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“Everything was perfect”

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Sofia Hotel Balkan, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Ranked #18 of 135 Hotels in Sofia
Reviewed 24 February 2014

This hotel made my visit to Sofia just perfect . Location is great for tourists - right in the middle of the centre. Staff is very friendly and always helpful. They speak very well English and give good recommendations (not only the touristy stuff). Breakfast is very good too. Thank you for the wonderful stay!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank E K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GMSheratonSofia, General Manager at Sofia Hotel Balkan, a Luxury Collection Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 20 March 2014

Dear Valued Guest,

I would like to share with you that I am really happy to see you have enjoyed your stay with us and the members of our staff and services have fulfilled your expectations.

Please know that your positive comments are motivating us to continue improving our standards and performance.

Therefore, I would like to thank you once more for your invaluable input and we are looking forward to welcome you again at the Sofia Hotel Balkan A Luxury Collection Hotel.


Sincerely Yours,
Athanasios Pantazis
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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538 - 544 of 1,135 reviews

Reviewed 20 February 2014

Introduction:

I was willing to discover a new place for a private city trip and choose Sofia.
As a SPG member, I contacted The Balkan Hotel, now a property ran under The Luxury Collection brand, formerly Sheraton, both from the Starwood Group.
Mrs. Kiatova, the Reservation Manager, and Mrs Shivarova, answered all my questions and requests very professionally and in a real friendly manner.
She could even confirm that I would be upgraded in an Executive Suite with a small balcony allowing me to smoke.

I was about to make a detailed review of this hotel, as I usually do, but I don’t see the point spending hours to do that.
My first moments in this property confirmed the poor comments of many other members.
“In urgent need of renovation”.
This is the first time I am stating to avoid a place until they renovate unless you do expect a super deal and feel right about having poor accommodation.

Some troubles I experienced right away:

- Regular Wifi or Ethernet wasn’t working on arrival. I was told to connect to one of the free Wifi around, and that was like going back in time. I could not watch any YouTube stuff! The best I could do is get a couple of mails. Browsing was truly hard.
On top of that, as other members mentioned, I had a written warning that if I connect to whatever other network I would be charged anyway. Indeed, do they spy on us?

- I was upgraded in an executive (huge) suite, but the bathroom was just a joke. The separate shower was a small add on cheap looking cabinet, very poor shower for such a suite. When turning on the water everything fell apart. I couldn't believe it as another member already mentioned this. It is still not fixed! No way you can have a shower in there as nothing works.
I tried the bath as an alternative and turned on the shower…it was cold. It took forever before it started to get a little warm but the hand held shower was almost giving no water and spiting all over the place.
In short, having a shower in this hotel is a nightmare.

- Some lights were missing bulbs and most of them were simply not plugged in on arrival. I had to plug them in myself.

- The bathrobes and slippers looks like they have been worn out by many other guests previously.

- There is no spare toilet paper and the roll was half way used on arrival.

- I searched everywhere but couldn’t even find a pen or paper!

Conclusion:

On top of the room state, the corridors and lobby give you that impression that the lights aren’t turned on. It’s a cold and depressing atmosphere.

I have to say that the Balkan Hotel Staff was quite nice on check out as they were in general. Although they were a little surprised that I choose not to stay, they took great care of checking me out and even had a very nice gesture. They only charged the night I stayed, not the full booking (which was prepaid though). I shall once again mention Mrs Shivarova for that.
Much appreciated.

Once again, the disappointment is more about the owners of a place not choosing to invest in the future and hoping to take as much milk as possible from the cow. Not about the staff that in many places like this are doing their best to compensate the lack of comfort of the guest.

Dates of stays:
February 14th till 15th, 2014.

Thanks for reading.
Stephane

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
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1  Thank StephaneBxl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GMSheratonSofia, General Manager at Sofia Hotel Balkan, a Luxury Collection Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 20 March 2014

Dear Valued Guest,

Let me thank you, for sharing your thoughts and positive feelings about the services and hospitality that our employees have extended to you during your stay at the Sofia Hotel Balkan A Luxury Collection Hotel. Your valuable comments will contribute to our team’s ongoing efforts to monitor and improve our service standards and help us in our continuous search for excellence.

I am very sorry that we have failed to fulfill your expectation about the facilities in the rooms and bathrooms, as well as the free wifi. In regards to your comments, I would like to kindly inform you that I have discussed your remarks in details with the concerned departments and let me assure you that corrective action has been taken accordingly.

Once again thank you very much for your invaluable input and please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience experienced during your stay with us. As such we would be delighted to welcome you back to Sofia Hotel Balkan A Luxury Collection Hotel next time your travels bring you to Sofia.


Sincerely Yours,
Athanasios Pantazis
General Manager

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Reviewed 18 February 2014

The location is great as fellow reviewers pointed out. I am not a Sheraton regular but one should really revamp the rooms. Apart from the odd smell (smoking?) everything seemed and/or was too old or inconvenient (rock hard bed). Service and breakfast were good, so was buffet lunch but such rooms you do not expect. Maybe I was unlucky but heard similar stories.

Stayed: February 2014, travelled on business
Thank JasperHofman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GMSheratonSofia, General Manager at Sofia Hotel Balkan, a Luxury Collection Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 14 March 2014

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you, for sharing with us your thoughts about the services and facilities experienced during your stay at the Sofia Hotel Balkan A Luxury Collection Hotel.

I was very pleased to read that the members of our staff and our breakfast have fulfilled your expectations.
Let me assure you, that your comments about the accommodation and more specifil the smoking in the rooms which is something really hard to control, have already been taken into consideration.

Please know that we will continue to do our utmost to meet and exceed your expectations. As such we would be delighted to welcome you back to Sofia Hotel Balkan A Luxury Collection Hotel next time your travels bring you to Sofia.


Sincerely Yours,
Athanasios Pantazis
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2014

The location of this hotel is convenient if you're looking for a city centre stay, and most taxi drivers are aware of it despite the level of English being relatively poor amongst them. The staff were quite helpful were generally able to assist with most queries - I was also allowed to check in earlier than normal as I arrived earlier than expected, and this was quite handy.

I stayed on the first floor near the conference rooms - it was fairly busy and I could hear a lot of noise with set up etc - however I was on business and the set up was for the event I was there for, so I can't complain too much! The room itself was of a good size and looked out on to the car park and front of the hotel, and let in a lot of natural light which is big positive for me personally. There was good desk space in the room and the bathroom was of a decent standard, although there were some cracks in the wall.

The reception/lobby area was quite impressive and the casino not too bad in terms of games available. The breakfast room was of a good size and being vegetarian there were enough options for the 5 days I stayed. Although it is an old hotel, it has a bit of character and all in all wouldn't mind staying here again.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled on business
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3  Thank MishMashed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GMSheratonSofia, General Manager at Sofia Hotel Balkan, a Luxury Collection Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 3 February 2014

Dear Valued Guest,

I would like to sincerely thank you for sharing your positive thoughts and feelings about the services and facilities at the Sofia Hotel Balkan A Luxury Collection Hotel.

I was very pleased to read that the members of our staff have fulfilled your expectations and you had an enjoyable stay in our hotel.

It is through responses like yours that we can evaluate our services and I thank you once more. Let me assure you that your sincere and kind comments have already been shared between all our team members.


Sincerely Yours,
Athanasios Pantazis
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2014

Starting with the positive, the hotel has an amazing location. It is right in the heart of Sofia and you can basically walk everywhere. The staff is really friendly and polite and makes you feel at home.

On the other hand, wouldn't necessarily classify the hotel as safe since I had someone come into my room while I was sleeping and steal my belongings (the rooms are card activated so I am guessing it was probably someone from the staff). I was staying at a pretty big suite and the living room was separated from the bedroom. I had left my watch and my wallet in the living and went to bed in the bedroom. When I woke up my watch and the cash from my wallet was gone. The hotel is supposedly running an investigation but at the end of the day they are not willing to reimburse me for my loss.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled solo
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4  Thank Kaloyan H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GMSheratonSofia, General Manager at Sofia Hotel Balkan, a Luxury Collection Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 11 February 2014

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for your kind words about our staff at the Sofia Hotel Balkan A
Luxury Collection Hotel.

As for the loss of your belongings, please allow me to remind you that, in
addition to personally escorting you to the Police Station for the necessary
statements, we initiated our own internal investigation immediately after
receiving your complaint. All cameras and door locker list were checked, and
our security team interviewed all of the staff on shift.
Yet, there is no proof that anyone but you had been in your room or that the
items in question were indeed taken from your room.

Allow me also to mention that, as courtesy to our guests, we provide free of
charge safes in all our rooms, and the safe in your room was not used.

Nevertheless, we are still waiting for the official Police investigation to
end and we will get back to you with the final results.


Sincerely Yours,

Athanasios Pantazis
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2014

Ok, so it's a little dated and the in-house gentlemen's club, casino and string of eerie shops seem rather out-of-place in what you'd expect of the Sheraton, but still, it's an incredible relic of modern history. Go into the courtyard and you will find a real 4th century relic. The rooms are big, clean, comfortable, but just a tad dim. The lounge is hardly packed (off season) and you can enjoy a quiet drink and read here till the staff remind you it's "last orders". Excellent spot to explore Sofia on foot, via buses or the underground.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank OutBoundInBound
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GMSheratonSofia, General Manager at Sofia Hotel Balkan, a Luxury Collection Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 10 January 2014

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts concerning your experience at the Sofia Hotel Balkan A Luxury Collection Hotel through Trip Advisor.

Please know that your comments and concerns about the amenities and services have already been taken into consideration.

We are thankful that you chose to stay with us, and I would like to assure you that we will continue to do our utmost to meet and exceed your expectations. As such we would be delighted to welcome you back to Sofia Hotel Balkan A Luxury Collection Five Star Hotel next time your travels bring you to Sofia.

Sincerely Yours,
Athanasios Pantazis
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2014

Very convenient location, staff quite helpful ,nice breakfast, but there was no fresh orange juice, and you could only have some filter coffee or black tea there was no other coffee choice:( What disappointed us most was the fact that there was no swimming pool.

Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
1  Thank Anjia A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GMSheratonSofia, General Manager at Sofia Hotel Balkan, a Luxury Collection Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 10 January 2014

Dear Valued Guest,

Let me thank you, for sharing your thoughts and positive feelings about the services and hospitality that our employees have extended to you during your stay at the Sofia Hotel Balkan A Luxury Collection Hotel.

In reference with your suggestion about our breakfast variety, I would like to assure you that I have already paid a very special attention regarding your comment and I fully believe that next time when your travels bring you to Sofia we will meet all of your expectations.

Thank you once again for your invaluable input and we are looking forward to welcome you again at the Sofia Hotel Balkan A Luxury Collection Hotel.

Sincerely Yours,
Athanasios Pantazis
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sofia Hotel Balkan, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Address: pl.Sveta Nedelya 5, Sofia 1000, Bulgaria
Region: Bulgaria > Sofia Region > Sofia
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Casino Hotel in Sofia
#13 Luxury Hotel in Sofia
#20 Business Hotel in Sofia
Price Range: £75 - £196 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sofia Hotel Balkan, a Luxury Collection Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 184
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sophisticated hotel in traditionally styled, 5-story building located at city center. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sheraton Sofia
Sofia Sheraton

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