Puzzling discrepancies in Hotel Arte, Velingrad
Hotel Arte attracted us with its interesting design.
The photos of its decoration with wooden hives on the wall of the reception desk, are very popular in internet. The same is with the sculpture of the Bee, the paintings and the the the the stylized imitations of hunting trophies on the walls. A great idea for interior design, materials and furniture choice- excellent performance. Unfortunately, subsequently you understand that there are quite a few things that are not in tune with the expectations for a luxurious experience in an artistic atmosphere.
Like at Uva Nestum, in Gotse Delchev town, there was a contrast between the original conceptual design and its actual application.
…. Straight from the entrance you are impressed by the artistry of the interior– avant-garde sculptures, paintings, lighting layout, non-standard flooring and decorative elements of chipboard panels imitating solid wood in natural color;
…. The photos of famous BG personalities on the walls – I admit that these pictures of singers (from pop-folk to pop), artists, TV stars, models represented marketing approach for personification of the customers, which the hotel wants to attract. This mix is too varied on my opinion, to say the least. Of course I did not see around any of the ‘elite’ personalities from the photos, but the client mix quite accurately matched to that on the wall, with the clarification that the artistic element was missing. The good thing was that there were a lot of kids which brought extremely pleasant energy.
…. Inventive and stylish interior, beautiful modern paintings of animals-interesting author’s interpretation of the Plovdiv artist Ivan Chakarov, who manifests as a portrait painter too. A sense of art! Only, behind them you notice large vertical gardens of artificial plants. Disappointing, but tolerable.
…. Above the pool there is a nice atrium that introduces natural light, only it is decorated, with guess what.…. Artificial plants.
…. Many types of steam baths, saunas, Hamam and other SPA extras, as well as great body and face treatments;
…. The relax room in the SPA is also remarkable- there are beds with warm water mattresses that glow in different lights;
…. The waiters in the restaurant worked hard and were very polite, despite the crowd of people at breakfast and dinner;
…. The shampoo and body wash in the bathroom is not special, as I expect it to be in hotels of such caliber– quite ordinary, only in well branded vials. Bring yours if you are choosy or just have sensitive skin;
…. If you have forgotten your toothbrush, the hotel will not provide you one for free as it was in other hotels where I used to stay. You will have the option to buy a really plain one for EUR 2.You pay EUR 175 per night, but tooth-brush that costs 50 cents is not included in the price;
…. For some reason, the house-keeping picked up the towels we used, although we left them hanging on the hangers so they wouldn’t change them. On top of that they didn’t leave us replacements. That’s how we had less towels on the second day. Half a heart is dropped;
…. The interior design of the hotel is nice and gives a sense of luxury, but the reality is pointing to the opposite. There were too many people everywhere. A sense of the Groupon-sold place. The bed base is for circa 300-400 people, and the common areas can fit, in my opinion, only half or one third of this audience. After dinner people were trying to find a place to socialize, have fun but there was no place at the lobby or the whiskey bar, and the SPA area had already been trampled, so there was a crowd wandering back and forth without success. It turns out that besides sitting in the restaurant and struggle with that horrific live music, there were no other options then going back to the room. A whole heart is off! At least it was good thing that for the children there was enough space to play and animation entertainment;
…. Indoor swimming pool with mineral water, which has an approach to external part. This is an exceptionally good solution for outdoor swimming pool with hot mineral water, which can also be used in winter. There was the same in There was the same in There was the same in There was the same in There was the same in There was the same in There was the same in There was the same in Corona Dolomites in Andalo, Italy, where we stayed for one of our ski vacations. However, the positive comparisons end here. In Arte there is not a single free lounge chair around the pool. There was no space and it was crowded with people. Along the length of the pool there were some ridiculous huge tents with canopies. People, this is not a beach on the sea, what are these tents and those canopies for? They totally break the harmony of space, cross the gaze, outweigh and waste space for lounge chairs.
Well yes, you literally have no place to put your robe and personal belongings. You just pile them up on your flip-flops somewhere and jump into the pool. I asked if it is always like this, with so many people, the staff kindly and with some pride explained to us that every weekend is like this and even during the week days. 😲 With a great disappointment I dropped another heart. ☹ ️
The feeling of luxury in a hotel is not only related to the high prices of accommodation, as is exactly the case with Hotel Arte. One-bedroom apartment worth EUR 180 per night, which is too much as a local price. Deluxe Family room appr. EUR 175. Such type of accommodation should provide more space for its guests (I don’t mean the rooms here, they are large enough), so as not to feel the crowd, have some privacy and casual comfort.
…. Lack of ethical rules in the common areas- the lobby bar, was often visited by mothers with children, including strollers with babies. Among them you can see hookahs kindly provided by the bar. For me it’s outrageous! Moreover, there is a room called the Whisky Bar, which is a separated space, serviced by the same lobby bar, where smoking was permitted. permitted. permitted. permitted. permitted. It’s still against the law, but at least there were no children in it, and the smoke didn’t disturb the other guests. However, this room was small and there was no space for all willing to join it.
Here 5D Sensograph shook 😠 and erased two more hearts because of the huge discrepancy between the initially created by marketing and prices high expectations and the disappointing reality, and especially the lack of elementary ethical norms!
…. Very noisy in the restaurant-because of the HB packages sold (i.e. buffet dinner included), the whole hotel was there. Well, they somehow managed to get us together without much waiting for vacant tables, in contrast to another experience of ours in Velingrad, at hotel Maxi, where we had to wait pretty much to get breakfast, due to lack of vacancies in the breakfast restaurant.
…. Besides it was too noisy, as if we were in a big hive of bees running up and down, collecting food from the buffet, there was also a singer backed up by instrumental from a computer. A sense of bad karaoke!
It is true that live music in a restaurant, in many cases can contribute to a better mood for the guests, increase alcohol consumption, keep customers longer, but there are a number of requirements to achieve this exact effect. Here neither the interior and the spatial concept of the restaurant includes such a type of extra, nor the singer was good, nor the people were interested in it, and frankly it was a mutual torture-both for us and for her.
I pity this girl. Whole heart dropped because of this ridiculous decision and grief wasted on futile efforts of the singer!
…. Fresh aromas of products in the breakfast– nice charcuterie, freshly prepared pancakes, banitsa (local cake with cheese), mekitsa (local breakfast of fried dough, which you can eat with powder sugar or jam) , fresh and nice sausages, freshly prepared pancakes and all sorts of other things, besides of good quality;
…. The lack of essential fragrances in the SPA area- I associate a nice SPA with the smell of eucalyptus, lavender even outside the entrance, but here I did not feel any such, otherwise the staff was very polite.
…. Rich in quantity and variety buffet dinner- only HB packages were available for the weekend, but we were not sorry. Very rich and varied food, delicious, some of the things cooked in front of us. We have not experienced a shortage of anything, there was plenty of all things both for the taste of adults and children;
…. Disappointing small wine list- against the backdrop of a rich dinner, it would be good to have more options for wines;
…. At some times there were no free tables in the restaurant, but the staff found adequate accommodation solutions, so we didn’t feel discomfort with it;
…. I wish in this so-called whisky bar, they had more options for single malt whiskey. There were some different kinds, but sold only in whole bottles. Well, the malt whiskey is pretty expensive, who’s going to be spending so much for a whole bottle, and with surplus. The good thing was that they were offering several types of cigars and there were board games like chess and backgammon.
Probably you wonder why I wrote this review even I didn’t like this hotel. I just want people who make plans to visit it to be aware what to expect and avoid disappointment. Also, I hope that such reviews give feedback to the managers in order to take the necessary measures. There is potential in this place and it needs to develop in the right direction for the better, not for the worse, as we have observed with others. At the end of our stay we were asked about our experience in the hotel and I shared my remarks. Then they explained that there are plans to build an extension of the common areas to match adequately the bed base in order not to observe the problems described above. I hope this really happens.
The initial set for a pleasant relaxing time is well created, but all of the above mistakes shoot down dramatically the level and customers who are increasingly educated and demanding to the businesses they give their money to, will not trust to repeat their visit. I would personally give this hotel a chance again, but only after I hear that the improvement plans have been completed. Because I want things get better with all my heart, I wish the management success with the new development efforts and I hope on the next visit and the 5D Sensograph to give all 5 hearts in each category.
If you are curious to see the interesting design of Hotel Arte, Velingrad you can book here. For your convenience, I added a booking.com box, which refers directly to their site. I guarantee you’re going to use all your genius discounts and privileges. Just enter the dates, then hit the Search button and voila. In addition, booking.com are doing their best to make sure that your expectations as a customer are fulfilled. I’ve described an example about the latter in my story about our stay in Shangri-La hotel in Singapore.
Don’t worry about getting to the Hotel Arte in Velingrad. Just use the Google map here by clicking on the red pin of its location and then select directions:
А: Undolska str., Velingrad
T: + 359879 099 990
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Do you ever wonder how some places are so very different from others in service, environment, as a general experience? This means you are also interested like me in the topic of The Experience Economy by Pine and Gilmore. I’ve tried to recognize those places which apply it in practice it principles, whether deliberately or accidentally, and I think it is worth to consider them. Right click on category The Experience Economy.