In the recent years, Bulgaria has become a well sought-after travel destination. This is partly due to lower and more affordable vacation and holiday package prices in comparison to Western Europe – especially when it comes to ski resorts and spa complexes using natural hot springs. One of these popular winter destinations happens to be in Sandanski, Bulgaria – at the Interhotel Sandanski.
Interhotel Sandanski is one of the most popular hotels in Sandanski and Bulgaria when it comes to thermal healing springs and large spa complexes. It is still a top pick among those that enjoy natural mineral waters and relaxing holidays away from busy city streets.
With booking prices lower than most hotels with spas in Western Europe, I got curious and wanted to check out Interhotel Sandanski for myself.
The hotel review of Interhotel Sandanski is based on a three-night stay during the weekday. Even though the higher weekend rate was avoided, the price of the hotel per night is similar to other Balkan hotels with a four-star rating that include thermal pools and spa centers.
About Interhotel Sandanski
The Hotel and its Amenities
Interhotel Sandanski has a recognizable cascade building, that makes it easily noticeable. Even though the hotel itself is old, it’s been refurbished, and I can say that it’s really comfy and well-designed on the inside.
There is a nice lobby area, three-themed restaurants, a billiards room and a lobby-bar where you can chill out when you decide to leave the ever-attractive mineral water pools, the pool bar, and spa. It even has five tennis courts and a kid’s playroom.
I’ve read reviews of people complaining about the hotel being dirty or badly maintained, but I personally didn’t notice anything like that.
The hotel has possibly the best possible location. It is near the pedestrian area that takes you directly to the gorgeous city park “Saint Vrach,” and lake of Sandanski.
Just across the entrance of the hotel, you can find the main shopping street that will lead you to the center and cultural and historical landmarks.
The main shopping street, across the hotel, contains bars, restaurants, and traditional Bulgarian restaurants known as mehani, where you can have an affordable dinner in an authentic Bulgarian atmosphere.
Alongside the hotel, there is a river that makes the sleep at night even better thanks to its relaxing sounds, plus there are fountains, flowers, and trees that create a wonderful image.
Visitors traveling by car can park the car on a large asphalted parking in front of the hotel. At the time of our arrival, the parking was clean and almost empty; I don’t believe it will be a problem to find a parking spot during the high season due to the large amount of spaces at the parking lot.
The rooms in Interhotel Sandanski are spacious, modern, and well-furnished. I was surprised to read reviews of unsatisfied guests with the rooms because we loved our room. It was modern, clean, and had a wonderful balcony.
The bathroom, too, was surprisingly wide and clean. Maybe the shower head wasn’t brand new, but it wasn’t dirty, rusty or old. I have only positive words regarding our room.
At the reception, the staff was more than welcoming and helpful. We spent most of our time either outside or in the pools and therefore we didn’t really communicate with the employees too much. The guard at the entrance was nice, the receptionists were also trying their best to be helpful.
We had only one negative experience with an employee at the pool bar because she was a bit rude when we asked her whether there was water offered in the pool/spa area.
First Impressions of the Hotel
A guard welcomed us right at the entrance of the hotel, who checked our hotel voucher and let us on the property of the hotel.
Interhotel Sandanski has a large parking lot, so no need to worry about available spaces. It does not seem that that hotel has a valet because when we arrived there was no doorman or anyone in sight to help us with our bags. For a four-star hotel it was a disappointing entrance.
However, once we entered the building a whole new world was waiting for us. The interior of the hotel was beautiful, nicely decorated and with a modern feel. The reception area was filled with warm and welcoming staff to answer all your needs and make sure you have a wonderful stay.
I’ve read lots of negative reviews on the staff’s non-existent English language knowledge; however, we didn’t experience any issues. Even though Macedonian and Bulgarian are quite similar, and we could understand each other perfectly, we did use English at times and had no problems communicating with the staff.
After getting checked-in, we were impatient for the first impression. We weren’t disappointed with the view. The room was spacious, modern, and well-furnished.
The view from the balcony was awesome. It overlooked the pedestrian area of Sandanski where numerous bars and restaurants are located, alongside the city park and main shopping street.
During the Stay in Sandanski
Well, we had a good start after seeing the nice room and hotel premises. We were hungry and went for dinner in the indoor restaurant at the hotel.
Interhotel Sandanski has three restaurants and a lobby and pool bar. The prices are on the higher end like any hotel, but the service was excellent, and the food was delicious. Luckily for us, the restaurants are not as expensive as our unforgettable lunch at the Brasserie Louis in Zurich.
We checked several restaurants, and ended up having our best dinner in a pizza place at the end of the street across the entrance of the hotel i.e. around Square Bulgaria.
In terms of the spa and the pools, both were great. There are three pools: two large both outdoor and indoor pools with mineral water, and one smaller outdoor thermal pool (38°C). The two large pools are connected via a covered corridor that you can swim through.
In our room, we found bath-robes to use for the spa and there is a side elevator (besides the two main elevators) that takes you directly to the spa from the rooms. In the spa complex, there is a Swedish sauna, a Turkish steam bath, heated spa lounge chairs, and a fitness center.
The indoor pool was a bit colder than I expected, but my personal favorite was the small thermal pool found outside. It may get a bit crowded, especially if the hotel is full of guests, but at the time of our visit there weren’t many people and at times we were even alone in it.
I must say that Interhotel Sandanski and Sandanski in general are not for party people. The streets were empty at night, and Sandanski looks like a ghost town.
We were walking around alone and only a person or two could be spotted during a two-hour walk. The same goes for the restaurants since most of them were almost empty; it was a bit sad, to be honest, but I guess it wasn’t high season and plus we were there during weekdays.
Sandanski Travel Guide: Things to See
Finally, I want to mention the sights and attractions that Sandanski as a town offers to visitors. Even though Sandanski is a small town there are several historical and cultural things to see.
Along the street across the hotel entrance, you can get to the Episcopal Basilica. It’s a wonderful place and I recommend it to everyone. The entrance fee was around 2 Bulgarian levs (€1) per person – definitely worth it!
Another ten steps and you get to the Sandanski Archeological Museum, while a longer walk takes you to the Spartak Monument.
I would also advise a walk to the park and lake, where you can take gorgeous photos and fill your lungs with fresh air. Also, you will get to see an amazing wooden house of the Slavic folklore Baba Yaga.
There’s also the St. Cosmas and Damian Monastery and some other random sights like a mini cave made of stone found in the park. If you are by car and don’t mind a day trip, then you should also visit the architectural reserve Town of Melnik.
Sad to Check Out
I was sad to check out from the hotel. I had a wonderful time, saw really cool things around Sandanski, and definitely made the most out of the mineral and thermal water pools.
Sandanski is not for everyone – it’s not a party city.
Nevertheless, if you want to just relax and escape the busy modern lifestyle, this is a great place to do so and treat your body with the love and care it deserves.
Interhotel Sandanski, a top pick among those that enjoy natural mineral waters with a spa and wellness center, is located by the city park St. Vrach in Sandanski, Bulgaria - offering nature, relaxation and a beautiful small town to explore.
- Affordable prices
- Excellent indoor and outdoor pools with warm mineral water
- Wonderful nature
- Spacious well-furnished rooms
- Great spa complex
- Free Wi-Fi
- Not too many attractions for young travelers
- Pools and spa may get too crowded during high season
- Indoor restaurant is a bit pricey (but worth it)
Spa Center and Thermal Pools
Satisfies the digital nomad needs
Food variety and quality in the hotel's restaurants