Initially we were in one of the older rooms and then we upgraded to one of the refurbished rooms. The refurbished rooms are pleasant and comfortable.
Unique Quality: This hotel is in the centre of Sofia in easy walking distance of all the sights. It has a great Chinese restaurant on the first floor.
As cheap central hotels go this one initially exceeded my expectations. The imposing building, located on a corner just behind the National Theatre, was easy to find and therefore as central as I could have wished for. Reception was swift and friendly, having booked through booking.com, and so was merely a matter of handing over my passport in exchange for my room key (my passport was returned later after the formalities had been done).
My room was decidedly battle-scarred, there were cigarette burns in places where even I wouldn't have thought to leave one, and even though the furnishings and decor were probably untouched since the Communist days (I was especially enamoured by the 60's-style telephone) it was at least clean.
I was particularly impressed with the well-stocked mini-bar which was very reasonably priced - 2 Euros for a 50 cl bottle of vodka - but then maybe that too was former Communist era stock. The internet worked (though I think I was picking up the public signal from the square rather than that of the hotel) as did all the light bulbs.
However it all went downhill from there. The bed was particularly uncomfortable with the bottom sheet refusing to keep company with the coarse, and uninvitingly-stained, matress whilst the top cover seemed to be a blanket wrapped in what looked like a fitted undersheet and so sort of bunched in the places it wasn't needed and emptied where it was. Fortunately (or maybe not) it was a warm night.
Unique Quality: My room turned out to be next to the lift shaft which didn't actually bother me that much as I can sleep through anything (and a few beers beers and a glass of wine helped). The lack of AC meant I had to leave the window open (with the curtians drawn) and when I woke in the morning it was to the sound of a pile-driver on the next door building site (once again that wasn't a problem - it didn't actually wake me up, it was simply the first sound that I heard before the lift joined the dawn chorus).
Then breakfast - that was a total scrummage. There was far too many people for the space available: the food, coffee, cutlery and crockery weren't being topped up fast enough; tables weren't being cleared and the couple of staff that were around were just nodding their heads (not a good thing in Bulgaria) and waving their hands around in surrender.
I managed to get plate of what I needed and wrung the last half cup from the coffee thermos. I squeezed onto an already clutttered table, with a couple of other guys doing similar. Most people were just filling a plate and heading back to their rooms with it.
OK, such is life. It was cheap and the friendly receptionist apologetic.
The story's not over though. As my day progressed, first wandering around the city and then getting the bus down to Skopje, I became plagued by an increasing number of unrelievable itches, several of which grew blister-like and maddeningly irritating. By lunchtime several had grown to almost golfball proprtions and had begun to weep. I'll give the hotel the benefit of the doubt on that one - it could have been a mosquito or two that got to me through the curtained open window but it could just as easily have been fleas and I'd a shower that morning (a tale in its own right) before I left and so there was no physical evidence.
Anyway I'll give this one a miss next visit.
Directions: On the corner of the block behind the Ivan Vasov Theatre.
The hotel is located in the heart of Sofia, close to theatres, cinemas, exhibitions halls, banks, Ministries and all the State Departments. It is a rather old place, built in 1935.
There is a nice Chinese restaurant on the seconf floor. It is not something special but the food is OK and they serve pretty fast which is crusial when one has to stick up the lunchbreaks time limitations :) That is why I am having my luch there from time to time.
I haven't see the rooms, so I can not tell about that.
Unique Quality: - television-satellite TV
- shower cabin
- radio-alarm clock
Directions: - Central railway station - 2 êm.
- Central bus station - 2êm.
- Sofia Airport - 14 êm.
1 Gurko Street, Sofia
1 Boulevard Bulgaria, PO Box 325, Sofia
4 Narodno Sabranie Square, Sofia
Solunska Street 30, Sofia
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