I stayed at the Kempinsky Sofia for one night only (mercifully) having chosen it for old times sake having stayed here many times in the mid 1990's. Well nothing has
changed, in fact its got a whole lot worse.
Checking in I was surprised to be given a metal discus weighing close to half a kilo with the key attached - no keycard here !! This retro line continued when I got to the room as the bedroom furniture is tired old dark veneered (if it is still attached) flat pack and the TV so old it was a museum piece. The mini-bar had a price list but was empty and there was no turn-down service. There was no in-room wireless internet (surely a basic requirement for even a basic two star hotel ?). The bathroom had the decor of a 1970's airport public toilet and there was a rusty tideline in the bath.
Whilst the reception staff tried hard to be welcoming and friendly, the product they have to work with is dead on its feet and the entire hotel requires gutting. In simple terms it was awful and quite how they manage to hang on to a five star rating is beyond me, this is maybe, a tired two star. This is a Kempinsky in name only.
Maybe I should have known better as I am no stranger to Sofia, but for the sake of nostalgia I booked here - well my mistake and I should have known better. So this is a warning to others - for the money the Kempinsky is way, way over priced and it really is only now a relic of times past. For the same money you can have a choice of a myriad of better two star hotels in the same area of Lozenets.
Avoid - unless you want to experience a journey back into Bulgaria's socialist past in the 1970's when the local politburo spent the mornings cementing socialism and the afternoons here getting plastered.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Marinela Sofia has an outstanding location, just 20 minutes from the airport and in close proximity to the city center. The hotel boasts amazing infrastructure built on 30 000 sqm and features the most comprehensive facilities in Sofia offering 442 rooms and suites with stunning panoramic views, the biggest hotel conference facilities in the capital, superb leisure and dining facilities including six restaurants and two bars and a modern health club with the biggest hotel swimming pool in the city. The hotel also offers the only Japanese garden on the Balkan Peninsula. Each Deluxe room and Junior suite are equipped with mini-bar, safe, individually controlled air-condition and heating systems, LCD or plasma flat screen TVs, a modern hotel entertainment system with video and music on demand, high-speed free Wi-Fi Internet and a smart card system in accordance with the latest security standards. Hotel Marinela boasts the biggest presidential suite in Bulgaria, in which a number of celebrities have stayed, such as Helmut Khol, Recep Erdogan, Sylvester Stallone, Julio and Enrique Iglesias, Lady Gaga, Tina Turner, James Brown, Anatoly Karpov, Wesley Snipes, Sergei Mihalkov, Elton John and more. Hotel Marinela provides every amenity necessary for focused and effective business communication. It is appropriate place for your successful meetings and celebrations. Three large banqueting halls, fully equipped to meet international expectations: Sofia 1, 2 and 3 can combine to form the largest hotel ballroom. Hotel boardrooms offer daylight, comfortable chairs and tables, easy connectivity to power and the web for each delegate, access to built-in multi-media equipment, interactive screens, microphones, flip charts, white boards, peg boards and free Wi-Fi. The six restaurants and two bars offer tantalising culinary creations from world cuisines. You can sip aromatic coffee or tea on the sun-lit terrace of Intermezzo lobby bar or enjoy fresh fish at Captain Cook or sushi fantasies at Happy Sushi; dine at the top of the city under the starry sky in Panorama Restaurant, taste sweet creations at Candy bar or stylish cocktails in Bar Le Parfum. The spacious fitness center is one of the most modern in Europe and includes massage rooms and the largest indoor hotel swimming pool in Sofia. Hotel Marinela offers free Internet. ... more less
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