day yes one day no, same with TV's

Rooms have a kettle and tea and coffee making stuff and they also have a minibar fridge, a real plus with kids
There were only 3 English tv channels, CNN News, MGM movies , and something for the kids.
Ok for a short break would not spend more then 3 days there.
Bus stop outside into Varna real plus.
Never any cookies left as a large group of old women from France took them everyday

Room Tip: Facing the sea we had room 414
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank dannytamimaya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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353 reviews from our community

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  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
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  • Value
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (63)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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  • Italian first
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English first
Baltimore, Maryland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2012

We were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of this hotel. I am a long-time Hilton HHonors member who has stayed at a number of Hilton properties throughout Europe and North America, and found the Golden Sands Doubletree to be above average in every respect. I was particularly impressed by how friendly and professional the staff was. This was my first trip to Bulgaria and I didn't know quite what to expect. I will say that almost everyone spoke great English... If you've done any travel in Southern Europe you know what I mean (yeah, I know, that's the Ugly American in me talking). Oh, and the food was great (Fat Amercican). My only regret was that we didn't hit the beach -- it was a bit early in the season (around Easter).

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank RobertGarrison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cluj-Napoca
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed May 2, 2012

We enjoyed our stay in DoubleTree by Hilton, and we are very sorry for what our fellow countrymen behaved. The food was very good, healthy and we really enjoyed your services. Staff was very friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank Claudiu P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2012

-Air Conditioning not working
-Extremely rude head of customer service old short woman. I have never met someone this rude.
-Pool not clean
-Hotel Far from beach promise umbrella, chairs etc...all booked when we reached
-Forgot to clean the room once. No cleaners. Managers forced a waiter to do the job who came up crying.
-Booked a king size bud responded with two single

Avoid at all costs.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank EliaK60745
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Golden Sands hotels

Level Contributor
64 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2012

When we arrived at the Hilton Doubletree, we saw a billboard saying Hilton above a big pile of rubble. The new wing of the hotel is still under construction, so we were put up in what was in fact another, older hotel adjoining it, with some new Hilton signs attached. This is of course somewhat deceptive.
The hotel was on the edge of acceptable. The room had been recently renovated and had a nice sea view. But there wasn't always hot water in the shower and, having eaten a muffin, I soon found the floor crawling with ants (and this was high in the building). The gym was poor. On the plus side, there's a reasonably good breakfast buffet.
The hotel is some way off the beach. We stayed there out of season, so Varna was fairly empty, but I wonder whether the place is convenient for a beach holiday in the high season. There did not seem to be a reserved beach area for the hotel.
On the whole, I had expected more when booking a hotel under the Hilton name. Maybe it will be better after the construction has finished, but right now it's not up to scratch.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank BeyondBlame
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, UK
Level Contributor
14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2012

This review is based on our stay at the Doubletree by Hilton in Golden Sands for 10 long days in July 2011. I should start by saying that we did not expect it to be a five star hotel. We tend to go to 4-star Bulgarian hotels most summers and just expected the service and perhaps the food (the breakfast at least) in this newly opened Doubletree to be a little bit above your average Bulgarian 4-star hotel. It wasn’t. It was below that standard.

Service
Perhaps the worst disappointment was staff competence and attitude. To start with, on arrival we were sent to a room that was still being cleaned only to be told by the cleaner that we’d been sent to the wrong room. I was asked to go downstairs and had to listen to a discussion between staff members as to which our room was. I was then sent back by the reception desk staff who, instead of an apology, told me something on the lines of ‘yes, we’ve given you the correct room, sir, you can go back there. ‘Meanwhile my wife and daughter were standing in the corridor waiting for a room to be allocated to us. It could have been worse of course, because during my stay I saw a number of new arrivals waiting to check in well after 3 pm.

Check out turned out to be much worse than check in and it made me feel resentful and annoyed with myself for being so naïve as to expect a decent service just because a hotel had ‘Hilton’ in its name. On checking out I was presented with two bills – one for our hotel stay and another one for a lunch in the restaurant. That we didn’t expect – I had paid in full months before our holiday and we always paid in cash upon entering the restaurant. I explained that we’ve paid already to the reception desk lady, who then called the front desk manager. She did not appear to understand what I was telling her (I am Bulgarian and spoke with her in Bulgarian) and kept repeating that we have to pay. I repeating my explanation of how I’ve prepaid, which company with and when for a few times, she kept saying ‘you must pay’ and eventually called the hotel manager. I had to run through the story of my booking and payment again with him and also had to send him my email confirmations. He at least got the idea that by booking via a certain site I would have had to pay the full amount in advance. A half-hearted apology from the front desk manager followed, which I felt was far from sufficient. The whole discussion took about half an hour at the front desk, but felt like an eternity. Then I had to have another, shorter, debate about my restaurant bill. The front desk manager had to go to the restaurant and then returned to tell us that the restaurant agreed we didn’t have to pay anything, but it sounded as if they had done us a favour – no apology offered for messing up.

Hygiene and cleanliness
About three days after we arrived the three of us were down with a nasty bug keeping us shuffling between the room and the toilet. I have no idea whether that had to do with hotel and food hygiene but it clearly did occur long enough after our arrival to make me think there was high probability of that being the case.

Our room was not well cleaned; there was dust in the corners of the toilet and a spider web in a ceiling corner. Our toiletries were only replaced when requested. When available, though, they were of very good quality. The bath robes were often torn. The worst part, hygiene wise, was that the cleaning woman kept asking us every day if we wanted the room cleaned. She constantly complained about her workload and we had to ask her to clean certain parts of the room or bathroom she had been neglecting. I attribute this in equal parts to staff morale at that hotel and to personal qualities. We’ve never had such negative experience with cleaning ladies in Bulgarian seaside hotels before – they are miserably paid and overworked, but nevertheless most manage to do a great job.

Our room was on the 4th floor - the corridor always had the smell of old fried food – appalling.

The restaurant appeared clean and so did the outdoor swimming pool. The heated one inside the hotel looked dirty – we never used it.

Room
Our room was very good in terms of size, furnishing and bed quality. It had a nice balcony and an amazing sea view. The air-conditioning was adequate.

Gym
Contrary to the advertised 24-hour availability of the gym, the two mornings I tried to use it before 8 am, before I got the bug, I couldn’t. The explanation was that there was a problem with the gym door. Yes, there was a problem with the gym door. The first morning I was instructed to push the door very hard after unlocking it to gain entry. I followed that advice on the second day to the effect that most of the door parts fell to the floor with a bang. Luckily, the glass stayed on and didn’t break into a thousand pieces. I reported that to the front desk manager and she promised to have someone deal with it as soon as possible. By the end of my stay the door had not been fixed and the woman working at the gym assured me that she had told everyone, including the owner who was staying at the hotel at the time, and no one had done anything.

Café/bar
Very good espresso and, reportedly (my daughter had a few), delicious fresh cakes! Nice sitting area outside the café.

Food – we had breakfast there every morning. The food was as bland as reported by other reviewers. There was a cook who could make you an omelette or just fried eggs. I recommend the latter. Never had a really tasty omelette there. How can you make an omelette that is not tasty is beyond me. The men doing the ‘show-cooking’ looked overheated and totally depressed. I did feel for them. Taste of coffee was a real low. These people were making significant savings whilst exploiting the Hilton brand. So much for your anticipated ‘Hilton’ breakfast.

We had lunch there two or three times. It was hit and miss.

“Private beach” – firstly, the law in Bulgaria does not allow private ownership of any beach, so this is a bit of a misnomer. Secondly, a few days before the end of our stay, just when we were able to leave the room again, we were told that there is no availability for the beach for the duration of our stay. The explanation was that there were issues around sharing the ‘private beach’ with another hotel – I suspect an unexpected surge of customers caused this. As a result we had to go elsewhere and the cost of renting parasols, etc. was almost two times higher.

Data protection
The first sign that there was something not quite right was when three months before our stay I received an email from the hotel manager about how he was looking forward to my visit and promoting hotel facilities. The problem was that he had sent a bulk email to everyone who had made a booking by then and everyone could see my email address as I could see theirs. I really don’t think mishandling personal data should be tolerated and did not expect such behaviour from a Hilton staff member. He did send an apology after I wrote to him.

Just before going to this hotel we spent three nights at the Hilton Sofia – it was a proper Hilton hotel, so hopefully this hotel is an isolated case in the region. I think it is really damaging the Hilton brand, though.

I would definitely steer clear from that place. They are building a new Hilton next to it, but it is under the same ownership, which to me means that management and the attitude can’t be much different.

My only advice to you if still you want to go there – lower your expectations, forget about the brand name and you may find it not too disappointing.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Sstoyanov
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sunbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2011

This is NOT a 5* hotel by western standards, but overall had a great holiday. The hotel is a 5 minute downhill walk to the beach, but there are 3 different free buses to different parts of the beach (please read further for more details). It is next door to the 4* Helios Spa hotel, both are owned by the same company, so residents of either can use both outdoor and the Hilton indoor pools. There were always spare sunbeds around the Hilton pool and there was much more space to move them in line with the sun, than any other hotel we found in Golden Sands and the whole atmosphere of the Hilton was airy and not cramped like other hotels there, even in August!
It was our first trip to Bulgaria and having read lots of reviews, I knew that the food and service would be much lower than in other European countries, so decided to go for the 5* Hilton, hoping that it would be much better than most....Bitterly disappointed, as food was very repetative, greasy and of no more than 3* standard. And when it came to service, 'Computer says no' seemed to be their attitude. So do not expect Hilton Brand quality, as it definately is not.
Although not officially, while we were there residents of either hotel on All-Inclusive options also used all the bars at both hotels. I checked the restaurant a couple of times in the Helios and the food selection was exactly the same as the Hilton. So if you aren't fussy about how big the room is, save some money and go to the Helios, as you can use the facilities of either.
Rooms were great and very large, with big bathrooms. The beds were definately the best part of the holiday! Amazingly comfy and soft, with winter thickness duvets, so needed the aircon on full to compensate. We had a double and a twin with interconnecting doors (but 3 other english families we spoke to didn't even have both rooms on the same floor, let alone next door, so beware) however they did give us the 2 rooms directly over the entrance, so we had no view from the balcony, as this was obscured by the Canopy over the entrance. It was far too hot to sit on the balcony anyway, so I didn't complain. also as there is free wifi in the lobby, we could get it in the room being directly above, but extremely slow.
Rooms have a kettle and tea and coffee making stuff and they also have a minibar fridge, which we just took everything out of so we could use it as fridge, then replaced it at the end, as all is chargable. I couldn't find another hotel in Golden Sands that stated fridge or kettle in the rooms, so another reason to choose it.
There were only 3 english tv channels, CNN News, MGM movies which had the weirdest, oldest films that I'd never heard of and a artoon one with what seemed like 24/7 Wacky Races and Topcat, so I relived my childhood and saw every episode several times over in 15 days! But it was a large flat screen.
We stayed for 15 nights - the first 7 on All-Inclusive and then 8 on B&B, so that we could explore more. I couldn't get any details of AI package before we went, but it includes -
3 meal in the buffet restaurant, drinks in restaurant, at pool bar, the Lobby/Terrace bar and the nightclub, snacks and ice cream late morning and afternoon. You can also get drinks and lunch at the beach bar, but you must book in advance. We also got drinks from the Helios bars too although they had different colour wristbands.

Room Tip: Sea view are dearer and in the shade from late morning, also a long way from sea. Forest view have a...
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank trudimales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands

Property: DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands
Address: Golden Sands, Golden Sands 9007, Bulgaria
Phone Number:
Location: Bulgaria > Varna Province > Golden Sands
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Best Value Hotel in Golden Sands
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Golden Sands
#13 Luxury Hotel in Golden Sands
#13 Spa Hotel in Golden Sands
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands 5*
Number of rooms: 196
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
DoubleTree by Hilton™ is the hotel that turns travel into a human experience again. It all starts with a warm chocolate chip cookie, a small touch of our warmth and care for each guest; we provide genuine comfort with our Sweet Dreams® sleep experience and highly-experience staff who are dedicated to helping your stay be the very best. Come see us! We’ll always have a cookie with your name on it ready and waiting. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Doubletree By Hilton Varna - Golden Sands Hotel Golden Sands
DoubleTree By Hilton Varna - Golden Sands Bulgaria - Varna Province

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