Fifty-three years ago, Albena Resort came to life on a stretch of sand in the north of the Gulf of Varna. The trailblazing all-around urbanist design made wawes globally upon its opening. Even today, the modernist pyramidical architecture, urbanism and green surfaces provoke admiration and awe. The result of the grand design is 14.900 rooms in 43 hotels, four villas and one camp, alongside more than 100 restaurants and bars and several sports facilities. The new management ensured that the resort was not transformed by tumultuous urbanisation. In fact, they are to thank for the sustainable development now marking their portfolio. The sustainable approach is evident in the Maritim Hotel in Albena. The best hotel within the resort is, at the same time, the first hotel by Maritim in Eastern Europe. The hotel meets all the demanding standards of the hotel chain and is a proud recipient of the ISO certificate.
Albena resort sits 36 kilometres from Varna and 10 kilometres from the nearby town of Balchik. A half-hour drive takes guests from the airport in Varna to the 5-kilometre-long sand bay. To get around the resort, we recommend going on foot, as there are intriguing sights aplenty. Otherwise, affordable taxis are an excellent alternative. As Varna Airport is becoming more connected to the world annually, reaching Varna, especially in the summer, is not a problem. The hotel has a fantastic shuttle service that operates without a hitch. Public transport is fully functioning in the high tourist season, while in the winter season, visitors will have to rely on taxi service.
COLD STARTER - Architecture and aesthetics
Hotel Maritim was erected on the grounds of the former Dorostor and Kamelia hotels. The once avant-garde pyramidal design of the hotels was the work of the architect Nikolay Nenov. Both hotels were demolished during the renovation. The architects of the new hotel preserved the iconic architectural design that offers unparalleled sea views from any hotel room. On the whole, the resort appears compact and has a holistic entity. As its name suggests, blue is the common thread of the hotel, intertwining all hotel spaces with select materials and details. The blue colour is complemented by shades of sand found on the hotel beach. That is another reason why the quality of stay is extraordinary. The elegant hotel is suitable for a relaxing getaway or organising unforgettable events. The dazzling lobby is functionally-designed and represents the aorta of the entire complex.
WARM ENTRÉE - The staff and the culinary experience
Alongside the elegant architecture, we were most impressed by the staff. Vasil, the omnipresent concierge, ensures everything runs smoothly and effectively. His appreciated services are matched only by the professional personnel at the reception. A unique story of the hotel is the cuisine, embodied in the world-class breakfast featuring produce grown in the hotel’s own field. As our colleagues told us, approximately 50% of the ingredients are grown locally, including vegetables, fruit, juice and wines. The breakfast is diverse, and due to the show-cooking amazing guests, it is absolutely on the level of five stars.
The a la carte restaurant is where guests can enjoy incredibly tasteful dishes. We were most impressed by the smoked sea bass, worthy of a Michelin star. Combined with the exemplary tidiness of the hotel, the experience is echoed by their credo: “We are committed to providing a dream vacation for all our guests.” After our visit, we can confirm this is true.
MAIN COURSE – The meetings offering at the hotel
Sandy shades dominate the hotel room in combination with wooden furniture and slick tiles in walnut colour. The tiles cover half the surface area, whereas carpet flooring stretches the other. All rooms offer a balcony that overlooks the central pool complex. The large bed is delightfully comfortable and boasts an array of pillows. You will be able to choose the right one easily. The spacious writing desk, appreciated by congress guests, is praiseworthy. An exquisite part of the offer is the bathroom that combines a shower and a bathtub with a TV facing it. Our only complaint concerns the slightly loud air conditioning. The lighting is suitable, and you will find the optimal solution with only minor adjustments. The room’s trump card is the balcony, serving as a welcome relaxation space on summer evenings. Artistic images are part of the holistic experience.
There are three larger meeting halls in the hotel, with the largest one, Sea Hall, capacitating up to 500 attendees. It can be divided into two smaller halls that impress guests with height and superb technical equipment. The Sea Hall is also suitable for more demanding productions. The Wind Hall can capacitate up to 84 participants and can be enlarged by connecting with the Sky Hall, which is perfect for up to 132 attendees. Together, they can host 220 attendees.
The crown jewel is the Perunika Hall, the premier meeting centre within the resort that can capacitate 900 attendees. The hall was opened in 2019, and its interior design was the work of Christina Borelli, the interior designer who is to blame for the splendid interior in the Maritim hotel. In the context of the meeting offer, we cannot overlook the several teambuilding programmes that contribute to an unmatched offer for companies.
DESSERT – The extras
The resort is home to an abundance of thermo-mineral water, and guests can indulge in it in hotel pools. We particularly reccommend visiting the spa and wellness or going for a relaxing massage.
FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES
Numerous stands with kitsch and plastic found across the resort can be perceived as an additional offer or unnecessary junk. I do not doubt the resort would appear more exclusive without it.
TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES
Such a thought-out Green Mission that propels their green aspirations is nearly impossible to encounter in the hotel industry. They tackle sustainable development in ten segments (biodiversity protection, beach and sea water cleanliness, CO2 emission reduction, mineral water use, own eco production, renewable energy use, waste management, health and safety, social responsibility and guest satisfaction). The resort is extraordinary on a European scale and was crowned with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certificates. In addition, their aspirations resulted in numerous awards and certificates, including the Green Oscar, Travellife, and ESPA Innovation Award.
FINAL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY
Hotel Maritim seems ideal for families while proving itself as a superb meeting hotel tailored to the needs of business guests. A complete package and the additional offer in the resort make for a winning combination. It is no surprise that hotel Maritim is among the best Bulgarian resort meeting hotels. Upon arrival at the hotel, guests quickly realise that everything is top-notch. Maritim Hotel Paradise Blue Albena is integral for Bulgaria’s repositioning from a low-cost destination to a competitive market for international guests and events.
FINAL GRADE: 4.84 GOLD Resort Meeting Hotel
GOLD final score from 4.81 to 5.00
SILVER final score from 4.61 to 4.80
BRONZE final score from 4.41 to 4.60