Interhotel Sandanski Review
I’ve heard a lot about the biggest spa hotel in Sandanski, Bulgaria – Interhotel Sandanski. It used to be very popular in the past and it is still a top pick among those that enjoy natural mineral waters and relaxing holidays away from busy city streets. Naturally, I got curious and tried to find a friend that wanted to check out the place as well.
|Where exactly?||Sandanski, Bulgaria.|
|Means of transportation?||Car|
|How many people?||2.|
|How many nights?||4.|
|Type of vacation?||Relaxing, rejuvenating (spa and thermal bath), swimming, exploring.|
|Trip date?||December 2016|
Since my friend, Milena, is always in for a short getaway, we decided to book three December nights from Monday to Thursday and even take advantage of the lowest non-weekend rates. We were traveling from Skopje, Macedonia by car and even made a short coffee break in Strumica, Macedonia just for the fun of it.
I must confess that the trip seemed too long because the road isn’t that great and the speed restrictions are crazy. Slow driving, mountain roads and several breaks resulted in late arrival at Interhotel Sandanski on a freezing winter night.
We were welcomed by a guard right at the entrance of the hotel who checked our voucher and let us in. We parked the car and took out bags with us since there was nobody out there to help us. It was freezing and the area seemed abandoned; my mood was a bit ruined I must confess.
However, once we entered the building a whole new world was waiting for us. Inside everything was nicely decorated, there were satisfied guests and nice staff. I’ve read lots of negative reviews on the staff’s non-existent English language knowledge; however, Macedonian and Bulgarian are quite similar and we could understand each other perfectly.
We went to our room using an elevator and the room was just across the elevator, so we didn’t have to walk endless halls to get to it. I quickly opened the door and was impatient for the first impression; I wasn’t disappointed with the view. The room was spacious and well-furnished; I’ve read that the hotel was recently refurbished. Plus, we had a nice view over the pedestrian area of Sandanski where numerous bars and restaurants are located. So, I just stood there for a while, enjoyed the view and took deep breaths of fresh mountain air.
- Building – Interhotel Sandanski has a recognizable cascade main 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, a top-class restaurant, a billiards room and a bar where you can chill out when you decide to leave the ever-attractive mineral water pools and spa. People have been complaining about the hotel being dirty or badly maintained, but I personally didn’t notice anything like that. Maybe I was just happy;
- Surroundings – The hotel has possibly the best possible location; it is near the pedestrian area that takes you directly to the gorgeous park and lake. Just across the entrance of the hotel, you can find the center and even some historical sights. Also, the street across the entrance is filled with bars and restaurants 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;
- Parking – 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 know if it’s a problem to find a slot during high season.
- Room – I was surprised to read reviews of unsatisfied guests with the rooms because we were very lucky in that regard; Our room, as you can see on the photos, was quite spacious and well-furnished. The bathroom too was surprisingly wide and clean; yeah, maybe the shower head wasn’t brand new, but it definitely wasn’t dirty, rusty or old. I have only positive words regarding our room;
- Staff – 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 standard nice, the receptionists were also trying their best to be helpful. We had only one negative experience with the employee at pool bar because she was a bit rude when we asked her whether there was water offered in the pool/spa area.
During the Stay
Well, we had a good start after seeing the nice room and hotel premises. We were hungry and went for a dinner in the indoor restaurant at the hotel. We learned that the prices there are a bit too high, but the service was excellent and the food was delicious; plus, it wasn’t expensive as our unforgettable lunch at the Brasserie Louis in Zuric.
We checked out other 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. In our room, we found bath-robes to use and there was an elevator (besides the two main elevators) that takes you directly to the spa.
The indoor pool was a bit colder than I expected, but my personal favorite was the small Jacuzzi 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 too many people and at times we were even alone in it.
Taking a swim in the big outdoor pool is also a bliss, you can just feel how your body is relaxing and your blood circulation is improving.
The spa area is average I would say, The hotel has a Turkish steam bath and a Swedish sauna.
I must say that this place is not for party people. The streets were empty at night, 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.
Finally, I want to mention the sights and attractions that Sandanski as a town offers to visitors. 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; I don’t remember the entrance fee, but it was around 2 Bulgarian levs per person, which is around 1 EUR – 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
All in all, I was sad to check out from the hotel (affiliate link). I had a great time, saw cool things and definitely made the most out of the mineral water pools.
However, I am saying “Maybe” to this hotel because I believe it’s not for everyone; for example, if you seek parties, nightlife and shopping – you will get bored to death after the first night.
|Affordable prices||Not too many attractions for young travelers|
|Excellent indoor and outdoor pools with warm mineral water||Pools and spa may get too crowded during high season|
|Wonderful nature||Not too many amenities|
|Spacious well-furnished rooms||Indoor restaurant is a bit pricey|
(but worth it)
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.