Hotel Riu Helios

on the beachfront, 300 m from centre of Sunny Beach, Sunny Beach 8240 Bulgaria
4 star hotel


Ratings summary


Rating by feature

  • 4.5 room
  • 4.5 pool
  • 4 beach
  • 4.5 service
  • 4 dining
  • 3 amenities
  • 5 value
  • 4.5 food
  • 5 cleanliness
  • 3 location

42 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

Take a Bow Helios


"We had a fantastic 2 weeks in the Hilios food was out of this world the selecetion at every meal was fantastic nothing was any bother for the staff in the resteraunt.

The rooms was cleaned every day with clean towels on request.
Bar staff were so entertaing and pleasant always clean and tidy. Never had to wait more than 30 seconds for a drink and your dirty glasses were removed swiftly.
The Animation team were at the poolside from 10am and not leaving the hotel till midnight helping us all to enjoy ourselves with air rifle shooting compititions and lots of other games for young and old alike
After dinner the Animation team laid on a show every night
except Sunday then the bar staff took over and entertained us with a cocktail of extravigansas setting the bar alight was just one of the fantastic themes of the night.

We were so close to the beach about 100 yard we could leave the poolside and have dip in the sea without having to carry anything with us.
The only downside for us was we had to go home after 2 weeks.

Hotel Hilios and Staff take a Bow

See you next year (we have already booked)

Colin & Frances Falconer Aberdeen Scotland"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 2nd of October 2006



"We booked to go all inclusive here in July 2005. Our first impression wasn't great because at the airport we were directed to coach no.4 by a very vague, harrassed and confused looking rep. We aren't very easy people to please so things weren't looking good. Once on the coach we soon realised it wasn't the right one and we quickly decamped only to find that all the British coaches had gone. The 5 of us piled into a taxi and we were taken safely to the hotel and in fact arrived quicker than the coach. We found the correct rep who apologised profusely and refunded us the taxi fare immediately without fuss or argument.
The holiday itself was amazing. Hotel was immaculate, rooms cleaned very well and regularly. Although the hotel sits virtually on the beach there were loads of jellyfish in the sea and so the pool was a much better option. We're not really ones for joining in with the kids entertainment but the way the Animation team got everyone involved, we actually found ourselves playing waterpolo and beach volleyball with people from all over the world and the Animation guy shouting out the scores (and taking the mickey!) in about 6 different languages. No problems with sunbeds and the pool was always clean and waiting staff came round plenty of times to collect empties and offer refills.
The hotel staff were all very friendly and accommodating, although not overbearing like we have found them to be in some parts of Turkey. It felt genuine and they were really pleased that people were visiting their country.
Day and night there is plenty to do for all ages, even the mother in law enjoyed her day at the Water Park with her grandchildren. Sometimes at night there are people walking around trying to get you to have photos taken with huge snakes and baby crocodiles, but if you indicate you aren't interested they don't pester you.
Hotel food was more than adequate, fresh, cooked properly and plenty to go around.
If you've never been to Bulgaria before - then go. Its still dirt cheap but they dont scrimp on service or customer care.
At the end of the holiday whilst waiting for the coach transfer back to the airport, some Brits were whinging to the hotel manager that their rooms weren't right or that the food was awful. We approached the manager and thanked him for a fantastic week and said we would definitely be returning to his hotel and that we would recommend it to anyone - the look on his face was pure gold - he was so grateful. Would definitely recommend it and would definitely go again in a couple of years to see how things change out there."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 29th of August 2006

Great Holiday at Riu Helios Palace


"Stayed at Riu Helios Palace All Inclusive June/July 2006.

This hotel is a 4 star and it certainly lives up to its stars.

Food -Excellent (some food cooked fresh)

Rooms - Excellent (great size)

Drinks - Very Good/Excellent (Not branded drinks)

Pools - Excellent (2) One quiet and one noisy

Waiters - Excellent

Housekeepers - Excellent

Reception - Very Good

Bar Staff - Excellent

We had a lovely room which contained double bed/2 chairs/tv/fridge/dressing unit/wardrobe/2 bedside units and mirror.

Bathroom - Lovely power shower and you could get 6 or more people in the shower if you wanted (lol)

You can sit anywhere for breakfast and lunch, dinner you are allocated a table either first (6 pm) or second (8 pm) sitting which you keep for the duration of your holiday.

Hotel is in a great positioin and in a pretty setting, horse and carriage stops right outside the hotel also the train passes this hotel.

The beach is just across the promenade - Sun beds and parasols are free around the pool area. The beach does not belong to the hotel and you have to pay for the use of sunbeds and parasols, the cost is 6 levs per item, therefore 2 sunbeds and a parasol you pay 18 levs which is roughly equal to £2.50 per item, total = £7.50.

You pay between two to three times as much for food/drink and souvenirs in Sunny Beach, elsewhere is much cheaper for example Sozopool, Nesebar, Pomorie and Bourgas and Varna.

There are some great places to go, we went with a taxi driver to Sozopool, Bourgas and Varna plus the local market on a Thursday. When taxis state a price drop 10 levs, it worked for us and we got a great deal. The taxi driver took us to Bourgas and waited 4 hours whilst we shopped and had a look around. (great value - much cheaper than organised via the rep and you can come home when you want and go where you want)

We went with friends who stayed for one week only, we stayed for two. Met some really nice people and some not so nice.

The hotel has signs which state the following:

No balls in pool
No towels or personal items to be put on sunbeds to reserve
No diving in pool
No food to be taken out of restaurant

All the above rules were flaunted and there was no one to see that these rules were adhered to.

The Germans were putting towels on the beds at 6 - 7 am and also the British did. Some of the Germans were really rude and pushed in queues whilst waiting in line to get your food.

We went with Portland and saved £60 compared to Thompson.

If you like Turkey you will almost like Sunny Beach - very similar to Marmaris although the weather is not as good as Turkey.

We had the worst 2 days they have had in years, thunderstorms, lighting and very very heavy rain which some hotels could not cope with. Ibreostar 4 star across from Helios Palace had about 30 buckets to catch the rain in their reception area, some hotels were flooded and also we heard various horror stories of being flooded in Golden Sands and Ozbor etc.

We would certainly come back to Bulgaria but we would go to Golden Sands to see the other side of Bulgaria.

The only bad memory was having a 19 hour 45 minute delay and Thompson not really keeping us in the picture has to what was happening.

Go enjoy and take loose clothes to wear - you will need them with all the lovely food they serve.

If you require any further information send me an email at:
[email protected]"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 23rd of July 2006

Not a bad Hotel


"We stayed at the Riu Helios in Sunny Beach for 2 weeks in Jun / Jul 2006. First impression of the hotel when you arrive is that it is very clean. You are greeted by a porter who will take your cases to your room if you wish. The reception staff spoke excellent English and were very friendly... Although their sense of humour leaves something to be desired (lost in translation probably). We had a room on the 5th floor and had paid for a sea view. The view was predominantly of the other side of the hotel, but the view of the sea was ok. The bedding doesn't fit the beds properly, the air conditioning is a joke (I will talk about this shortly) but everything else about the room is fine. We had an adjoining door between our room and the next which allowed a lot of noise to travel between the rooms, we could here our neighbours running taps and switching lights on. The food in the restaurant was excellent for the first week or so but it seemed to lower in standard towards the end of our holiday (The food was not warm enough for my liking and I even had a meatball which was still raw in the middle). You are allocated a table for your evening meal which you must sit at for the duration of your holiday. If you are traveling as a couple then there are plenty of tables for 2 people so you won't have to share with anyone. THe biggest fault with this hotel is the air conditioning in the rooms. It just isn't proper air conditioning, if it warm outside then you room is warm as well. We complained 4 times in total and were given a range of excuses, but the 4th time we complained gave us the real explanation. I told them that temperature in our room was 28 degrees which just isn't acceptable and I was told that English people want the rooms cold and the German people want the rooms hotter, so they had set the air con in the rooms to be 3 degrees below the air temperature outside. THIS ISN'T PROPER AIR CONDITIONING!! The temperature while we were there ranged from 28 - 38 degrees we were sweating in our room for the most part. The evening entertainment in the hotel is the worst I have ever come across, and believe me, I know not to expect a lot. The entertainment team just dance and mime to bad recordings played over a bad sound system.

The resort itself is very busy on an evening. Lots of bars and restaurants. You constantly get asked to go into bars and restaurants by the PR people, some of them even follow you down the street. The shop owners pounce on you the minute you look at any of there items and seem quite offended if you just want to browse. The public toilets in the bars and restaurants are the worst I have ever come across. The floors are soaking wet there is usually no toilet paper and no means of washing your hands. And to round it all off there is usually a charge to use them. This applies to both male and female toilets although for the most anyone uses any toilet.

Food and drink is very cheap, most places giving you 2 for 1 on cocktails, meaning you can get 2 cocktails for about 6 - 7 lev (£2 - £2.50). We found that a really good night out could be had for about £25 for 2 people.

Although we had a good holiday, we will not be returning to the Riu Helios again. For what we paid I would at least expect air conditiong that works properly in the room.... maybe if I was German....."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 6th of July 2006

Fantastic hotel


"Fantastic hotel. Excellent position. Staff very friendly. Food outstanding. Very very clean. Would reccommend this hotel."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 29th of June 2006

Hell - With Bedrooms


"As a foreigner now living in Sofia, Bulgaria, I planned my weekend at Sunny Beach (Black Sea) like a pro. Flights, Transfers, the Works...

What an utter and complete disappointment this hotel is!

For starters, the hotel does not offer transfers from Bourgas Airport (or any airport for that matter). You have to take a taxi (which costs up to BGN60 one way).
Upon arrival, I had to drag my luggage to reception, right past 3 bell-boys standing looking on.
Check-in took 15 minutes (unheard of by hotels of international standard).
The room was comfortable and the shower divine, but that unfortunately is where the luxury ends.
Drunken youngsters roam the hotel passages and bang (almost breaking) doors down in the middle of the night. Good luck calling reception and getting them to do something about it - In typical Bulgarian attitude you are told that they cannot do anything about that.

Also good luck to you for finding a place next to the pool. Although hotel regulations state that no-one may 'book' a lounger next to the pool, there are always towels on the deck-chairs but the occupants no-where to be seen for hours on end (and that at 09:00 in the morning!)
I took the liberty of removing some of the towels and calling the life-guard over to tell him what I did and reminding him of the rules of the pool. His attitude was - 'Ok - We shall see what happens.' The owner (a rude German couple arrived) and I ended up in a conflict situation with no support from the life-guard.

The food is sub-standard. The main dining room offers buffet style food - as tasteful as a piece of cardboard box. Also, breakfast is served only until 10:00 and dinner ends at 21:15 (that's when all the food is removed by the staff - Heaven forbid you're still busy with a salad for starters because your main dish will have to be a bread roll with butter.
I had to set an alarm (on my vacation????) so I could make breakfast.

The hotel has no idea what all-inclusive means, and don't be fooled by advertisements stating that. You can have free soft-drinks but any liquor not Bulgarian is at a charge.

I informed the reception staff of my check out time the night before. Yet again, there was no one around to help me with my luggage.
Also, I asked reception to call me a taxi and to negotiate a fixed rate (if you speak Bulgarian, then its no problem getting a fixed rate taxi). I was told in a rude manner that the hotel can order me a taxi, but after that, I was on my own.

So, in summary. For your own sake and sanity, avoid this hotel. I guarantee you that the time you spend there will be as pleasant as a root-canal."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 24th of July 2005

The Best in Sunny Beach


"Just returned from 2 weeks at the Helios Palace. What a place...could not fault the staff, food, service, rooms, pools and anything about this hotel.

The rooms are lovely with carpeted floors, power shower, air con and a large balcony. The maid who came in everyday was wonderful, tidying everything up, putting out fresh towels daily and even made 2 swans out of towels and left it on the bed.

The food is wonderful. Plenty of choice and very fresh. The waiters are very efficient, clearing away plates minutes after you have finished your meal.

We tended to stay by the pool everyday due to unlimited drinks but we went for regular walks on the beach which is right next to the hotel. There are plenty of things to do in the hotel if you do not want to sunbath all day. The entertainments staff organise activities like volleyball, waterpolo, shooting, bingo, french boules etc. In the evening they put on some great shows and they work so hard at making the holiday for you.

The resort itself is very lively with plenty of bars but a limited choice of resaurants.

All in all this holiday was wonderful, especially the hotel and would recommend anyone to go."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 18th of July 2005

Wow.......loved it!!


"This hotel is absolutely amazing. My 16 year old daughter and myself were there for a week 27th May, originally booked into the Riu Evrika by Portland Direct, they cancelled and moved us to the Riu Helios Palace instead.
What can I!! We simply could not fault any aspect of it. As we were all inclusive, our main concern was whether the food would be ok but no worries on that score...there was such an excellent choice for all meals, I would say that even the most fussy eaters would have ample choice, and it was cooked to absolute perfection. It was even cooked on show. There was so much to choose from we were like kids in a sweetie shop, and the deserts were to die for, even kids had plenty to keep them happy., The service in the restaurant was excellent, no sooner you put down your knife and fork the plate was removed for you. We had intended eating out around the resort but the food in the restaurant was too good to

We're strangers to this sort of thing, having always gone self catering but we were just stunned by the hotel. It was so spotlessly clean, the cleaners were everywhere, from morning till night. The public area toilets were immaculate and well stocked with paper, cleaned constantly. The settees in the lobby areas were plentiful and really comfortable.An ashtray or dirty glass/cup was left for longer than a minute or two.

Our room was huge, and so comfortable we just loved being in it. Although it overlooked the front of the hotel rather than the pool there's a lovely water feature and the sun is on the balcony from about 4pm, just right for when you've had enough of the pool area, and you can look down into the shops.

The staff were lovely, nothing was too much trouble and the reception staff were great. Please be kind to them, they work hard to make your stay enjoyable.
This was the only holiday we've been on where you didnt have to be up at the crack of dawn to grab a sunbed. There are loads of them with comfy cushions, umbrellas and tables. As with everything else it was exceptionally clean. The internet room is 5lev per hour but if you're online for less you pay for only how long you're on. The pool table by the pool takes a 3lev token which you get from the bar, and kept us amused for hours cos we're hopeless at it.

As we were only there for a week and to just chill out, we had a wonderful time. The hotel is at the start of a really long promenade running along the beach which is lined with market shops selling fake designer gear, and restaurants/cafes, if you like that sort of thing you'll be in heaven. We hired bicycles, 4lev an hour, and also a twin bike for 8lev an hour to get along the prom but most evenings we just strolled along with everyone else quite happily. It seems most people did the same of an evening.

We went to Nessebar one day......well worth a visit, there's a lovely little museum there with traditional costumes in it. All the old houses are wooden, and our taxi driver said the village was 2500 years old.

If you get chance go on the Jeep safari up the mountains.......'Off road Experience'......its wonderful, but you do get shook and rattled around in the back of the jeep. We were ok as we were on the seats behind the driver but the ones sitting either side in the back were tossed around more. It had rained the day before we went up there so there were some lovely mucky puddles to drive through and our young driver was excellent at that. We all tipped him 5lev each when we got back, they only earn a pittance.
The quad bikes were great, and you could try your hand at rifle shooting and archery as well as a horse ride and the whole day was videoed by a guy sat on top of one of the jeeps, who jumped off occasionally to film us from different viewpoints. The dvd is 45 lev, but a nice souvenir, we had to have it.

All in all it was the best holiday we've had and I think it's spoilt us for future choices. We didnt want to leave and will most certainly go back before it becomes like a spanish costa. As for being like Blackpool? way. If you like to complain you'll be hard pushed to find anything, except for building work in some parts which is inevitable in an up and coming resort."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 11th of June 2005

Very nice


"Stayed at the Riu Helios on 27th may 2005, the hotel is very nice, big and clean, 2 lovely pools (although freezing) and the staff are mostly very friendly and helpful. the food is good although it can get a bit repetative after a week but then thats the same in most all inclusive hotels.
The rooms are very spacious and are cleaned spottlessly every day with most rooms overlooking the swimming pools.
The hotel is very central to all the shops and bars and there are lots of them!
The resort itself is very clean and you don't get hassled if you go in a shop to buy something, we came in a group of 24 and we all enjoyed our stay here, would recommend it to everyone."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 5th of June 2005

Blackpool by the Black Sea


"Very disapointed by the standard of this hotel,especially as it is a Riu & their hotels are usually excellent,there is no way we would rate this as a 4star.Sunny Beach to us was Blackpool by the Balck Sea & as we live there,might as well have stayed at home.Once away from all the "tatt"in resort the countryside & mountains are lovely & had some very good sightseeing trips.If like us you go away to relax and have some peace & quiet this resort is not for you.Families with young children or young people looking for a cheap holiday would be well suited.Will not be returning."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 5th of October 2004

A brilliant hotel


"myself and two friends have just arrived back from Bulgaria and we stayed in RIU Helios hotel for a week all inclusive. The food and staff were absolutely amazing and put up lots of entertainment. Stepping out onto the main streets is a different story though - you start to feel quite vulnerable as you are constantly getting people coming up to you to get you in their shop/bar/club/restaurant and there are certain locals who work on the stalls who try to rip you off and make threats if you don't buy something from their stall. My advise - spend most of the time in the hotel and if you go out on the street, ignore people who try to get you to come over to their stalls, especially if you're English, they tend to pray on British people. Me and a friend were given some fruit in our hands from a man running a fruit stand to try, but we had no money on us and said that we wouldn't like to buy any in which the man then threatened to send 5 men around our hotel if we didn't come back and pay for what we thought was a free sample (they will try and catch you out) we returned to our hotel to get some money and he demanded 40 lev for the single cherry that he had given us, I only had a 10 on me which I payed as felt quite threatened and he demanded we go back to our room to get the rest (which we said we'd do but we didnt and just avoided that area for the rest of the holiday) So watch out for people like that as apparently the police aren't too helpful towards British people either so won't be much use! All in all, the holiday was great but just be weary of the people who live there."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 14th of July 2012

Rating breakdown

  • 3 Location
  • 4 Beach
  • 5 Room
  • 5 Pool
  • 5 Service
  • 5 Value
  • 5 Food
  • 5 Cleanliness

Bit disappointing for a Riu


"We visited this hotel from 6th -17th August 2010. The food was varied and on the whole very good, the air conditioning in the hotel is really not good and this is felt in the dining room in particular.

It was unusually hot for the time of year we were told but the dining experience was spoilt by the lack of air con.

The hotel and pool areas were kept really clean and staff were very freindly and always willing to help. Sunny Beach is a very lively resort and especially popular with young people out for a wild time.

With this in mind bars surrounding the hotel are very noisy into the early hours of the morning and the thump thump of the bars continue throughout the day and can be heard around the smaller pool. Generally though our sleep wasn't desturbed so i wouldnt let this put you off.

The real bonus here is the fake designer clothes, you can get some real bargains but store holders won't barter and can get a bit miffed if pushed to do so.

The hotel entertainment is okay during the day when staff do their best to entertain but the evening entertainment is absolutely terrible! Having said that their is lots to do outside the hotel and families with children of all ages would probably prefer to go out and about in the evening. There is a lack of things to do for teenagers at the hotel but in fairness the staff are trying to address this with activities such as volley ball.

A definite must is the night out to Khans Tent... It was fantastic... great food and entertainment.

All in all we had a great break and felt we got good value for money.

Angela "

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 17th of August 2010

Rating breakdown

  • 4 Beach
  • 4 Room
  • 4 Pool
  • 4 Service
  • 4 Dining
  • 3 Amenities
  • 4 Food
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Top traveller tips for Hotel Riu Helios

  • Kyshall by Kyshall

    "I experienced a V.I.P. cruise on a Catamaran which was the best activity for me. "

  • gary didsbury by gary didsbury

    "Excellent value for money "

  • gary didsbury by gary didsbury

    "nessibar was a nice day out and only 10mins away "

  • Jonny471 by Jonny471

    "If you are going as a family dont go if you are going as an 18-30 it will be very good! "

  • Phee by Phee

    "Mexican restaurant on Flower Street, did not sightsee, could not rely on weather "

  • Tucker by Tucker

    "Great for a cheap short holiday "

  • wendygambier by wendygambier

    "busy -friendly and cheap "

  • wendygambier by wendygambier

    "nazibar heritage site "

  • LittleFlower09 by LittleFlower09

    "Not good for familys, got some clubs around . "

  • LittleFlower09 by LittleFlower09

    "The towns and markets there. "

  • snobbig by snobbig

    "go and try and you will come back "

  • vmars89 by vmars89

    "make the most of the service and food within the hotel "

Hotel Riu Helios is also called

  • Riu Helios Hotel
  • Riu Helios Sunny Beach

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