Kristal Hotel

8  / 10
Average rating (38 reviews)

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10 / 10
This hotel was absolutely lovely. It...

"This hotel was absolutely lovely. It was spotlessly clean, the staff were polite and helpful and went out of their way to make our stay as enjoyable as possible.

The hotel pools were excellent, with a children’s pool adjacent to the other pools, and the Kids Club was well run and great fun for the children.

I had my hair highlighted in the hotel salon and they did a fantastic job, I went home feeling fantastic and totally relaxed having had a wonderful holiday.

Golden Sands itself is a great resort for families; my children loved it (they are aged 14, 7 and 4 so there really was something for all of them). The beaches were clean and there was plenty of entertainment for them during the day. At night the bars were lively and good fun and I felt very safe there the whole time.

The only thing I would say about Golden Sands is to avoid Party Street after about 11 at night, which is when the prostitutes start prowling around (unless you like that kind of thing!!), but with the kids we tended to take them back to bed before then anyway.

We didn't eat in the hotel (apart from breakfast which was OK - my 7 year old especially loved the pancakes) but it is so cheap to eat out in Golden Sands we didn't need to eat at the hotel anyway.

I can't wait to go back there next year - and I'm taking my parents along this time (free babysitters!!!)

  • Holiday details: May 2007, Bed & Breakfast, booked with First Choice

2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

1 / 10
This has to be the worst holiday I...

"This has to be the worst holiday I have ever had and rating this a 1 was the lowest option on here, but was far worse than that.

Unless you’re a performing parrot fan, or a local dance group fan, then the entertainment is non existent and even then these two only lasted 15 minutes each once a week!!

The food was disgraceful at best, dangerous at worst. Half cooked chicken (raw on the inside) should never be an option. The children’s menu, for what it was, was cold and contrary to Sandra’s (rep) comments, that the hot plate was kept on at all times, this simply is not true.

On a good note and this has been mentioned in other reviews on here, the cleaning staff are brilliant and very talented, with the many creations out of towels and bedding, like swans, boats etc.. The bar staff are lovely, but even they, like the rest of us, won't be there next year as they had had enough working there.

  • Holiday details: Aug 2007, All Inclusive, booked with First Choice

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

4 / 10
Well, where do you start? The food...

"Well, where do you start? The food was terrible. There was no entertainment at night for our kids; only the kids club which was good but we would have liked to spend time with our kids at a disco or some other form of entertainment.

We were basically told this hotel would have night time entertainment when we booked at the first choice hypermarket. Well there was a parrot show for 15 minutes once a week. You couldn’t wait for your days to end. We were bored - that should never happen on a holiday costing £2000.

On a plus side the staff are lovely as are most of the Bulgarian people.

  • Holiday details: Sep 2007, Half Board, booked with First Choice

Did you find this review helpful? Yes

5 / 10
We have just returned today 7th...

"We have just returned today 7th September and we had previously stayed at the Kristal Hotel in August 2005, which was excellent It was great for the kids with the resident First choice kid’s reps organising all the entertainment for the children.

Now for this time - What a total waste of time! No kid’s entertainment; after seeing this advertised on the First Choice web, this was one of the most important features we were looking forward to. When I asked the First Choice Rep why there was no entertainment I was told that they haven’t been here since August 2006, and that the English tourists now only occupy 70% of the hotel. I think it more like 30%, as most guests were either German, Scandinavian,etc.

Now the Food - All the hot dishes were tasteless and bland. As a Chef, I would be critical wouldn’t I, but if I asked anyone to taste the dishes, I think you would agree. I do like the recycling policy of the hotel head chef as the soup and many dishes are made up from the previous day’s menus. As a previous review mentions the amount of eggs - this is true! The kids corner menu was a half hearted attempt and enough said. I did see many plates, full of food being collected by waitresses, only to be scraped into the waste bin, what a waste! If you want toast, then put your bread through the rotary toaster 4 times as each try takes 3 minutes and the bread is still white, perhaps the elements require changing.

Now the Good stuff - maids are an asset to this hotel along with the reception team, very polite and helpful. Each afternoon when we returned to our room it was spotless and the towels were made up like roses, butterflies, boats etc. Our daughter was well pleased.

The pools were kept very clean and all surrounding areas also. The hotel was also spotless.

Out and about: If you like sky sports football head to Memory bar, off Part Street. Ivans bar is good for hospitality and food. Ministry of Cocktails is good down at the beach two for one before 9.00 pm.

Overall, I think I speak for many British families with kids who have stayed at the Hotel Kristal - Get the kids reps back with regular entertainment and sort the food out, then this hotel would be the number one hotel in Golden Sands.

  • Holiday details: Sep 2007, Half Board, booked with First Choice

Did you find this review helpful? Yes

10 / 10
Hotel: The hotel had spacious rooms...

"Hotel: The hotel had spacious rooms and were cleaned regularly. We never worried about leaving valuables around. On our second day, we found our shower was leaking; it was fixed within half an hour. We also asked for extra pillows which were in our room the same evening.

Food: We were B&B and the breakfasts came with lots of choice. We can't complain about any of the food.

Staff: The staff were helpful and friendly. There was only one member of staff who preferred helping young tanned men than any of the other tourists, but the hotel isn’t really to blame for her wondering eye.

The View: The pool was well maintained and clean. The Hotel is a good 20 minute walk from the beach. We were under the impression from First Choice that we would be closer as we were offered a "Sea View" room. Unbeknownst to us, their idea of a "Sea View" was a tiny glimpse of water through forest and a landscape of hotels.

Bulgaria: I absolutely hated Golden Sands.

The first night we arrived, we found it hard to sleep so we decided to go for a walk around the resort at 7am. The place stunk to high heaven of rotting food and bins. There were locals out cleaning outside their shops but nothing could hide that smell.

Later in the day, once the restaurants started cooking up their day’s menus, the smell was masked.

Nobody tells you that the resort is literally miles from anywhere so if you want to see the "real" Bulgaria; it will cost you in taxi fares/excursions. The local traders sell a gluttony of fake designer clothes and not much else. The landscape is of hotel upon hotel. Apparently, Golden Sands holds 40 thousand tourists, Sunny Beach holds over 300 thousand. We got the smaller of the two and still disliked it. I kind of got the impression that somebody decided to dump all the tourists in that one area and be done with them.

The people were friendly and helpful but at night, the touts can get exasperating. There are two main streets which are lined with restaurants and cocktail bars. The streets are also lined with leaflet wielding touts who will literally follow you down the street trying to entice you to dine in their restaurants with offers of free cocktails. If you simply ignore them, you find the leaflets are shoved into your face.

The Beach: The beach was very clean with fine white sand. Mind your feet, the sand gets hot! There are mini golf courses and a few amusements to while away spare time.

The nearer towns to Golden Sands are the same thing over again, just a smaller version.

We visited Albena (20 Lev taxi ride), the Poco Loco restaurant there served a fantastic meal. A nice change from the slop you are served up at Golden Sands.

Balchik (20 Lev taxi ride) is a nicer town. It's still lined with the same stalls as the other resorts but NO TOUTS! Nobody hassles you. At the bottom of the hill leading down the town, there are Botanical Gardens overlooking the Black Sea. There's also a Romanian Palace that's worth seeing.

Varna (20 Lev taxi ride) is an ok town if you manage to go to the area around the Dolphinarium. There's a nice walk along a path that follows the sea. The only restaurant along there has a fish menu and serves fantastic food.

Monastery: There is a historical monastery close to Golden Sands, if you have a few hours free, I recommend visiting it. It's in a great area which seems a million miles away from being stuck on the resort.

First Choice: Disappointing to say the least. At the Bulgarian Airport, there were touts everywhere trying to force leaflets on newcomers about buying Bulgarian property. There were also pink shirts everywhere - First Choice reps. We asked a rep where the coach was for Golden Sands, she replied "One moment, I'll find out for you". We were left standing there for 10 minutes and she never came back. The next rep we asked did exactly the same thing. We asked a third guy, he steered us in the direction of the wrong coach so we went back to him and asked again. This one finally found out where we were supposed to go and led us to the coach.

We booked a 2 day excursion to Istanbul in Turkey. Because the trip was €200, we held back on going on other trips we would have liked to have done as we booked it for our second week. We waited at the place we were told from 2.45 am - 3.45 am. The coach never arrived to collect us. There was apparently some mix up. This was something we just had to live with but we called First Choice and asked for a refund. They agreed to refund us. Our rep Sandra came to the hotel with the money and told us that one of us should have gone back to the hotel to check. I said to her, "Have you seen how dark that road is where we were waiting?" she said, "yes but one of you should have waited while the other went to check at the hotel about the coach". I was a little annoyed at this stage. In her next breath, she said "So, can I sell you any of our other excursions?"

Then proceeded to try to sell us tickets so we could sit next to each other on the plane home at 17 Lev per person.

I'd never go back to a resort in Bulgaria but would consider a holiday village or something of the sort.

TIP: Check prices with everyone before you commit yourself. We were ripped off by one restaurant who recommended their chef special which was mediocre but better than the rest of the food in general - because it wasn't on the menu, it didn't have a price. We were charged double what we paid for any other meal in our two week stay. Agree taxi prices before you get in and they will honour it. Quite a few will arrange a time to collect you too.

  • Holiday details: Aug 2007, Bed & Breakfast, booked with First Choice

2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

10 / 10
We had an excellent stay at the hotel...

"We had an excellent stay at the hotel Kristal, are rep Sandra couldn't do enough for us. My daughter went to the kids club everyday and loved Sammie and Jess - the best kids reps we have ever had.

The hotel staff are really friendly; the pool is really lovely and clean. The food in the restaurant I can't complain about as there were lots to choose from and my son loved the special deserts made.

Out and about in Goldens Sands there was lots to see and we loved the dolphin show and forest fiesta. Over all we had an excellent time.

  • Holiday details: Aug 2007, Half Board, booked with First Choice

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

1 / 10
A very disappointing holiday. This...

"A very disappointing holiday. This hotel is not exclusive to First Choice as stated in their brochure.

Very few English guests. The food is absolutely disgusting, not just at the hotel, the only type available are Steak Houses, and even these are the pits.

Cashier didn't recognise sterling traveller’s cheques and we had to wait over half a hour for her to call for assistance.

We decided to visit the dolphin show and asked the reception staff to call a taxi. After a twenty minute taxi journey we arrived to find it wasn't open on a Monday. Surely the staff should have known as it is one of the most popular tourist attractions.

One night the reception staff called a taxi for us and when two arrived the drivers had a physical fight, in front of our children, over the 10l fare. When we complained to the reception staff we were told to get our own taxi if we didn't like theirs.

We confronted them about their customer service and was told if we didn't like the hotel then it was our problem.

All in all an extremely bad holiday and we can only say if you like Blackpool then this is a holiday for you.

  • Holiday details: Aug 2007, Bed & Breakfast, booked with First Choice

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

10 / 10
We had a fantastic holiday at the...

"We had a fantastic holiday at the Hotel Kristal. The staff were very friendly and went out of their way to help. The hotel was of a very high standard, was clean and the breakfast was varied- I loved the freshly cooked pancakes!

The hotel pool was clean, some of the other hotels pools looked very mucky, so we were lucky and the pool is surrounded by trees.

I couldn't fault this holiday, Bulgaria is cheap and the food is varied for all tastes. As with many countries watch salad, and water as my friend did get an upset stomach.

Trip to the dolphinarium was a nice morning out, took a taxi from the hotel which meant we didn't have to do a whole tour.

I would recommend going before everyone hears how great this hotel and Bulgaria is and gets too commercialised!

  • Holiday details: Jul 2007, Bed & Breakfast, booked with First Choice

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

10 / 10
This is the best hotel I ever been...

"This is the best hotel I ever been on!

The staff was so friendly.

Breakfast was delicious, but we ate dinner and food in the evening, at the nearest restaurant.

They was the best, specially the bartenders!

And I love everything about Bulgaria!!

The pool was the best and the bar too.

We are travelling down there next year too!

  • Holiday details: Aug 2007, Bed & Breakfast, booked with MyTravel

Did you find this review helpful? Yes

10 / 10
This hotel is untouchable, I just...

"This hotel is untouchable, I just can't fault it. It's spotlessly clean from top to bottom, the food varied enough for everybody, bearing in mind all the different nationalities there are visiting.

If all else fails there is no shortage of options when eating out, whether it be Cuban, English, Chinese, Indian there's enough for everybody.

The hotel staff are nice, polite friendly and go above and beyond the call of duty to serve the pickiest of guests coz let’s face it, some holiday makers are not happy unless they've got something to grieve about.

My grief was not with the hotel coz it’s quite simply the best I’ve been, mine is with First Choice Tour Operators.

Everything they were involved with they seemed to go out of their way to balls up. We only found out when we got our tickets that we were travelling 3 hours earlier, to a different airport with a 2 hour drive. I paid £2.50 for a pair of faulty headphones in order to watch their faulty, discoloured TV.

Bourgas Air seems to be built high enough to be smack in the middle of the mosquito line and so on the return journey your left to queue up outside through thousands of these bloodsuckers for up to an hour. Children were screaming, adults frantically trying to knock each one off but it’s impossible. 36 hrs later and they're still coming up, I've now counted 17, and my partner has 13 of these itchy blistering bites. It was a far cry from our original 40 minute drive from Varna Airport that we'd booked to be going to.

Every passenger waiting in that queue was talking about first choice's total inadequacies and how none of us had been informed until the last minute.

We ended our flight (after buying another set of faulty headphones for a this time flickering TV) with a 40 minute wait before the luggage conveyor even started to move.

First Choice? I think I’ll try a rowing boat before I’d book them again. Brilliant holiday flawed by them.

  • Holiday details: Jun 2007, All Inclusive, booked with First Choice

Did you find this review helpful? Yes

10 / 10
Please don’t get the Hotel Kristal...

"Please don’t get the Hotel Kristal at Golden Sands mixed up with the Kristal at Sunny Beach. The Hotels are like chalk and cheese.

The Kristal at Sunny Beach is an awful hotel it has been on "Hotels from hell" on ITV. The tour operator is Balkan holidays.

The Kristal at Golden sands is a very nice modern hotel. The tour operator is First Choice.

I have stayed at the Kristal in Golden Sands 3 times and found it a very good hotel, the staff are great ,the rooms are fantastic ,and the pool area is beautiful. The food is not the best, but is OK’s so cheap to eat out it anyway.

So if you are reading this ....pray you are at the Kristal in Golden Sands and not with Balkan holidays Kristal at Sunny Beach, if you are at the latter advise... cancel.

  • Holiday details: Jun 2007, Half Board, booked with First Choice

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

10 / 10
What a fab holiday. The food was out...

"What a fab holiday. The food was out of this world!

The hotel was clean and well presented and the staff were very helpful and friendly.

The food and beverages manager was very helpful and happy to accommodate our needs. The chef was first class and would make food for you if there was nothing you liked.

The reps were fantastic and always happy to help.

  • Holiday details: May 2007, All Inclusive, booked with First Choice

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

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Address: Golden Sands, Golden Sands 9007, Bulgaria