26 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
All Inclusive total relaxation
"Its a miserable wet October day and my family are all reminiscing about our fantastic holiday in this hotel 13/07/08 - 29/07/08. There really is something for everyone here. I lay by the pool every day,relaxing and watching the entertainment team keep everyone amused and busy - but only if they wanted to!The only time I had to move was when I wanted a cocktail from the free bar - and there are a lot of cocktails on the menu! (They use brand name alcohol such as Smirnoff and Gordons)I usually get no rest on holiday as we always go self catering but I will never consider any other kind from now on. The Bolero has it all.It is very clean and well maintained. Rooms are large and comfortable. The decor is made to look old fashioned classic so dont worry about the pictures you see on line. The showers are powerful and the maid keeps the room immaculate.The sound insulation is fantastic so you will get a good sleep at night and the rooms are air conditioned. I saw a few flying bugs but there is no pest problems. The activities on offer are well organised and varied. My husband and two boys aged 48,13 and 10 spent so much time in the shade doing ping pong, tennis, football, bouls etc that they hardly needed sun cream on!The restaurants are all well managed but we ate mostly in the Bolero for breakfast and dinner and Argintinian for lunch. My youngest is extremely fussy but even he managed to find good food.The only down side of the food was that they didnt cook the meat all the way through and we all got sick at one point. We complained to a restaurant manager and nothing was done so we spoke to the hotel manager who was great. By the end of our stay the managers were showing us how they had made improvements to the cooking technique and had obviously taken our complaints seriously.There is a fantastic restaurant down the road from the hotel and we ate there three nights till the Bolero got there food problem sorted. They do a traditional Bulgarian show at 9pm and the food is very good and inexpensive (they put a flag of your country on the table and even had a saltire
for us)Bulgaria is quite a poor country and we chose not to go on any trips to see more of it. We would normally do at least 5 trips on other holidays but we felt so taken care off here that we didnt want to leave the luxery of the hotel. I recommend the chocolate treatment in the spa as it was pure bliss - once I got over my embarrasment of a young man covering me in chocolate and giving me the most relaxing massage ever! (My 15yr old daughter got a woman though)
The entertainment is all home made by the team but they put there heart and soul into it. Some of it is just rubbish but the kids loved it. If you dont take it too seriously then you can laugh along too. There is also he Dizzy Dancy Disco till 2am but it was generally empty. The only other problem we had was on our second week when the hotel seemed to get busier and ther was an invasion of Germans. There were only half a dozen British families and the rest were made up of a selection form all over Europe.One particular group of Germans lived up to there reputation and stole the towels off the sunbed when we went for breakfast.My husband (5ft 6inch) stood up to the German fellow(6ft6inch and very fit)who backed down and gave us the sunbeds back. It was only these Germans that we had trouble with and the rest were almost polite. We would go back to the Bolero and think it will be hard to find anywhere better. I read the reviews before leaving and contacted the writers for more info so please feel free to get in touch if you have any specific questions.
- Travel date: Sat 25th of October 2008
We've just returned after 2 weeks all in...
"We've just returned after 2 weeks all inclusive at the Griffin Bolero.
Fantastic hotel, staff and accommodation, noticed whilst staying that this hotel has previously won Thomson best accommodation last year 2006 it's easy to see why luxurious rooms with free mini bar, maid service daily and spotlessly clean.
We travelled as a family of 3 with a 10 year old son, plenty to do in the day with poolside entertainment, no pressure if you didn't feel like participating.
Easy access to drinks machines soft and alcoholic, with plastic glasses around the pool area continually being collected.
Two main pools lilos allowed 1 with Jacuzzi and ideal for families, the other deeper and better for the more advanced swimmer but still suitable for children.
All three restaurants were immaculately clean 2 serving throughout the day with a wide choice of food.
The animations team worked very hard with obviously a low budget making sure that everybody had a great time, they even waved everybody goodbye when they left the hotel at the end of their holiday.
Very close to the beach front but no noise or disruption ,with easy access to all attractions including mini train along resort front.
We booked our trips through the hotel rather than Thomson purely down to costs as all trips are arranged by the same company.
Visited the aqua park by courtesy bus 1 lev each and 25 lev entrance and had a great day out.
We were informed that Thomson are not using this hotel next year(shame on Thomson) due to costs, however it is still available through Balkan Holidays.
All in all a great time and we would visit again."
- Travel date: Wed 12th of September 2007
Location: About 50 minutes from the airp...
"Location: About 50 minutes from the airport. A 3 minute walk to the beach - but you have to pay for sunbeds there, 10 minutes to resort centre past lots of little shops and different activities.
Rooms: Spacious and well cleaned. All-inclusive mini-bar provided (re-stocked every other day) but you have to pay for your safe. TV had 3 English speaking channels; but my kids enjoyed watching "Sponge Bob" in Italian!
Food: 3 restaurants, only 1 non-buffet. In the main one there were lots of different dishes and all well-presented but it did get rather repetitive after a fortnight! The Argentinean grill consisted mainly of junk food in the day.
BEWARE: the staff were very over-zealous in clearing your plates away. At times it felt as if they were hovering over you, waiting for you to take your last mouthful and that you should hurry up and go! Always leave one person at the table; otherwise it will be stripped by the time you return with your food! They were very strict about time.
At 2:57 you were not allowed a hotdog for 3 minutes until 3pm when snack-time officially started!
Entertainment: The Animation team were superb! There was a schedule of activities every day including water polo, volleyball, shooting, boules, ping-pong etc etc The team were incredibly inclusive, but didn't hassle anyone into doing anything they didn't want to do. They adhered to the rules of the game at all times.
The kid's club was very good. They catered for children from 4-12 and again had a clear schedule with a huge variety of activities for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. The evening entertainment was fairly dire!
Hotel: Everybody had a uniform - the lifeguards, gardeners etc. There were always people cleaning and the staff were generally pleasant and helpful. There was certainly a friendly atmosphere. The Thomson rep lives at the hotel so is around regularly. There was an on-site shop that stocked all your holiday essentials.
Pools: 1 indoor with spa that offered massages etc 2 outdoor and a kidâs pool. Lifeguards often patrolling and cleaned at night. Having said that there were quite a few ear infections going on and we did start to wonder if it was the pool water?
Playground: A slide and a swing in some sand - don't get excited about this one.
The air-conditioning was more like having a fan in your room and I don't think it was switched on in the public areas i.e. Bar Salon.
I would recommend this hotel; it was good value and deserved its 4 star status. Our children are 3 + 5 and had considerable freedom and lots of fun in a safe environment.
It was a very good family holiday."
- Travel date: Fri 3rd of August 2007
Just returned from two weeks all inclusi...
"Just returned from two weeks all inclusive at the Riu Bolero, party of sixteen including three children.
The hotel was spotless with cleaning staff working all day and night to maintain standards(never in your way).
The food is plentiful with a wide range of choice too suit everybody in all three restaurants.
The rooms are practical and very spacious with a fridge which is re-stocked every two days with water, beer, and soft drinks, there is also a safe(with a small charge) in every room, maids come in daily too clean at your convenience.
The two swimming pools and two kidâs pools are clean and well maintained, bearing in mind the amount of drinks knocked or kicked over the use of plastic glasses is a very good idea.
Small downside was the eveningâs entertainment programme it was only an hour long, with early evening catering for the children, we all went out by 10.15pm saving the hotel money on the free drinks which end by 11.50pm when the hotel becomes a ghost town.
The childrenâs animation team were very busy night and day organising shows and games for everyone(they also stage most of the shows for the evening entertainment on a shoestring budget)there is a dance called the LAVAKKA they do about eight times a day, which got on my nerves.
The resort itself was clean with a nice beach(recent heat wave made it too hot though 116 degrees f.
The bars restaurants and shops are very alike, beware of a bar called serenattas they charged treble what the other bars do(they keep receipts and when questioned about price they canât find them 99lev for seven drinks)no wonder it was always empty.
A special mention for our hotel Thomson rep Katie, we had a medical problem with one of the kids (little Charlie)and she helped out immensely saving one of party a lot of money, she was kind friendly and helpful even offering us drinks from the bar if she was getting herself one top marks too Katie, in a nutshell friendly helpful staff, very clean hotel, pleasant resort, nice food, clean swimming pools.
If I could change anything it would be the entertainment(evening) and the bar closing time(later)and the obnoxious male cabin crew member on the flight home. Thanks to my party for an enjoyable holiday."
- Travel date: Fri 27th of July 2007
What a fantastic hotel! We stayed for 2...
"What a fantastic hotel! We stayed for 2 weeks and how pleased we were, so much we are re-booking for next year.
The hotel was cleaned everyday from top to bottom, and the rooms were spot on. They were spacious and the bathroom very smart. The minibar was a nice touch in the room; this was re-stocked every other day with beer, soft drinks, and water, all free!
The 3 restaurants were superb. A good choice of food for all, nice to have 3 choices in the all inclusive, and would recommended the Asian restaurant. All the bars have a good choice of drinks for all; these are available nearly all day.
The pools are excellent, large and clean, which my daughter did not want to leave. The staff could not do enough for us, always friendly and willing to help.
The animation team were fantastic, and they worked very hard. The shows they put on were excellent, and they kept all amused all day, would love to know where they get the energy.
The hotel deserves its 4 star rating. We donât have a bad word to say about the hotel or resort.
Only bad part is we had a pushchair, and this caused problems as there is no access for wheel/pushchairs. Thanks to all the staff for the superb holiday. Highly recommended."
- Travel date: Tue 3rd of July 2007
"We arrived at the hotel at nearly midnight, but were met by the bell boys who kindly took our luggage. We checked in and went to our room.
We opened the door to find the most fabulous room. It was carpeted, had 2 large twin beds and a really sturdy bed settee for my son. There was a fridge in the room with water, beer and soft drinks which are all free and stocked up every other day.
The food is lovely and will suit all tastes. The chefs cook most of it in front of you so it is really fresh. There was plenty of variety over a week and there was always something for the kids to eat.
The pools are brilliant, the upper one is more of a sun trap but is no good for smaller kids as it is quite deep. The bottom pool slopes from the sunbeds so most of the kids play there. There were always plenty of beds and no one was allowed to put towels on them unless you were staying there. You can get fresh pool towels every day. They are brilliant, really big.
The entertainment team were by no means proffesional but they tried there best and worked from 10:30am until 11:00pm every day. The kids loved them.
The hotel has its own spa with an indoor pool which was really cold, we used it the 1 day it rained.
The hotel is 100yds to the beach and you can have a lovely walk along the front after dinner.
I would definately go to this hotel again."
- Travel date: Sat 30th of June 2007
"We stayed at this hotel from 6th to 13th June 2007. All I can say is we had a great time the Hotel was lovely and very clean, the food was great we had no problem getting sunbeds. The only minor thing was the entertainment, it was ok for kids and the animation team tried hard but it was a bit lacking, the magic show was good. We went on the trip to the forest restaurant that was excellent, very good entertainment all evening and very well run. Hotel has 3 restaurants we preferred the Argentinian as it was quieter but the others were very good too. We went to the dolphinarium near Varna and that was very enjoyable. Nice beach in Golden Sands. The town was very nice with plenty going on lots of cheap shoes jeans etc. All in all it was very good value for money and we are looking to go back same time next year.
Tony Joan & Emma (45,44,11) from Merseyside"
- Travel date: Sat 23rd of June 2007
Very good resort, great people and food
"I stayed at the Bolero 7 June through 10 June 2007. My trip started off with a small problem. I actually booked a room at the Arabella. When I arrived, they informed me they had no record of my reservation. Upon some follow up, they decided since the Arabella was full, I would be transferred to the Bolero. I had visions of a bait and switch. The manager of the Arabella personally drove me to the Bolero where we were met by a phalanx of management and service people, all apologizing for the misunderstanding. I was checked in and escorted to my room - a happy ending!
The resort is well placed and is certainly family oriented.
The rooms are fairly large and well appointed. They are quite comfortable and clean.
The food was very good to excellent with a wide variety. If you go here take a pair of long slacks as they are required for dinner. I am an American and we wear shorts to dinner â LOL. I guess it is a European custom.
The service at the meals was excellent; there were many people servicing the tables. If you even looked like you might have a question, there was someone to help you.
The drinks were also excellent. There was a wide choice and they were generous with the ingredients.
There were nightly shows in the bar area. The entertainment was family oriented and the magic show was excellent.
After the shows there was music for dancing and the bar closed at midnight. One night the revelers continued on and at 0130 were loudly singing German, English and Danish drinking songs. I was about to make a call to the front desk when there was an immediate halt to the noise and no reoccurrence. I guess the management was on top of that situation.
There are two outdoor pools with plenty of chaise lounges. I was able to get a lounge every day.
There is an animation team who goes around entertaining people. Sometimes this was cute.
The hotel is close to the beach and all the facilities on the boardwalk (a small street)
All in all it was very pleasant stay. I would recommend this place."
- Travel date: Tue 19th of June 2007
Fabulous hotel. Canât fault it at all....
"Fabulous hotel. Canât fault it at all. Pool was loved by our 3 children. Meals were all delicious, hot, and nutritious.
Entertainment team made a huge impression on our children. The shows were good fun and kept the children amused. Would recommend this hotel."
- Travel date: Mon 28th of May 2007
Holiday from hell!
"When we arrived we were kept on the bus while all the baggage was unloaded - when guests were finally disembarked one of our pieces of luggage had been stolen which was a bad start to say the least! The hotel did not seem too fussed and did not manage to locate it and we had to claim on our holiday insurance in the end. The room was dark and the hotel generally claustraphobic and built on a steep hill. Food quality was very poor and entertainment mediocre, no way should this have 4 stars and really lets down the Riu brand - we have stayed in several excellent Riu hotels elsewhere by the way. Oh yes and in the resort area around 50% of the time we were short changed! Only suitable for singles and young couples as plenty of nightlife, but hang on to your valuables! We will certainly never return and have been put of Bulgaria, although I should say that some of the people were of course friendly and we did have an interesting excursion to a 'stone forest' and glass factory."
- Travel date: Sun 18th of February 2007
"I was a bit dubious about travelling to Bulgaria as i wasn't sure about the quality of hotels and food. How wrong i was!! The Bolero proved to be an excellent choice and i liked Golden Sands as well
I can't really fault the hotel unlike some other reviews i've just seen before i wrote it. i can only go by my personal experience which was very positive. I'm not going to go into every factor of the hotel and write a long paragraph on each as i would just be repeating myself. Needless to say, the following factors all left a good impression:
Food - good variety and suprisingly good quality
Facilities - loads of sporting facilities for my husband and kids to enjoy
Rooms - wouldn't call them luxurious but they were big enough and very clean
Kids - my kids are both under 10 and they had a great time.
The only negatives i would add is that it was quite difficult to get a sunbed! Also, i think older teenagers might be a bit bored"
- Travel date: Thu 7th of December 2006
good for families with young kids and persons 50+
"great rooms, excellent food, superb location.
good outdoor sports facilities (except that you have to run around and look in the bushes and dirt for the tennis balls going out of the court)
Things to avoid:
If you remember summer camps with "lights out" policy - you will find it here. No room for discussions or enjoying the balcony after midnight. Otherwise security staff will knock at the door and threaten with taking you to the police.
Rooms have very poor fonic isolation so you hear everything going on next door.
drinking local spirits
every single member of the group I organised the travel for - my company's team building had at least one moment of feeling very sick. This had happened before in Bulgaria. Either it is unclean water for ice cubes, or poor quality alcohol. Or both.
Nevertheless - as you're expecting it to be a truly all inclusive they should have imported intl brands or at least to use them for the bar drinks.
going to the gym
old noisy cracky equipment. One bike, one track ("manual", not magnetic), one piece of everything. And they all make terrible noise.
having the bell boy take your luggage
unless you do have local coins or coins of eur/gbp, or even a small note avoid using him. He took the suitcases up, put them into the room and was simply standing there walking on place awaiting for his tips. No common sense to understand a client might unfortunately for him only have big notes or they are disturbed by such a behaviour.
All in all, it is people you go with that matter most, and we enjoyed sharing some free time (there) with each other."
- Travel date: Mon 4th of December 2006