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“Overnights in Kempinski with perfect service” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena

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Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena
Ranked #2 of 96 Hotels in Bansko
Certificate of Excellence
Hamburg, Germany
Level Contributor
180 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 184 helpful votes
“Overnights in Kempinski with perfect service”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 March 2012

Check in was running very smoothly,
Car & luggage handover in some seconds,
reception very friendly and professional, room was not ready yet,
we dicided to have lunch in the italian Restaurant, it was a very nice & successful experience.
Ravioli, Rip-eye-steak perfect medium raw, service friendly professional,
the SPA; concerning to my wife, Product from St. Barth and perfect treatment, friendly was running very smoodly.
tha asian restaurant with a excellent offer, friendly like everywhere in the Hotel, the Service Manager Milko sellected the wine thank you it was a very good choise.
Buffet-Restaurant for Breakfast, with a very good offer and service.
after my experiance you are really very welcome in this hotel they know whats Hospitality mean.
Check out with surprice, the invoice ready in time, the car was cleaned the luggage inside and a very nice and real welcomeback what else you may expect.
thank you Mr. Orlando and Team Kempinski, hope to see you soon.

Room Tip: Mountain view is the best
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank N-Joy-Bleisure
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KHGA, General Manager at Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena, responded to this review, 24 March 2012
Dear Madam/Sir,

Thank you for choosing Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko.
There is no other reward for our efforts than your words of appreciation and satisfaction about your stay at our property.

Our team is already looking forward to welcoming you back.

Best regards,

Orlando Stefani
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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812 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (186)
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English first
Harpenden, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 March 2012

This was our second time in Bansko and we have stayed at the Kempinski Grand Arena both times. The hotel's main attributes are its location less than 30 seconds walk from the gondola lift, and the spa, which hotel guests can use for free, and offers a great way to unwind after a day skiing. Bedrooms are large and well appointed, with comfortable beds and large bathrooms with separate bath/shower and a good range of toiletries. The hotel bar, with its open fireplace, is elegant and well stocked (although the prices reflect this, with drinks costing three times what you would pay in other bars in the town). In short, it's fair to say the Grand Arena is the best hotel in Bansko.

However, this doesn’t tell the full story. Bansko is a great resort for beginners and intermediate skiers and for those looking for a bargain, and most of the hotels are aimed at that end of the market. It’s not difficult for the Grand Arena to be the best - any decent 4 star hotel would stand out above the rest, and the Grand Arena really is no better than an average 4 star hotel in Western Europe, North America or Asia. The lack of competition in Bansko means management have become complacent and it doesn’t deliver the 5 star experience you would expect from a Kempinski hotel.

Most ski visitors book on a half board basis, which includes breakfast and dinner in the Gallery buffet restaurant. Breakfast is good, but the evening meals were consistently poor. When we visited last year, they were average, and have become worse. The food is consistently over-cooked, lacking in flavour and not complementary. On two nights, the Gallery was closed so we were "upgraded" to the Come Prima restaurant, an Italian restaurant within the hotel which is marketed as one of the best in Bansko. Because the meal was included with the accommodation, we didn't complain, but would have been outraged if we had visited as non-guests and paid the menu price. If this "Italian" restaurant was to open in Rome, Bologna or Florence, it would be laughed out of town, along with its microwave meals, dried pasta and flavourless sauces. Any hotel deserving of 5 star status should have good food, not food that will remind you of school dinner time. After three nights eating in the hotel, we decided to give our pre-paid meals a miss and sampled some of the local restaurants instead, which generally provide good quality, traditional and rustic Bulgarian food in a cheerful environment where you can sit for hours and drink your way through a few carafes of the local wine.

During our first couple of days there, the resort started to warm up for spring, but the hotel did nothing to adjust its heating. This meant that on the second night, despite turning off the radiators in the room, the temperature in our room hit 29 degrees celsius. There was an air conditioning control panel in our room, which we tried to use but didn't work. We spoke to management about this the next day and were told that the air conditioning unit was disabled for the winter and couldn't be switched on. We were told that if it was too hot at night, we should sleep with our balcony door open. This meant that the room turned into a freezer and we spent the next couple of nights being serenaded by a pack of local dogs who gather at night by the gondola station. The walls are very thin in the hotel, so this provided an alternative soundtrack to the normal noises of our neighbours coughing and flushing the toilet in the night. Being told to leave your window open is a pragmatic solution which might be OK in an average hotel, but should never be the answer in a hotel where guest comfort is the main priority. This would never have been suggested in a proper 5 star hotel - they would have just turned the air conditioning on in the room.

This is typical of the kind of situation you will encounter in the Grand Arena – staff are professional and courteous but do not understand what it means to deliver a 5 star experience to guests and will stop and shrug their shoulders rather than going the extra mile. In mid March, the hotel was winding down for the end of the ski season and was under-staffed as a result. The ski room was not consistently staffed, so we usually had to take our own boots and skis off the racking in the morning, and rooms were not serviced as expected (in 7 days, the morning service was missed once and the evening service missed three times).

There are two final points I would raise. Firstly, the hotel (and travel companies) mention in marketing that Grand Arena guests get a VIP pass to skip the gondola queue in the morning. This is true, but you have to pay extra for it. This might be worthwhile if it’s February and the queues are an hour long, but probably not required if it’s March and they are 5 minutes long. Probably best to see how the queues are before deciding whether to make this investment.

Finally, as an expensive hotel in Eastern Europe, the hotel attracts a large number of wealthy Russians and their entourages, which can present the occasional irritation. Some examples would be being elbowed out of the lift by a bodyguard so his client could get in, encountering a group of fat naked men in the mixed sauna (ignoring the sign saying swimming trunks should be worn at all times), and sitting on a table in the restaurant next to a family who were playing a movie on an iPad that lasted the whole of the meal and drowned out every other sound in the restaurant. Clearly they like to treat the hotel as their home while they stay, but it’s not always respectful to other guests.

Despite some negative comments, I would definitely recommend the Grand Arena as a good place to stay in Bansko and would return again – but it would be good to see Kempinski make an investment in the restaurants and staff training to get the hotel to a proper 5 star standard.

Room Tip: We upgraded to a Deluxe Mountain View room for an extra charge. I would definitely recommend this...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Daniel D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KHGA, General Manager at Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena, responded to this review, 24 March 2012
Dear Sir,

We would like to thank you for sharing your opinion about your stay at our hotel in Bansko.
It is with a feeling of regret when we learned that your stay with us was not meeting your expectations. Our major priority is to improve and constantly maximize the level of service that we provide to our customers and we are very grateful for your constructive feedback.
Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconveniences caused.

Best Regards,

Orlando Stefani,
General Manager.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sofia, Bulgaria
Level Contributor
206 reviews
125 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 141 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 March 2012

The hotel is well situated - going out, you're on the piste and 50 meters away from the gondola base station. The building is new and it has atmosphere, especially when the fire is burning in the big fireplace in the main foyer. The staff at reception are friendly and professional, but all the other staff needs some more training / supervision. The spa center is quite good, inside & open air pools and jacuzzi, good saunas; needs more attention from the cleaning staff.
All in all, this hotel could be your base for a great skiing experience in Bansko (where, btw, at this moment, the slopes are fabulous and comparable to any winter resort in Austria/Italy/Switzerland, but with less tourists and... almost 2 times cheaper...)

Room Tip: Choose a room with a mountain view, although they are a bit more expensive
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Stan040
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KHGA, General Manager at Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena, responded to this review, 24 March 2012
Dear Sir,

Allow me to thank you personally for sharing your opinion regarding your stay at Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko. We are more than happy that you have enjoyed the cosy ambient of our Lobby Bar area, as well the Zalez Spa. As we are constantly seeking the best way to provide impeccable five star service your feedback towards our employees will be taken under serious consideration. I assure you that during your next stay the service that we provide will meet your expectations.

We will be happy to welcoming you back many more times and ensure your best vacation.

Regards,

Orlando Stefani
General Manager.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pristina, Kosovo
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 March 2012

We have been here for a short stay a few weeks ago, we liked it so much so we came back for a week. It is a great hotel, rooms are nice and well equipped. The hotel has all you need, swimming pool is quite large, the restaurants are good, Teppanyaki is our favorite. What is great is the fact that you can rent skis in the hotel and you are just a few steps away from the gondola town station. Don't need a car once you are here. Rates are fair. We highly recommend it and are looking forward to our next stay.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Christoph L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KHGA, General Manager at Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena, responded to this review, 24 March 2012
Dear Sir,

First of all we would like to say a big thank you for choosing the Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko.
We are delighted to read your positive comments on our hotel, especially about our location, room features, Sushi & Teppanyaki restaurant and the VIP ski pass, that we are all very proud of.

We are looking forward to welcoming you back and ensure you with a wonderful “Kempinski experience”.

Best regards,

Orlando Stefani
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
292 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 March 2012

Stayed at the Kepinski for a weeks skiing. It's quite a bit more to stay at compared to some of the other Hotels but would suggest money well spent. Rationale for those thinking of the cheaper options being: it's right next to the Gondala (which you have to use to access the slopes) you get a VIP ski pass and can walk past the (long)queues
of those staying elsewhere, plus you can ski to right outside on the Ski road at the end of the day. Plus they have a ski room where you can leave your skis etc ( dont think many others offer this and you would have to leave it in your room etc. The food ( buffet) is excellent, as much as you want and of very good quality. Rooms are spacious clean and comfortable, with lovely bathrooms with seperate bath and powerful shower. One personal downside is that they don't do draught beer and it's pricey for small bottles which arn't to British preferences and this means you are likely to seek your Après ski elsewhere. All in all though a lovely hotel and would definately recommend - you won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed March 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Nos6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KHGA, General Manager at Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena, responded to this review, 24 March 2012
Dear Madam/ Sir,

Thank you for choosing Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko for your ski vacation.
It is a big pleasure for us to learn that you have enjoyed your stay at our property. We are proud to say that our hotel provides a real five star experience to the customers. This includes a variety of services like the VIP ski pass, ski room, luxurious and spacious rooms and many others that we are very proud of. Regarding the beverage prices kindly note that they are related to the “best quality for money” principle. We will take into consideration your wish to serve draught beer.

Looking forward to welcoming you back many more times.

Best regards,

Orlando Stefani
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lausanne, Switzerland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 March 2012

Hello,

We were staying quite a week in Bansko Kempinski hotel and we had a lot pleasure.

-The perspnal are very Carefull and helpofull
-The 3 restaurants are giving and very good kitchen and atmospher...the japan restaurant with the Cook an the table is great and very nice.
-The Spa is make to get a good regenaration. Massage programm is big and the atmospher very fine.
-The piano bar with the liveband was great to relax and to dance.
-The room are top, all is make to have a good night.
The little problem was our proximity between our room with the piano bar...the acoustic was not the best.
Banskotown is a very big anf offer a lot of possibility for schoping or to go out in traditional localation.
The hotel has a very good situation centre the town and directly and the start to skilift.

No, wer are thinking about once in summer this plcace to decouver to make walking on the nice moutens and to enjoy the offer from hotel.

Room Tip: May be not to near from pianobar...
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Nicolas B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KHGA, General Manager at Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena, responded to this review, 24 March 2012
Dear Madam/ Sir,

We are more than happy to read your comment.
I have taken the liberty to pass your compliments to all colleagues. There is no other reward for our constant efforts than your words of appreciation.
In Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko we offer our guests a unique combination of cultural experience, best ski location, variety of facilities and five star service. As your constructive feedback is very important for us we assure you that such noise inconveniences will not occur during your next visit.

Looking forward to welcoming you back in Bansko.

Best regards,

Orlando Stefani
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sofia, Bulgaria
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 March 2012

I have been with friends in Kempinski Bansko for the weekend for the first time and I would say that it is worth the money I spend in Bansko Bulgaria. Even though the ski pass is overpriced and Bansko was crouded, the option to purchase the VIP pass for the lift was worthed because the hotel breakfast is very rich and of fine quality. The staff were friendy and the food was very tasty. The restaurants were good - buffet and a la cart, but my first choice is the sushi restaurant.

Room Tip: Rooms that are facing the sloops are the best ones.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Konstantin A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KHGA, General Manager at Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena, responded to this review, 24 March 2012
Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for sharing your opinion regarding your stay at Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko.

It is a pleasure to learn from your marks that you are satisfied with your weekend vacation at our property and especially with our facilities, food and friendly staff. Buying a VIP ski pass is a unique service offered only to our customers. It allows our guests direct access to the gondola cabins, without having to wait at the usual queue. This ensures more time and joy for skiing in the slopes.

We are looking forward to welcoming you back at the Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena.

Best regards from Bansko,

Orlando Stefani
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 Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena

Property: Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena
Address: Pirin Street 96, Bansko 2770, Bulgaria
Phone Number:
Region: Bulgaria > Blagoevgrad Province > Bansko
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Ski-In / Ski-Out Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Bansko
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Bansko
#1 Luxury Hotel in Bansko
#1 Romantic Hotel in Bansko
#2 Spa Hotel in Bansko
#2 Ski-In / Ski-Out Hotel in Bansko
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:5 star — Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena 5*
Number of rooms: 157
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Whether visiting Bansko for business or leisure purposes, Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena is the ideal base from which to work or explore all that the town has to offer. Located at the footsteps of the Pirin Mountains, the luxury hotel is situated right next to the Gondola lift station that takes you all the way up to highest slopes, half pipes and snowboard facilities. The shopping and cultural district of Bansko is also easily accessible within walking distance from the 5 stars hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kempinski Hotel Bansko
Kempinski Resort Grand Arena

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