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Special Report from Lance Nelson of Bansko Blog;
March 2nd 2012
The snow conditions have been consistently rating at 9/10 for several weeks now. The World Cup weekends are over, UK school holidays are finished and we have the Pirin mountain back to ourselves — with all lifts operational.
I did not bother with reporting on the World Cup this year. I was out taking pictures, skiing, filming GOPRO movies and generally sampling new places. Yes it was crowded at times — but not unbearably so. That said, the events went very well and it was a tremendous atmosphere in the Badershishka Poliana area......<more>
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Bansko Royal Towers BLOG
Report dated Friday February 17th 2012
It's the Men’s World Cup this weekend.
The World Giant Salom and Salom events are both televised live from Bansko
Next weekend, it's the Womens events.
The snow keeps falling in Bansko as you're probably aware.
I know pictures of snow can be very 'samey'!! Just lots of white stuff that’s great being in, but there’s only a certain number of images you can look at before the boredom factor hits you. However, here are few of Bansko taken in the past couple of days that illustrate just how beautiful the town is and how wonderful life is when the sun shines and there’s white stuff all around.
The picture of the outdoor cafe is the new Euphoria Bar and Grill which is just next to Bansko Sport, 100 yards from the Bansko Royal Towers front door. It just demonstrates how enjoyable holidays are in wintertime Bansko.
This path cut through the garden snow in the Bansko Royal Towers gardens serves to illustrate just how deep the white stuff really is!!
Report dated January 29th 2012
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.
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 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.
You dont get too much idea of whats happening from this image....I'll try and upload a videa, but these guys are sop clever t=with the guitars....the image is one of them playing behind his neck. And when I say pklaying, I mean really playing....fast 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.
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. 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.
If I can be of any help to anyone, at any time, please contact me.
Report dated January 13th, from Mike Lever
Bansko is booming – a whole new super bar called the Queens Pub has been built on the car parking lot just above the Ice Rink. Above this bar is an amazing Winter supermarket – well stocked, better than Valon by a long way and well priced.
The Queens Bar has beer at about 2.99 per pint, Guinness at 4.59, they also do good value food which is also pretty damn good for Bansko. The place has live music every night and is busy most of the time.
Its pricing policy has shaken up the local market, keeping other bars on their toes with prices and quality – good news and about time.
Next to this is a brand new 2 storey Mexana called the Stone Flower. We did not try it but reports from our friends say it is pretty good too.
Some nice new shops also opened next to the Stone Flower and Queens Pub, shoes, jewellery, clothes etc.
The development has been put up since August 2011 by the same people that own much of the golf course developments.
A new curry house has been opened under the Lion Hotel – called Mr Singhs Curryoake! Reports so far say OK, but again not tried it, but will do next time. It will take something good to beat the Avalon hotel for curry though!
A new bar called Euphoria has also opened just opposite the steps down from the Gondola car park. It is very trendy and stylish place and busy every night. The big draw is that it sells Chinese style food besides regular Bulgarian stuff. Advice – stick to the main courses and avoid the crispy duck and pancakes! Pretty reasonable and something different.
The season is looking pretty good at the moment, reasonable snow base and more predicted – I had 30 cm of fresh powder on 30th – nice!