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Magnolia Hotel

14 of 15 hotels in Albena

3 out of 5 from 18 reviews
2 stars
Albena, Bulgaria
This all inclusive hotel offers excellent value for money in informal and friendly surroundings. Formerly featured as “Zvezda” now the hotel is a part of 2 and 3 star complex, situated in a quiet location in the upper part of Albena.

18 Reviews

Traveller Rating

  • Excellent
    0
  • Very Good
    6
  • Good
    2
  • Average
    5
  • Poor
    5

Review Overview

  • Cleanliness
  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Service
  • Location
Poxicator
An enjoyable time
8 years 5 months ago
The Magnolia is situated on a wooded hill, a steep walk from the beach, although beach trains will transport you to and fro.

The main feature has to be the pool which is split into 2 levels with cascading steps for the serious sunbathers. There's lots of loungers but I guess there can never be enough for everyone. The pool bar often sees queues but the staff at least provide a smile. All drinks, with the exception of cocktails, are provided in small plastic glasses. A snack buffet runs from 11am - 4pm mostly offering cucumber, tomatoes, plain pasta, bread, chips and sausages/pizza, plus ice cream and a little fruit. One of the coffee machines is situated here which is turned off at the 11pm end of AI.

Annimation staff keep things interesting with water polo, cocktail games, stretching etc and the mini-disco (for kids) at 7.30pm. The music is often loud but the lower pool helps to get some respite. The animation team make all their announcements in 4 languages including English and German despite most of the guests here being Bulgarian. There certainly was some things around the pool that would fall foul of UK health and safety but we never had any issues.

The lobby bar seems to gain similar queues but we sometimes found the staff here less than interested, unless you were paying for the cocktails. Within the lobby is the Wi-Fi area (for best reception) which you have to pay 4L an hour for or 5L if you use their computers, although bulk hours offer cheaper rates. Can't remember last time I paid for Wi-Fi but there are other places to get Wi-Fi near the beach.

The rooms are reasonably basic, comfortable, with TV that you can pick up BBC World Service, free air conditioning and paid for safe. They're cleaned almost every day so we had no complaints here.

All the toilets within the hotel are regularly cleaned and inspected hourly.

The dining area could be much better laid out, the building itself is modern but the placement of food is often confusing and encourages people to get frustrated eg. The cutlery is laid out in the middle of the queue. Food is in abundance, but Bulgaria has never been known as a culinary capital. Lots of salad, plus soups, various breads, a choice of meats and fish, hams/sausage, chips, pasta, mash, cheese, fried tomatoes and veg, pickled fish, a range of cakes and sweet breads plus large amounts of fruit. Not too much can go wrong with a Shopska salad (Bulgarian version of Greek salad), grated carrot, beetroot, red cabbage and lettuce. However many other offerings were certainly different: salty baked beans; sweet & sour fish (mild Chinese curry); ham lasagne; a dish of plain pasta and chips; spinach and fried egg; etc. Good quality pork was always available (although often guests were left to finish the cooking) but the chicken wasn't as good unless it was on the bone. There was always something worthwhile to eat, occasionally something special eg.

The BBQ, mussels, but I'd advise you stick to one choice unless you wish to see similar things on your plate the next day. Breakfast offered cereals, tinned fruit, yoghurt, fried and boiled eggs, sausages of various description, eggy bread, pasta, cheese and hams plus pancakes as well as salad and a variety of other morning foods.

Magnolia offers free sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach, opposite the Arabella hotel, with the option of paying 2/3 L for lounger cushions.

Jumping the queues seems an acceptable part of the Bulgarian holidaymaker, smiles often seem unnecessary. Evening entertainment is rare although the animation team offer free shows (rather amateur) at the nearby amphitheatre. If you're satisfied with sitting in the lobby or around the pool with alcohol in plastic tumblers then you'll be fine here at night. We found this a little lacking so we often spent the evening in the beach bars or just walking though the shops.

It’s easy to pick niggles with Magnolia but in reality the hotel does well and we enjoyed our holiday here. Keep yourself reminded of the fact its 3 star and the cost of the AI makes it easy to be satisfied with Magnolia, just allow for a few discrepancies but best of all enjoy the pool.
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Recommended
Sue
8 years 6 months ago
I would recommend if you are english not to stay at this hotel.

The food is served luke arm, when I approached the restaurant manager he was not interested. The one microwave did not work.

not enough tables for all the people they catered for, finding a table was a challenge each meal time, then you had to clean it before you could sit down. we decided to go near the end of breakfast and the evening meal only to find that there was nothing left and the lights were turned out on you while eating, even though service was advertised until 10 and 21hrs. If you went early it was like a school canteen free for all.

the room was cleaned only if we spoke to the cleaner and told her which room we were in. clean towels well, maybe twice. Loo paper... take your own, they dont replenish it in your room, in the public toilets in the restaurant, reception or the pool area.

Two days we had no water for morning showers then on other days it was only cold.

the swimming pools are very nice. especially when the water pumps are working. which they did every now and then

some of the staff are great, dont speak much english but helpful, others look down their noses at you and shrug their shoulders and walk off.

there is no main bar area for socialising, the children run wild all night. school partys of 12 to 14 year old children seems to be the norm.

very disappointed, Balkan holidays and the Magnolia Hotel need to tell the truth.... all we wanted was clean rooms, nice hot food, clean tables to eat off, and a nice area to chat with friends. There is nothing like this at all.

Please be careful when spending you hard earned money, i would not return to this hotel and would be very careful of other Balkan holiday recommndations.
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Travel operator: Balkan

Jeff & Claire
8 years 6 months ago
we stayed at the magnolia and were shocked at the conditions of the rooms.they were damp with black mould on the walls.and that was not just 1 room but the 2 i was shown too.there was no air conditioning. no tv ariel and the phone was disconected we were supposed to have a room with a pool view.but got a forest right out side.the meals were terrible always cold and the restaurant was self cleaning we think because we had to clean our table before we could eat.there was also other visitors to the restaurant.a family of swallows nesting in the roof. flying all over the restaurant which meant a lot of bird droppings on the floor and the tables.the hotel was full of children should have called it the magnolia youth center the kids ran riot through the bar area.sometimes it was not possible to get a seat.staff were sometimes rude and had no time for the english people.we were supposed to be there for two weeks but paid another
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Travel operator: balkan

Martin Family
9 years 4 months ago
Before we visited this hotel we saw several awful reviews of nearly every aspect of it, and were quite wary of staying here, however we were more than pleased with the standard of accomodation.
The rooms were cleaned every day, with bedding changed once a week.
The food was excellent, even with a fussy 12 year old we never got bored with it, main meals at dinner time would normally consist of chicken or pork, but there was plenty of other choices such as pasta, soup and salad.
The hotel is located at the top of the resort, there is a free shuttle bus to the beach every half-hour, which would get very busy at times, there is also a noddy train which will take you into the centre of the resort for 2.5 leva per person.
There are steps to the centre if you're feeling energetic, they're great on the way down but it was sometimes a different story on the way up!
The staff were great, very friendly and always ready to help, one of our balcony chairs broke, we informed the rep who had a word with the manager who decided that, as we had been honest about it we would not be charged, which we thought was a very fine gesture as they would have been well within their rights to charge us for it.
The entertainment consisted of an animation team who would perform shows six nights a week at an ampitheatre about 100 yards away from the hotel, as well as other activities around the pool area ie aerobics, darts etc.
The animation team were quite young and performed all the shows with great enthusiasm.
All in all we were delighted with every aspect of our hotel and would not hesitate to recommend it to other people.
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Travel operator: Balkan Holidays

Recommended
Becky
9 years 4 months ago
The hotel was amazing and all the family and friend had a fantastic time. The only fault was the food in the hotel, it was disgusting and didn't cater much for the english!
The hotel staff were really friendly and spoke really good english, we made friends with most and are still in contact now.
The entertainment staff were very welcoming and once you got to know them, we couldn't keep the kids away from them.
The hotel rooms were really clean and the cleaners were fantastic.
I would highly recommend this hotel just not the food, we will be visiting it again!
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Travel operator: co-operative

Recommended
J.Corrigan
9 years 6 months ago
Came to this what you call a hotel with my partner and my 11month old son in june 09,First of all it was the worst holiday i have ever had and wouldn't go back if someone paid me.when we got there we where put into what was called magnolia gardens, we had 2 flights of stairs to clime with our 11month old son and a buggie,what a nightmare. the food was the same for 14 days for breakfast, dinner and evening meals. they cooked chicken from frozen witch we all were bad for 3 days,the food was naily always cold,our rep just didn't want to NO, there was NO entertainment, i could be here all night about the hotel, iwould never ever go back to that hotel.
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Travel operator: Hay's Travel

Mr P Morris
10 years 3 months ago
Upon arrival at the hotel, my initial impression was that it was a clean tidy hotel. The reception staff seemed quite friendly.

The location is set on a hill, and is well sheltered from the town by a vast array of trees, both surrounding and within, the complex.

The room was again clean and tidy, although for 3 people, it did feel a tad cramped. We were unfortunate enough to get a room on the second floor, which meant the view from the balcony was of a fir tree. (A very close fir tree to be precise)

The room is provided with a television, which provides only 2 English speaking channels (CNN & BBC World News). The other channels available ranged from Bulgarian, to Dutch, to German, etc.

The pool is very nice, and is separated into 3 areas, with one of these for children. There are 2 slides for under 12's, although many adults were using them (myself included).

There are 2 poolside bars along with table tennis and a snack bar.

As time went by, we discovered that the staff at the hotel had an average age of about 25. This did cause a few issues as the general impression put across by them was quite immature at times. (Such as playing very loud dance music in the hotel lobby at midnight, whilst they all danced).

In addition there was an incident where the music played round the pool was totally inappropriate for a family hotel (Snoop Dog swearing at full blast is not what i'd call "family based music") Upon complaining, we were given a mouthful of similar language from the DJ.

The entertainment team kept people quite happy through the day, with Club Dances, Volleyball, Water Polo, Darts and Water Gymnastics, but the evening entertainment seemed limited to a live singer outside the restaurant.

The kids club entertainment in the evening is situated at a separate amphitheater about 100 meters walk from the hotel. This is an open air venue and, whilst this allows the children to be as noisy as they want, there is no bar for the adults, so anyone watching can get quite bored.

The restaurant at the hotel was, by far, the worst thing about it. At our first meal, there was a good selection of foods available. However, this selection got less and less as the days passed. (Possibly due to the approach of the end of season?). However, the lack of choice paled in comparison to the quality of the food.

We had to complain to our tour rep numerous times, as we found that meat was only half cooked, bread was left out all day (so much so that my partner found mould on 2 or 3 slices in one day).

Additionally, the food was only served luke warm. There was a microwave in the restaurant for guests to use to heat their food up, but in a restaurant that seats several hundred guests at a time, one microwave is not sufficient.

Luckily, after speaking to another tour rep, the food issue was resolved and the last few days we had a good quality meal.

It's just a shame that we caught them during a bad period as, with the exception of the restaurant, the hotel was in general quite good.
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Travel operator: Balkan Holidays

Karen Roberts
10 years 4 months ago
We stayed at this All Inclusive Hotel so we didn't have to worry about spending money on food - big mistake!! The food was all continental food, pickled cucumbers, wierd cheeses, bratwurst sausages and other items of food I have never seeen in my life! I am not a fussy eater but this food was terrible. The kids ate the fruit and cereal the times we do go in as the food was just not geared up for the English at all.

The restaurant had approx 500 seats for the 200 room Hotel - but the brochure fail to mention that this also catered for the Magnolia Gardens at the back which also had 150 rooms!! So iat was a miracle if you even got a seat to eat this terrible food.

When we arrived the Bell Boys carried our cases up and then refused to leave the room until we tipped them. We had no Bulgarian money on us so they told us we had to give them English pounds - we and the kids found this really intimidating and scarey.

As this was sold to us as a good family resort, there was nothing for the kids to do apart from the beach and pool, which again the pool was shared with the Magnolia Gardens which it does not mention in the brochure.

Sky tv was advertised in the brochure which we thought would be a break from the sun to watch tv - but we could not understand it as it was in Bulgarian!!
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Travel operator: Thomas Cook/Sunset

Sue Mappley
12 years 4 months ago
The hotel was extremely satisfactory very friendly staff.

Entertainment would have been very agreeable but all in all food good staff good room good would definitely travel again.

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Travel operator: Thomas cook

Recommended
Donna Jones
12 years 7 months ago
The hotel myself and 2 young children stayed in was brilliant, it was very clean.

The hotel food had lots of variety and enough choice for children.

The location was good it was quiet but had free beach buses and tram service which was regular.

The staff couldnt do enough for us they were really friendly.

The entertainment was terrific from ladies warm ups to children's party games, they were entertained also kids disco in evening I would definitely visit again without a doubt.
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Travel operator: first choice

Recommended

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