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“Superb hotel”
Review of Helena Sands Hotel

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Helena Sands Hotel
Ranked #10 of 220 Hotels in Sunny Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
77 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Superb hotel”
Reviewed 7 June 2012 via mobile

Having just read the previous review, I wonder whether this was the same hotel!
We had booked with Travel Republic and were paying £24 a day half board. What a delight!
We arrived at 2 in the morning and found a plated meal and coffee waiting. My room (a twin room for single occupancy) was huge, clean, modern, with a balcony overlooking the main pool and down to the beach and the Black Sea.
The hotel has 2 outdoor unheated pools and an indoor heated pool, gym, sauna, spa etc. Treatments in the spa range from £15 up to £45 for a hot stone massage.
The restaurant offers buffet breakfast and dinner. Chefs are on hand to cook eggs to order at breakfast and meat dishes at dinner. There is a huge selection of fruits, cereals, cold meats and cheeses, breads, full English etc for breakfast.
Dinner always had soups, interesting salads, a wide selection of meats and fish and a sweet selection to keep everyone happy.
There was a barbecue at weekends and 2 theme nights. we had a Greek evening with ouzo, moussaka, stuffed vine leaves, olives etc and an Italian night. This was in addition to the full menu.
Free wifi is available in the lounge and there is a team of activity leaders if you want to take part in community keep fit, beach volleyball, boules etc.
The gated complex is a 30 minute stroll from the town centre of Sunny Beach and there is no traffic and is very quiet at night.
A very relaxing week with warm and friendly staff, excellent food and efficient service.
Just don't change your money in the hotel as they offer a very poor exchange rate.

Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
16 Thank Chrisnik48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Lancs
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 May 2012

Hi. I have just returned from two weeks stay at the Royal Palace Helena Sands. I read other reviews before I booked and yes it's true, visually the hotel and the grounds are truly stunning. 5*
Yes, they do have a strict policy about bringing in any food from outside the hotel . However, I and other people managed to sneak in packets of nuts,sweets and little items that could fit into our bags. This took me back to my naughty school child days. They do expect you to change for dinner and there were people who dressed to impress, and some like myself who who dress for comfort. The food offered at the hotel in my opinion is three star in a five star hotel. It's buffet at both breakfast and evening meal. Although I found some of the dishes strange, by mix -n-match one can always fill one's plate and stomach. They don't waste anything. If the food isn't used up one day they cut it up smaller and make it into a salad or soup the next day. Only problem with this is that meat will have been out on display for hours. This probably explains why I and others that I spoke with had the runs on a couple of days. The choice of fruits and prepared desserts was a delight for the eyes to behold. A good selection of cheeses and breads too. For wine drinkers there is a good selection and free glasses of champagne at breakfast !
The rooms are larger than average. My room 1719 had a side view with a decent size balcony with round table and two chairs that overlooked the large pools of other hotels and a side view to the sea. Although this hotel is at the far end of Sunny Beach I found that sitting out on the balcony in the mornings to be quite noisy but it quietened down after 2pm. There is a phone in the bedroom and the bathroom. There is a bath with shower attachment and a red emergency cord over the bath. There is a tendency for water to find its way to the floor which then becomes very slippery. I used the bathmat and towel to mop it up. Perhaps this is why they need to change the towels every day? The hotel is very clean. Its mostly all tiles and there are ample cleaners about all throughout the hotel every day all day. The weather was very hot and sunny one day and raining the next. On hot days people lounged by the pool. There were several German ladies who were exhibiting their middle-aged nude bodies along with their mid-drifts proudly on the sun beds. On rainy days people just sat indoors in the bar area,or went to the beauty therapy section for pampering. Take plenty of levs, ney hundreds of if you want therapies. The sauna starts at about £15 + There is also a very small indoor pool that I just didn't think was worth the effort, so I didn't use it. The first week that I was there were no English apart from myself, they were mostly German people, but the second week plenty of English to talk with. Met some lovely people too. And Chelsea won !!! The staff are all very polite and I found them helpful. They like tips,tips tips and you will know when its not enough because they don't say thank you. You can buy postcards at reception (1 lev)and stamps (1 lev) and leave them at reception for post collection. However, it remains to be seen whether mine will arrive at their destinations in U.K. as not everything I wrote on them extols the beauty of Bulgaria. I hired a car for 10 days and went far beyond the "Beach Ghettos" into the small villages and saw the distressing sights of people in abject poverty and with my own eyes saw starving manged dogs,dead dogs that had been run over and by the smell and flys had been there for some time. I waved at romany familys on the move and the children stared at me with vacant expression not used to being smiled at and waved to. But one adult waved back and that made my day. The best thing that I remember are the wild flowers growing along the roadside and the eight ducks that were swimming in a pothole. Yes the potholes, more potholes than road in some places. If you see cars swerving all over the road they are probably not drunk just avoiding the --------. Several people that I spoke to in the hotel had returned to Helena Sands just for the hotel but had never ventured beyond the hotels grounds. I think Bulgaria is like Spain the coastline is overdeveloped whilst the stunning scenery and interesting life is further inland. If you want to eat,sleep and not care whats around the corner then this hotel just by the beach should satisfy your needs.

Room Tip: On reflection I think that the sea facing rooms are probably quieter as they are away from the other...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
17 Thank Mondgg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
england
Level Contributor
96 reviews
92 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 May 2012

Nice modern hotel in the quieter end of Sunny Beach. Indoor and outdoor pools (although the outdoor one didn't seem heated). Well kept gardens/grounds. Room didn't have seperate shower and bath, or robe/slippers. Built, I believe in 2004 and probably still the best in Sunny Beach.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
4 Thank sydney69England
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 January 2012

I visited the Helena Sands Hotel in June 2011 for a week with my boyfriend. The hotel was beautiful and clean. Located at the edge of the sunny beach strip, it was only a short walk into the centre with restaurants and shops. I would recommend this hotel for couples and families.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
10 Thank Caroline H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
Level Contributor
31 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 January 2012

This is one of the best (if not the best) hotel in Sunny Beach. We have stayed there twice and we loved it both times. The service is excellent, hotel has it's own beach which in Sunny Beach helps a lot. Rooms are clean, food is really good. Take the half board plan if you go, this place has better food than most restaurants in SB. Overall very very good and very comparable to a 4 star western hotel.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank ZapMol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Littlehampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 September 2011

My partner and I have just returned from a week at Sunny beach where we stayed in the Helena Sands hotel. This hotel was absolutely lovely and impressed from the moment we arrived and exceeded our expectations. Our room was large and immaculately clean. We had a mini bar in our room although it's very expensive so I would not recommend eating/drinking too much from it. Every room has a balcony, we didn't pay extra for a pool view so had to settle for the view of the neighbouring hotel, but we could see the sea from our balcony. Our rooms were cleaned every day with fresh towels and sheets, even down to little details like pleating the toilet roll.

Breakfast was included in our stay and it did not fail to impress. Served between 730 - 1030 there is absolutely something for everyone. There were cereals, meats, breads, fruit and a full English breakfast option as well as fresh juice, coffee, tea etc and even sparkling wine!

We arrived on 5/9/11 just as the season was beginning to wind down (although it was still between 27-30 degrees every day) and it made for a lovely relaxed atmosphere in the hotel. There were no screaming kids to contend with and we never had to worry about getting a sun lounger even if it was 1pm there were always some available. This did not take away from the atmosphere as the hotel was still busy but in a more relaxed non hetic way. The pool area was lovely, never overflowing with people and also room to swim. The water is a little cold when you first step in however but you don't take long to warm up.

Helena Sands is on the same resort as the Helena park hotel and what we did find is that people from the Helena Park ( located behind Helena Sands) did sometimes come in and use the sun loungers and pool. They have different colour towels, which is meant to mean the staff move them back to their pool (which isn't half as nice) although we never saw the staff do this when we were there, which was a little frustrating as they had better loungers when we had paid to stay there. However as we never struggled to find a lounger we never said anything, but I'd imagine in more peak times you would want someone to move them on as it isn't actually their hotel.

Helena Sands is located at the North end of sunny beach and from extensive walking from South to North I would say that I would never consider staying anywhere other than the North area of Sunny Beach, had we stayed in South Sunny Beach I think my partner and I would not have enjoyed ourselves half as much and had a very . My partner and I are still quite young (25 & 33) but even for us South Sunny beach was far too loud and crowded to have enjoyed ourselves half as much if we had stayed in this area. We still had evenings in the middle of Sunny Beach but it was lovely to be able to walk away from it and head back to the quieter end of Sunny Beach, where you do notice a visible improvement on the hotels as you walk up. It was about a 20 min stroll to the centre of Sunny Beach, not very far at all and gave you the best of both worlds, enjoying the bustling areas when you want and returning to the quieter end for a decent nights sleep

We personally stayed in Sunny Beach for the entirety of our holiday although we visited Nessebar on one occasion. We paid 1 lev each on the bus (50p) each way, which was very reasonable. Nessebar itself was a nice change from Sunny Beach but still very touristy, we only spent a couple of hours here.

We chose not to eat at any of the hotels restaurants as they were expensive (although similar to what you would pay in the UK for a nice meal, in relation to everywhere else it was expensive) we found that we could have drinks, sides and main meals for about £20-25 or less. Cocktails are buy one get 1 free everywhere in Sunny beach, which work out at around £2.50 each! I would recommend Veny's bar for drinks, 5 mins from Helena Sands, not massively different to other beach bars but the waitresses in there are politer than a lot of others.

Overall I wouldn't hesitate to stay at this hotel again and if we return to Sunny Beach, which we probably will, we would return to this hotel. The only criticisms that I have are firstly security. There are a couple of security guards working on the resort 24 hours a day. Whilst this is great as it makes you feel secure on your holiday it did also create the feeling of 'being watched'. On my last day I popped out for around 15 mins and on trying the return via the pool area a security guard stopped and asked for my pass. We were not given passes as such, only a small card with our room number and on no occasion were we informed that we needed to present them on entering the resort. The security guard refused to let me in, which annoyed me immensely as I had walked past him dozens of times through our holiday and he never stopped me before. It was only when 2 guys from the hotel pretended that they knew me that he allowed me in. He couldn't speak English either which did not help the situation.

The other criticism would be their policy on food. You are not allowed to bring ANY food into the resort whatsoever and we witnessed security guards chasing people who had wondered in off the beach finishing their ice creams, crisps etc. We found this really extreme and completely ridiculous. Although we understood that they want their customers to use their facilities we found it absurd that they would prevent customers from eating snacks etc in the resort. We could understand actual foods like meals, wine etc, but people were actually be prevented from bringing in a pack of biscuits to eat in their rooms/ by the poolside etc. With little snack choice from the hotel during the day it actually meant on a couple of occasions my partner and I did not eat between breakfast and going out for dinner as it was not worth the hassle. In the end we took a massive beach bag and went to the local supermarket, where i smuggled in a packet of biscuits, which i was not giving up for any of the security staff! one man who was clearly not aware of this policy (it is only stated in very small letters on the hotel info in the rooms) tried to come in with a few bags of food and actually had a mini scuffle with the security guard about it trying to get it. Be aware especially if you end up spending a fair amount on food/drink because if you get caught you have to throw it away/eat it there and then.

Lastly, although thoroughly recommending this hotel a couple of the staff need to learn how to smile/customer service. This was most apparent for us at the pool side bar where we were told to bring smaller change if we wanted serving next time (our drinks came to 7 lev and we were paying with a 20 lev note) however 90% of the staff were very pleasant.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
21 Thank doomedmuffin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 September 2011

Helena Sands was a lovely hotel to stay in. Towards the end of a line of hotels, it was at the quieter end and so perfect for a couples holiday whether young or old. The facilities were excellent and we were really impressed with the food. Having paid for half board we weren't sure what the quality would be like but it was really good and there was a lot of variety. Whilst we were right on the beach front we were more than happy to stay by the pool. The only slightly negative thing I can say is that the pool was quite cold but this is quite refreshing after baking in the sun!

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Julie G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Helena Sands Hotel

Property: Helena Sands Hotel
Address: Sunny Beach 8240, Bulgaria (Formerly Riu Palace)
Region: Bulgaria > Burgas Province > Sunny Beach
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
#4 Family Hotel in Sunny Beach
#5 Romantic Hotel in Sunny Beach
#8 Luxury Hotel in Sunny Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Helena Sands Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 190
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the Sunny Beach resort area on the Black Sea. 3 to 7-story building and garden villas. Situated directly on the beach. Sun loungers and parasols on the beach (additional charge). In a 14,500 m2 garden together with the Riu Helena Park Hotel. 2.5 km from the centre of Sunny Beach. 28 km from Burgas airport. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Visa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Helena Sands Hotel
Helena Sands Hotel Bulgaria/Sunny Beach

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