03 Jul Perfect ski hotel in Bansko
This review is based upon three stays at Hotel Aquilon Residence & Spa.
It was February so winter was still upon us so I thought Bansko, Bulgaria would be a great destination.
Situated at about 570 km from Bucharest, my hometown, Bansko is one resort that enjoys a good reputation amongst Romanian skiers and for good reasons, reasons I will get into in another article.
I was looking both to ski and to unwind after hitting the slopes so I chose a hotel situated outside of Bansko in the little village of Banya, a hotel I visited in 2011 and 2013 if memory serves me right.
Hotel Aquilon Residence & Spa is situated at about 9 km from Bansko’s Gondola Lift, Gondola that can easily be reached by car or by the hotel’s shuttle bus. The shuttle bus is free for the hotel’s guests and it reaches the Gondola in about 10-12 minutes.
The hotel also offers transfers from the Sofia airport (if you chose to fly into Bulgaria) but I cannot give you much info on this service since I didn’t tested it. However prices and duration of transfer are shown on their website and they also respond to inquiries quite fast.
Now, to be honest, the main reason I chose this particular hotel was because I knew of the two swimming pools with hot spring water. One indoor pool and one external one.
Read below to find out how I rated this hotel based on the services I used.
- Staff – the first impression when walking into a new place is made by the people who greet you. In this area the hotel is served by great people, eager to help, polite and always smiling. That’s a big plus for me. During my stay the entire staff treated me nice so no minuses here.
- Parking – the hotel does have a parking lot but it has a limited number of parking spaces, so only a few cars can use it. However, guests can park on the hotel’s street (like I did for 3 days) with the condition to not block the access to other people’s houses.
- Rooms and cleanliness – I was accommodated in a studio (at my request) and I was happy with my choice. Since skiing requires a lot of equipment, in my opinion a simple room could get easily crowded, making it hard to move through it. The bathroom is small but very clean. On the subject of cleanliness I really have nothing to say, the hotel rooms are really clean and well kept.
- Services – there are a lot of services the hotel offers (free or with a fee) but I chose only the ones below.
- You can rent bathrobes for the pools (3 euro/bathrobe/stay) which is really nice.
- The hotel serves breakfast and also has a menu for dinner and lunch. The food is OK and is really cheap (cheaper than Bansko).
- The shuttle bus departs and returns at fixed hours(there is a schedule at the hotel reception).
- The gym – calling it a gym is a bit much since it’s only a small room with 2, 3 machines and some weights. I did not feel the need to use it and preferred to relax in the pool after skiing.
- The pools – the pools are the main reason I chose this particular hotel in the first place. Medium sized, filled with hot spring water, they are a delight after a hard day skiing. However, one thing to keep in mind, the spa center and also the pools are closed after 21:00 hours. Even the outside one, which is really lovely especially if it snows and you get to enjoy it while relaxing in the hot water. I found that a bit annoying since some days you just don’t want to drive back to Bansko to hang out with other people and the only available option is to sleep.
My verdict: The hotel is nice and the staff is well trained. The pools bring half of the charm of the stay. I would definitely stay there another time. However I would love it if the pools & sauna would close much later.