We went to Bulgaria as part of a week's ski package with Balkan Holidays booked through Thomas Cook. The TC travel agent did not realise that the hotel was 10km from the resort of Pamporovo but when informed of this assured me that there were regular shuttle buses to and from the ski centre. In fact there was only one bus to and from the slopes each day which could have led to friction if any of the passengers had required or wanted different start or finsh times.
On the plus side, the room we got was very spacious with plenty of storage. Beds were OK although after a day on the slopes, I could have slept on a bed of nails! Bathroom was v. good with bath and plenty of hot water for apres ski soak.
Only 6 lev (£2.80) for sesssions in the sauna& steam room, swimming pool was 28C and free. Jacuzzi was not bubbling freely when we tried it but was nice and warm for a free soak . We did not use the gym but it seemed to be reasonably well equipped and was also free.
Contrary to some comments made by previous reviewers, we found all the staff to be friendly and attentive. The hotel appears to be mostly used by Bulgarians or other Eastern European nationals and hence the number of English language speakers was limited. Nevertheless we had no problems whenever we needed to ask for something and were usually answered with a smile. There was a two day Bulgarian National Holiday whilst we we stayed at the hotel and the place was very busy. However we did not experience any fall off of attention in favour of other (non-English )guests.
The big disappointment of our stay was the food and the restaurant. The later was suprisingly small and cramped and the decor could do with brightening up. Likewise the quality and presentation of the food. We have had two previous holidays at other hotels in Pamporovo and although the basic menu was the same ( salad buffet, choice of 3 or 4 main courses and sweet cakes/fruit), the quality here was the poorest yet experienced. The choice of salad was adequate but repetative and not very inspiring.The main courses were usually cold or tepid, the heaters on the hot plates and heat lamps not appearing to be switched on. I have been told that the Bulgarians prefer their food lukewarm but other hotels with more English guests have realised our tastes are different and have taken to providing a microwave oven next to the buffet! This would be a good idea for the Rhodopi Home. The sweets were usually a similar choice of small sticky, creamy cakes and sliced apples, oranges and bananas with yoghurt. Quite tasty actually but again a bit repetative! Looking for the silver lining, the wine list was extensive and very cheap, a really nice Bulgarian red cost only 12 lev and a large beer was only 2.5 lev. So swings and roundabouts, food not 4 star but neither were the prices!
The town of Chapelere is pretty non-descript, there is a big supermarket about 5 minutes walk from the hotel and an Italian style restaurant just round the corner. We did not eat out but the place looks quite nice and previous reviewers rate it. I'm sure there must be some life in the town after 6pm but the only time we ventured out we did not see any (mind you this was on a Sunday evening, it was dark and -3C).
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