Many websites that provide a detailed description of the hotel are inaccurate, so read my comprehensive review so you know what to expect. (General pros and cons indicated by + and -, and worst parts about hotel are at the end.)
I stayed at the International hotel with my boyfriend Sept. 19-22, 2011 through a cheap last-minute deal.
About the room: The double room is 35 sq. meters (according to their website) and has couches, a desk, phones, safe, minibar, a TV, closets, a lavatory room, separate bath/shower room, 2 large single beds (big enough at ~120 cm x 200 cm, but not queen size as their website claims), individually-controlled A/C, and a beach-view window the length of the wall.
Review of room:
(+)Impressive and spacious;
(+)Great view of sea and attractions, both day and night.
(+)Nice lounge area with couches
(+)Plenty of closet space to hang clothes BUT no shelves or dressers (-);
(+)After we pushed the beds together to make a king size it was big and comfortable.
(+)There is a phone on the desk and one next to the bathtub, BUT none next to the bed! (-)
(-)No kettle in the room.
(-)Faucet water smells slightly sulfurous, BUT it will make your skin and hair incredibly smooth and soft- take a long hot bath and you’ll feel afterwards that you had a spa treatment! (+++)
Review of hotel services and amenities:
(+)Friendly reception and someone is always available at the desk.
(+)The meals were buffet style and had a wide selection to choose from. (+)Breakfast was great (except for the “juice”), but dinner wasn’t amazing (-).
(-)When paying in currency other than Leva they do take a commission, so it’s better to find a low-commission place to exchange money before spending money at the hotel.
(-)The pool has no privacy- it’s only accessible from outside the hotel, it’s right next to the street, and it isn’t gated (a dog could jump in if it wanted to). You’re not allowed to bring a room towel or your own drink to the pool (which has its own bar). You have to leave a deposit in order to get a pool towel. The pool is also quite small (but at least it looks nice and was clean).
(+)Free shuttle to the mall in Varna, but it’s very infrequent and the ride takes about an hour (according to reception)(-).
What really bothered me (-----):
1) Wi-fi costs money (20 Leva for 3 days) and can only be used with one device at a time.
2) The hotel discourages use of your own electrical devices in their rooms- they even mention it in the information papers provided. Outlets used by their appliances (lamps, TV, minibar) are either hidden or completely blocked off. The only 2 usable outlets are at the entrance to the room and in the bathroom (on the hairdryer), which is where I had to charge my phone since there is no outlet next to the bed.
3) We heard very loud music from the boardwalk until at least 3 AM, even from the 5th floor. If you don’t plan to be out all night partying, make sure to bring very good earplugs and try to get a room on a very high floor.
4) The TV is all the way across the room from the beds and isn’t nearly big enough, and almost every channel is dubbed so the only channels in English were the music channel and one with old black-and-white movies. If you are coming with children ask for channel censorship since there are 2 porn channels.
5) At dinner they make you pay for drinks. You can’t even have water for free and they won’t let you bring your own drink to dinner.
6) The casino does not offer much for first-time gamblers without a lot of money. They have no poker or blackjack tables for small betting- the minimum is 5 Euros per hand. If you want to play Texas Hold’em against other players the minimum buy-in is 100 Euros. The only games you can spend time playing without risking a lot are the slot machines and video poker (25 Euro cents per play).
Other good things to know:
1) There is a public bus to and from the airport every 15 minutes or so and the ride takes about an hour (so I’m told). You can also take a taxi from the airport for 30 Leva which takes about 30 minutes, but a taxi from the hotel to the airport costs 70 Leva! (-)
2) There is a small supermarket right next to the hotel and several along the boardwalk.
3) The hotel itself is in a great location if you plan to spend your vacation on the beach, boardwalk, bars, and/or in the casino. However if you want to spend time in the city of Varna, the location of the hotel is about as far away as you can get.
- Also Known As:
- Grand Hotel And Casino International
- International Hotel Golden Sands
- INTERNATIONAL Hotel Casino & Tower Suites Golden Sands, Bulgaria - Varna Province
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