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Reviewed 24 June 2017 via mobile

Let's start from the beginning. We booked on the Hilton website for a 5 day stay by the sea. This was a resort we had not been to before, but seeing as it was a Doubletree by Hilton, and as a regular Hilton group customer, I decided we should book this hotel. How bad could it be?

First the check in. The staff at the desk were very helpful and friendly. Her English was minimal but we managed to check in. There was some confusion on her part whether we had to pay for the parking or not (as we are Hilton Gold members), but as it was just past midnight I didn't care and was happy to find out the next day. As it happens we do have to pay, but I have no issue with that. So the check in was not bad at all.

The room. We have a one bedroom suite on the fourth floor. The room was clean when we got there, and although smelt a little damp, my assumption is that this was because the carpets had been cleaned recently (or so it looked like). I would also say that the furniture looked a little cheap. It looked new, just not what you would expect from a Hilton branded hotel. Again on its own, not a big deal.

Cleaning. The cleaner visits the room once a day, note I didn't say cleaned, they give you a bottle of free water, replace the towels and make the bed. That is all they do. They do not clean the bathrooms, toilet or replace any of the used glasses etc.

The pools. Both outside pools are of a good size, clean and nice. They have lifeguards and plenty of places to sit around them. They both have poolside bars. The issue is that it seems there are different classes of guests. If you are a package holiday guest that has paid for "all inclusive", something I was unable to do when booking as no such option existed whether I wanted to or not, then you have access to these bars. If you are a "normal" guest, then you have to climb the stairs back to the lobby bar where you can purchase drinks (not charge to the room). This theme will follow you throughout your stay here. When we arrived late on the first night they had run out of bottled beer in the bar, and draught beer was only for the "all inclusive" guests.

The food. When you arrive as a guest you are classified, and as a bed & breakfast you are given orange wristbands, yes in a Doubletree we are given wristbands to identify you as a guest who can have breakfast! Breakfast is ok, not as good as I would expect but I have no real complaints about it. If you are someone who is not used to the Bulgarian way of doing things you may not appreciate it.

I have not tried to eat in the hotel other than breakfast, purely for not wanting to have the pain of trying to buy food when not all inclusive. I have however tried to get beer and I can say that is virtually impossible. One day I had to ask reception, who had to ring the food and beverage manager to allow us to use a bar in the restaurant at lunch time to get a beer for us.

I must point out that the staff here (not management) have always been very polite, nice and helpful, within their abilities to make decisions and change things. The management were missing, which maybe why things are like they are. When I asked to speak to the duty manager, I was told they were not her. So I asked to speak to general manager, I was told he was away on a business meeting. There was nobody that could make a decision on site. All I was told was that this is the "system".

All in all, this is not what I expect from a Hilton branded hotel. I am disappointed, and I assume if Doubletree knew that a package holiday hotel (which is essentially what this hotel is) was being branded in their name so blatantly ignoring their principles I am sure they would lose their association. I urge any Hilton Honors members to make sure they have their eyes wide open if they chose to make a booking here.

Lastly, and it shouldn't be used as a negative, just for full information. This hotel is in a resort and therefore in season you should expect a large number of families.

Stayed: June 2017, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Richard S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gabriella J, Marketing Coordinator at DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands, responded to this reviewResponded 12 July 2017

Dear Edjrms,
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. It is great to know you enjoyed our staff, facilities and the rooms during your time with us. Also thank you for the appreciation of our staff. We are extremely happy to hear that the quality of the service and the kindness of the staff are highly appreciated by our guests.
Please, accept our sincerest apologies for the negative experience that you had during your stay at our hotel. As it is listed on the websit of the hotel, the parking lots are payable and being upon ability. Also, at client's request, the board could be changed. Have you discussed this opportunity with someone at the reception?

Thank you for providing us information about the difficulties during your stay. We are always looking for ways to improve our service, and your feedback is a great part of that process.

We thank you for spending your summer holiday with us at the DoubleTree by Hilton - Varna Golden Sands and hope to once again serve you in the future.
Best wishes,
Gabriela Anastasova, Marketing Coordinator

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2017

We have recently returned from two weeks at the Doubletree by Hilton and this is the first time I have felt compelled to write a review.

We have been going to Bulgaria for 20 years, usually to Albena, so this was our first time in Golden Sands and we felt we were playing safe by booking into the Hilton. Mmm . . .

There were many good points; the staff were universally helpful and charming and went out of their way to help; wifi in the room; the rooms were spacious and the balcony was huge. All good stuff but the star of the show - by a mile - is the spa. It is truly fantastic - it is beautifully decorated and offers a very wide range of treatments. We took a couple of packages and then they were tailored to our individual requirements. The bottom line was that we were in there every day for about 3 hours getting 3 or 4 treatments a day, everything from massages, mud cures, facials and oxygen therapy. All of it delivered in a friendly and professional manner by Boryana and her excellent team. The spa staff were very helpful, sensitive to your needs and our expectations were surpassed at every turn. Fantastic!

Unfortunately, we were very disappointed in the food. We complained to our tour rep on the second day and there did seem to be a huge improvement after that, but there is still a long way to go. The meat and fish were not to our taste; they seem to joint the meat differently and leave all the bones and fat in. Yuck! Who knew a chicken had so many bones? The food was also very adult orientated, so I don't know what you would do if you were travelling with kids. Or if you were a veggie.

The spa was magnificent and helped you overlook certain flaws, but the food is dragging the hotel down.

  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Peony26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gabriella J, Marketing Coordinator at DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands, responded to this reviewResponded 24 June 2017

Dear Peony26,

Thank you for this review!
We are grateful for your warm words. We really appreciate your great review on our rooms, facilities and the spa center. Also thank you for the appreciation of our staff and Boryana and her team in particular. We are extremely happy to hear that the quality of the service and the kindness of the staff are highly appreciated by our guests!
Thank you for providing us information about the situation with the food at the restaurant. We are doing our best to make it right!
We will be happy to be welcoming you again as our guest!

With kindest regards,
Gabriela Anastasova, Marketing Coordinator, DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands.

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Reviewed 18 June 2017

I'm taking this time to write you (The potential customer of Doubletree - Varna) why? Because of many reasons but I thought, I might as well use the extra 15 minutes I have since I was told that the customer service representative is "out to lunch" and no one else is available to check me out at this time (1318 - Local Time). Very interesting considering I have literally never been to a Hilton Property worldwide that makes you wait to check out. Im sitting at the front desk right now just maximizing the extra 15 minutes right now.

Let me start from the beginning - glorious check-in.

1) The morning representative barely spoke English

2) Went to check in she said it was too early for me to go to my room. She mentioned something about waiting 90 mins to 2 hours before it would be free.

3) I proceeded to get a coffee and waited for almost 2 hours. When I went back to the front desk - she said "sir please sit down and wait another 1-2 hours then your room would be ready." Hmmm - so what you are saying is I should wait a total of 4 hours for my room to be ready? (I'm also a Diamond member and usually get early check-in at most properties).

4) I spoke with her manager who managed to communicate in English and miraculously the room was ready but STILL the morning representative failed to tell me anything about the property (Internet, breakfast, all-inclusive situation, cards for towels, etc). I had to go back 3-4 times to figure out that I needed "towel cards" in order to procure beach towels. Thanks for the smooth check-in process!!!

Next, we sat down to a nice breakfast. Oh wait - I cant call it breakfast since the food was so awful I could barely eat it but my friend and I had driven 4 hours on the motorcycle so we were kinda forced to eat some remnants of food. Not sure why but I asked the front desk again about our wrist bracelets. Apparently the ones we were issued were good for breakfast only. We wanted to get some drinks throughout the weekend so I managed to convince the front desk lady to take my money since she was convinced that they dont upgrade your "breakfast-only bracelets" - I had to speak with her manager AGAIN for her to figure out that you can pay additional money for the all-inclusive bracelets.

Not sure why we ventured into the dining facility for lunch but we did it and were we greeted by fried fish and mystery sauces. Im not sure you can call this food exactly so I grabbed a plate up to the room in hopes that the seagulls would clean it off. Sure enough in about 5-10 minutes that polished off the prison food and went on their merry way. At least my additional 30 USD was worth the entertainment factor of watching the seagulls stomach that grade FFFF meat.

The hotel is NOT on the water and in fact you have to take a train 2.5 kilometers away to a beach that hasnt seen a cleaning since 1970. Do not recommend using this beach at all.

Here is what I recommend if you are a loyal Hilton Hhonors member.

1) Don't stay here
2) Don't stay in Golden Sands either since you will be sorely dissapointed with the overall environment
3) Go just south near Varna and find a nice B&B or Mom / Pop hotel that is actually on the beach to enjoy your time in Bulgaria if you are dead set on a vacation here.


Enjoy!!!

PS - I had a discussion with the receptionish in Yerevan at the Doubletree about their unique cookies. Very interesting they had to adhere to strict quality control standards for all cookies worldwide. Hitlon HQ - might want to pass that memo to the Varna property since they obviously missed the mark with those things they call cookies.

Adieu / Ciao

Stayed: June 2017, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Tim G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gabriella J, Marketing Coordinator at DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands, responded to this reviewResponded 24 June 2017

Dear Tim G,

Thank you very much for taking the time and sharing your comments with us as the guests reviews are very important for improving our service.
We are very sorry to hear that you have experienced difficulties of that nature. Our major goal is to make our guest feel comfortable and happy. We apologize for the situation with the check-in and please be sure the Front Desk Manager have already arranged trainings for the reception staff in order to avoid such situations in the future. Also, as it is written at reception, the check-in is at 14 o’clock and the check out- at 12 o'clock.
We are sad to hear you were left unhappy with the food variety. Our guests can enjoy several dining options with cuisines to tempt the palate. We have 14-day menu and there are more than 45 items on the buffet for the breakfast, lunch or dinner, so our guest can choose the meals according to their preferences.
As our hotel is set in the ancient and protected forest of Golden Sands Natural Park, overlooking the Black Sea coast, we are happy our guests can enjoy both - the party life in the beach bars and clubs as well as the quiet and peaceful rest when back to the hotel. We understand the hotel is a bit away from the sea (400m, 10min walking distance), therefore we provide the mini-train transportation to the Riviera Beach as well as the shuttle bus to the Nirvana beach, where All Inclusive guests can take the sunbeds and umbrellas for free.
At DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands we pride ourselves on giving our 100% every day to ensure that our customers’ needs are being met. I would like to thank you one more time for bringing your comments to our attention.
Looking forward to welcoming you again.
With best regards,
Gabriela Anastasova
Marketing Coordinator
DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands

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Reviewed 10 June 2017 via mobile

I have returned home this morning 10th of June 2017 with my family of 11 people which have been at this hotel for 1 week. From the moment we stepped off the bus we had no representative that greeted us, and then received our welcome pack 4 days in to the holiday. The cleaner only cleaned the room once in 7 days and never made the bed or gave clean towels and cups, as pathetic as it sounds you sort of expect that as part of a cleaners role.. Reported to reception that I had 2 Brand New Ralph Lauren t shirts stolen out of my room.! But was told that this is the 4th time it's happened recently. No outcome came of reporting it just brushed aside. The food is absolutely awful and gave my kids upset stomachs and sickness for the holiday also, the bread was mouldy the milk was sour and the eggs and meat under cooked. They have kids animation at night but told to walk to other end of hotel by the manager herself for a drink as they are under staffed and even though we were all inclusive it didn't matter, her attitude was disgusting, we were looked upon as if we were like a typical British holiday moaner which when being around a family of 11 we certainly were not. The staff are very rude and don't speak English so there is a massive language barrier in trying to sort trips out for the family. I am absolutely disgusted with the way it's run and the way the management and staff treat their guests, as we use Hilton hotels all over the world. It's a 2* nowhere near 5* do not waste your hard earned money going here as it's all misleading on they're website, it is described as a family hotel but also full of stag and hen parties which isn't made clear as well which at 1 o clock in the morning with a 2 year old in bed your woken up to chanting from stags that are in the surrounding rooms, my wife had a full massage and was also walked in on by a male barman 'accidentally' in the Aphrodite spa, but ask yourself why would there be a barman in the spa???. Hilton really should be embarrassed by this sham of a hotel and strike it off. We clearly will not be returning here and if anyone does after reading this does proceed to go is clearly a fool too. Thank you for reading.

Stayed: June 2017, travelled with family
5  Thank Gareth B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Victor Z, Director of Business Development at DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands, responded to this reviewResponded 16 June 2017

Dear Gareth B,

Thank you very much for taking the time and sharing your comments with us, as our guests’ satisfaction is our main priority.
On behalf of DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands, I wanted to extend my sincerest apologies for the negative experience that you had during your stay at our hotel.
At DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands, we pride ourselves on giving our 100% every day to ensure that our customers’ needs are being met. Therefore we would appreciate if you informed either your tour operator representative or the hotel management about the issues you had, so we could react immediately and make it right.
I would like to thank you for bringing this issue to our attention; the corresponding Head of Departments will investigate each situation in details.
We are always looking for ways to improve our service, and your feedback is an invaluable part of that process.
Kindly ask you to send us on doubletree@hiltonvarna.com your contact details so we can inform you about the results.

With best regards,
Victor Zhukov
Director of Business Development
DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands

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Reviewed 9 June 2017

We have really enjoyed our holiday at this hotel. We will probably return. The kids enjoyed kids club and mini club and various other activities. Lovely indoor and outdoor pools and friendly staff. Clean spacious rooms and comfortable beds. Loved the private beach and in walking distance of the aqua park. Just a short walk from town but still in a peaceful place.

Stayed: June 2017, travelled with family
Thank J L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gabriella J, Marketing Coordinator at DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands, responded to this reviewResponded 15 June 2017

Dear J L,

Thank you for this amazing review! We are grateful for your warm words about our facilities and friendly staff. We also appreciate your review on our rooms and private beach.
We look forward to serving you next season.
With kindest regards,
Gabriela Anastasova, Marketing Coordinator, DoubleTree by Hilton Varna - Golden Sands.

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