Report on Bulgaria 2004
The Lotus (or Lotos) Hotel in the Riviera Resort
The Riviera Complex consists of the Lotus (4*), Riviera (5*), Nympha(3*) and a couple of others right at the start of Golden Sands.
It has its own gated security entrance, which makes it reasonably secure but prevents your tour bus dropping you off right outside your hotel.
Because it is slightly to one side of the Golden Sands proper, it is quieter here (one reason why we picked it) yet within easy walking distance of the start of Golden Sands centre (about 30 seconds walking, actually).
All the meals are buffet style, thank goodness, although outsiders can order a la carte. The food was quite nice (for a bit, before it grew boring) and the restaurant had an outside covered eating area which we used without exception.
The staff clear the table of excess cutlery, plates and debris very quickly although they can be a bit slow in getting your drinks. I think this might be because the order goes through to the separate bar, and they then have to collect them.
Watch out for the only tall drinks waiter, he reminds me of Mr Bean. And I mean that in the nicest possible way, honest!
The whole complex is right on the beach, with special reserved areas for each of the hotels. Just don't try and use the area for the 5-star Imperial or you will asked to move to the Lotus area sharpish!
You can hire a pedalo for 5 levs per half hour which was quite fun (you can see the non-dangerous jelly fish!) but hard work if it's a bit windy. You can also get a run in a big rubber lilo thing being pulled by a fast speed boat. Paragliding and jet skis are available in the Golden Sands resort not directly here.
There's beach bar too, unfortunately run by moron gorillas who speak English only when the fancy takes them and who have never heard of customer service. The bar is also spoiled by the overloud music, played I suspect for the benefit of the 3 bar staff. Now don't go thinking I'm some old git who wouldn't recognise Britney if I bumped into her; I've only just given up DJ-ing so I know my music and what appeals to customers whose average age is about 45. Loud Gangsta-rap doesn't really cut it.
The rooms are small. OK for one person but they feel very crowded with two people in them. They have a mini bar (and due to the Bulgarian prices you can actually afford to drink a beer from it) although they do contribute to the heat in the rooms.
The air conditioning is antiquated, noisy (on the high settings) and totally useless. Well, not totally then but pretty useless. In this day and age of modern air conditioning units, the ones in the Lotus need ripping out and replacing. A sign of the communist era, I'm afraid.
The towels were replaced daily, and the rooms even vacuumed regularly. The beds were made daily too and the bins emptied. However, the rooms were not exactly clean, if you looked under the beds for instance. But for the two weeks we were there I would say they did the job, even with the bathroom the size of most people's under-stair cupboard!
Offical rating: 4 star
Likes: front desk helpfulness and friendliness
Towels changed every day.
Quiet hotel. No noise (on the 5th floor anyway).
Security safes in the main lobby (chargeable).
Dislikes: small rooms.
Recommend? Yes, but only if you like it quiet.