Visiting Bansko Royal Towers with my Daughter

I flew over to Bansko for a few days last week. I took my daughter with me as a little treat prior to her returning to Bath University where she’s studying Psychology.

Bansko in the Newspapers

As usual we took the 6.30am EasyJet flight out of Gatwick….I don’t much like getting out of bed at 4.00am, but always appreciate getting to Bansko mid afternoon. Once there, it’s like you’ve been there all day. You forget the two hour journey. we stopped at IKEA on the way. I normally avoid shops like this, but the new IKEA on the Sofia ring road was a delight.

Hardly any other shoppers and plenty of helpful staff who could mostly speak excellent English. We spent most of the time researching Sofa Beds and other furniture items on behalf of apartment owners who will want to update their accommodation during the summer months.

The journey from Sofia to Bansko flew by….I know the journey well by now but am always impressed by new bits of road that open with amazing regularity. It doesn’t seem that long ago that the Ring Road was a nightmare. It’s 10kms along the ring road from the airport to the E19 turn off and that could often take 2 hours. Even when there was no traffic it would still take 45 minutes as you negotiated the potholes, broken down cars and the occasional donkey. Nowadays, there’re flyovers at every junction and 4 and 5 lane carriageways in each direction. All of this dramatic improvement has taken place in the space of 4 short years.

Due to the stopover at IKEA we didn’t arrive in Bansko until dusk was falling, but from the time we reached Bansko City limits it was very clear that it was not just the snow lying on the ground that was radically different from the last time I was here, last November.

For a start, there’s a new road starting just before the supermarket that takes you right up to the Gondola. Just turn right as you reach the Welcome sign over the road and within 2 minutes, you’re outside Bansko Royal Towers Reception. The next thing that struck me was how much had changed in eight weeks. All the frantic building work in evidence the last time I was there had been completed and the shops, restaurants, bars and clubs were all open and operating like they’d been there for years.

My daughter and I checked in, unpacked and made our way to the Spa to soothe away the toils of the day. The indoor pool was chilly for my liking, I’d guess it was around 27 degrees, but there were plenty of swimmers in the water and nobody was complaining! The new pool created from the two old mineral pools is a cold plunge, not a Hot Tub as I’d expected!! I had a go……but only because my daughter went in first and goaded me until I jumped! Actually, it’s quite refreshing after a steam or sauna session. I quite enjoyed it. It reminded me of an experience I had in a remote part of Sweden many years ago, apart from this time I had my trunks on to cover my modesty.

The jaccuzzi has been completely refurbished and was a most acceptable temperature.

The ‘Fishy Feet Treatment’ is a bit of fun….Try it if you get the chance, we paid 20 leva for two of us, for 20 minutes. We then ate in the Queens Bar, a new place just next to the Ice Rink, at the back of Bansko Sport…..undoubtedly the best ski rental shop in Bansko. The food was fine, the prices excellent but the best bit was the entertainment.

Great Entertainment

You dont get too much idea of whats happening from this image....I'll try and upload a video, but these guys are so clever with the guitars....the image is one of them playing behind his neck. And when I say pklaying, I mean really Greek music. Unbelievable.

All the new shops and restaurants (and there are dozens!!) have had a dramatic effect on the resort and are all very positive in Bansko’s emergence as a world class destination. The Supermarket above the Queens Bar is equal to most Tescos, the bijou shops are open until midnight and the Euphoria Bar and Grill next to Bansko Sport caters for everyone’s taste, including a range of Chinese food.

It’s all within 3 minutes walk of Bansko Royal Towers, which is of course wonderful for all the residents, but not so good for Bar Zero, though, which during my few days’ stay, was very quiet. Old Sofia, the more ethnic restaurant within Bansko Royal Towers, does an excellent ‘eat as much as you like’ evening buffet….lots of choices and only 15 leva. The breakfast buffet is also good value at 9.5 leva, Worth a try.

Fantastic Skiing Conditions at Bansko

My daughter reports that skiing was the best she’d ever known in Bansko on the first day. Mighty cold though, someone said it was minus 28 degrees at the top! We ate at the Euphoria Bar and Grill. It’s beautifully designed inside with a huge bar that looks like something out of a night club. In fact, I think the whole place turns into a night club after 11pm, with live Greek music every night. Before 11pm, it’s a restaurant with an outdoor grill and an extensive menu inside including Chinese. I’m told they actually employ Chinese chefs….it’s not just a façade, it’s genuine!

I skied with Freya the second day. She’s right, the conditions were just about perfect. In the evening we had fun at the Ice Rink….why other operators don’t provide plastic penguins I just don’t know, they’re terrific fun for those who can skate and really help those who are learning.

Bansko Has Come of Age

Bansko has come of age. It’s no longer a pretender. No more do I feel I have to apologise about it, or make excises to my friends about why I go to Bansko instead of Courcheval. Bansko really has got it all…..and plenty more! It may not be as cheap as it once was, but it’s still good value.

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Tuesday, 03 February 2015 10:19