Reviewed 27 February 2015, Stayed February 2015, travelled with family
Hear: the gentle Asian style chill- out music in the SPA
See: the scenery beneath the peak of Yastrebets and Markudjik; the view to the ski slope, bathed in sun rays just in front of the hotel
Smell: the fascinating scents of lavender, white tea, salvia, eucalyptus and pineapple at the SPA
Taste: the rich choice of tea at the bar and the SPA; the natural honey served with the honeycomb at the breakfast; the variety of in-house baked bread; the well selected wine list
Touch: sense the recharging and relaxing facial and body treatments at the SPA
I have already wrote in TripAdvisor about Yastrebets Wellness and SPA Hotel and more or less I can repeat again most of the points elaborated in my previous review, dating from last year. (To see it, check the topmost description on the page following the link, titled “Good mountain hotel with high level of service and a wonderful SPA.”) The difference in the present review is that this time I shall put stress on details through the perspective of my 5-dimensional sensograph, which is the signature mark of my blog placescases.wordpress.com.
Yastrebets Wellness and SPA is situated in Borovets resort, softly embraced by the highest in Bulgaria and the whole Balkan peninsula Rila mountain , at a 1 hour maximum drive distance from the capital Sofia. Named after the peak of Yastrebets, where the gondola last station is situated, with 3 ski runs starting from there, the hotel is a little aside of the central part of Borovets resort, providing seclusion and opportunities for relax both in winter and summer.
I can describe my experiences with the hotel from both winter and summer visits but since the last time I stayed there for my ski vacation, I shall share only recent winter time impressions.
Regardless if you are an active or a relax resting type of person, or both, you will be just at your best match with Yastrebets Wellness and SPA hotel.
The direct vicinity to the ski run and the lift is of great advantage. You jump on your ski or board and you are in the middle of the snow action.
Then, after an energetic sports morning you can enjoy a sunny break on the wonderful terrace of the hotel for a tea, lunch, glue wein, etc. with a perfect view to Yastrebets 3 ski run.
Another great convenience is that just in front of the hotel, there is a free of charge for all its guests surface lift, which is the perfect option for children and beginners.
The hotel has a well-equipped snow boutique for ski and snowboard renting. If you are just a beginner in skiing or snowboading, don’t worry. You can rely on the professional guidance of the teachers from the boutique. Those amazing young people, with their skills and patience, infected my 4 and 6 year old children with their enthusiasm and love for snow sports. My kids are going always impatiently to their lessons, eager for more fun and new experience. They advanced very fast under the supervision of their teachers and another good side of this is that meanwhile, mom and dad were having their time on the ski runs too.
One of the things that you should not miss at any circumstances is to reward yourself with some SPA treatments or even just with some nice time at the swimming pool and the thermal zone. The whole team of the SPA is very friendly and extremely skilful with all facial and body treatments.
The swimming pool has a Jacuzzi, which delights children a lot. There are safety swimming accessories to help them enjoy also the deeper part of the pool.
After an active skiing day, you can get a perfect relax in the thermal zone which welcomes you with its fascinating scents of lavender, white tea, salvia, eucalyptus, pineapple and the light Asian style chill-out music. To warm and detox yourself you can chose from the regular sauna, herbal bath, steam bath or the laconium. You can even enjoy the latter together with your kids, since it is not too hot. After having enough heat, you can cool yourself with tropical, foggy, strong showers or some crushed ice.
If you are a fan of massages and other body procedures, don’t miss the signature honey treatment. If you feel sick or you have been sick lately, it is a splendid detox therapy which boosts your immune system with the help of natural honey collected from the local area. I would recommend also the herbal pouches and aroma therapies, which I never miss to book for me. They are relaxing and pleasant, improving the blood circulation and nurturing perfectly the skin.
Compared to the Bulgarian standard prices, the treatments are expensive, but compared to prices of world-class SPAs, they are extremely cheap and corresponding to a world-class level of quality.
And for those who are feeling extremely sportive, besides the skiing and swimming, there is a fitness gym where they can burn extra calories or pump up the muscles.
Honestly said, if you miss to visit the SPA of Yastrebets, you will miss half of the great experience. So don’t hesitate and visit it!
Another convenient , totally free of charge service for family tourists is the kids club, attended by bilingual animators. The latter are playing games or crafting with the children, playing music or video films as well.
The restaurant of the hotel offers dishes and drinks in the mid-high class of prices compared to Bulgarian standard level. The wine list is sufficiently rich and of good quality.
The dish carte contains a list of various choices, mainly fusion type, with interesting combination of tastes. It is changed and better in comparison with last year, but still it could be a little further improved in taste and originality, to match the high standards of the hotel and the prices.
The breakfast is rich, tasty and of very good quality. The fresh addition to the buffet this year is salmon and smoked fish served on crackers and lemon slices. My favourite is the natural honey served with the honeycomb. There are always fresh fruit and vegetables, 3 types of eggs, 3-4 types of cold cuts, bacon and sausages, 3-4 types of cheese, croissants, cake, pancakes, various options for fresh bread or toast and many other things. And guess what, you can enjoy again the view to the mountain described above.
The lunch menu is attractive and fast served, it has several choices of delicious soup, grill, sandwiches and a dish of the day. You can have it either on the terrace or in the main restaurant of the hotel, both providing a beautiful view to the ski run and sunny mountain slopes.
Regarding the dinner carte, though, I had the feeling that the chef followed strict recipes without much inspiration, not daring to apply creativity in his work. Somehow I was missing a WOW effect in the dishes in order the restaurant to match perfectly the level of the hotel. Maybe some specially featured choices which can vary from day to day could add more character to the menu and meet the higher expectations of the customers. However, a very good approach are the choices from Bulgarian national cuisine , the Italian style pasta and risotto, as well as the variety of freshly in-house baked bread.
This year we were surprised with fresh enforcement of the restaurant waiting staff which resulted in better service and smoother communication. Young, courteous and smiling people were taking care of our dining comfort, always ready to help promptly, even the fussiest customers- the children.
A very smart approach is the kids’ menu, which is adjusted as portions, prices and variety to the little customers’ taste. Unfortunately it was missing Bolognese pasta, which is one of my kids most required dish. The latter was available only in big portions.
The lobby bar is packed with plenty of different in type and brands spirits, featured by some good single malt options. Mind the prices before you order. You can enjoy several types of tea and you can help yourself also from the available for borrowing books and magazines. There is a nice fireplace, which adds cosiness and warmth to your rest with the tea and the book.
There is a piano bar underground which I believe is working in Friday and Saturday evenings but I never had the chance to try it. You can use the opportunity also to play billiards on the same floor where the night club is.
The accommodation of the hotel is expensive for the Bulgarian standards but the rooms are well kept, neat, tidy and clean. Besides, the housekeeping staff is kind, smiling and very accurate. You can be well assured that if you put a sign for room cleaning you will have it cleaned almost immediately. If you have special requests to improve your room comfort, be assured that the staff will do its best to satisfy your needs.
Last but not least, this time I would like to give may special thanks to the receptionists. Those ladies are kind, prompt and courteous when you need help. Even if they cannot fulfil to 100% percent your claims, they will give you substitute options for you to feel comfortable and happy.
This time I shall share an interesting peace of info about an experience that I had twice in the hotel. Sometimes, on rare occasions, when there is heavy snowing, there are electricity supply problems in the resort and the whole region in general, which might affect the hotel and the resort facilities. The good news is that the hotel is well prepared and equipped especially for such emergencies, with local electricity generators. Even in such cases, there is normal lighting and heating and even the SPA is working in full steam with the whole thermal zone, swimming pool, treatments, etc. The only exception are the ovens in the kitchen and some areas in the corridors with less traffic, where lighting is scare . But somehow such setbacks are turned into advantages. The staff puts candles in the twilight zones which adds romantic and somewhat original mystic to the place.
I would greatly recommend, if you are a customer that strives for the best quality in Bulgarian resorts, to visit Yastrebets Hotel and take full advantage of all offered opportunities for fun and relax. I would sincerely advise family tourists with little kids, living in Sofia, to take the 1 hour journey to a very relaxing weekend or a longer entertaining, both for kids and parents, vacation.
To all of my readers who choose to trust my recommendation for the hotel, I would advise to fill generously your sensual tanks with pleasures from the nice terrace view to the sunny ski run and the quick jump directly into its snow action, the scents and comforting mildness of the thermal zone, the soft and pleasant touch of the body and face treatments in the SPA, all of them signature examples for the perfect recharge and boost of your vital energy. Be ready for coming back.
Tips: try to book a room with a view; Wi-Fi is available free of charge in the whole hotel, not very fast though.