Self-Catering Apartment or Half Board Hotel?
Bankso, Bulgaria, is the most popular ski resort in Eastern Europe and has gained a reputation of being one of the best budget snow holiday destinations. Although Bansko is considerably cheaper in comparison to resorts in the Alps, rushing off to the travel agents and booking a package holiday might not always prove to be the best value for money…
On the Bulgaria Ski forum, choosing what type of accommodation to holiday in is a commonly debated topic. Some holidaymakers remain loyal to hotels and package deals, whereas others swear by self-catered apartments. If you’re considering heading out to Bansko to carve up the mountains then here are some things to take into account that might help you make a more informed decision regarding your accommodation.
Renting an Apartment
Due to the predicted rapid development of Bansko in the past decade, many building contractors set to work constructing deluxe apartment blocks whilst cash-hungry investors ploughed money in and bought these apartments with the view of renting them out. Unfortunately, this growth was somewhat overestimated, leaving Bansko with a large amount of apartments and not enough tourists to fill them.
Whilst Bansko is a busy bustling ski town, the number of apartments is still far too high; which means owners of these properties have had to drop their weekly rental fees in order to get bookings throughout the winter season – this means you can rent an apartment for the duration of your holiday at an incredibly cheap rate. The standard of accommodation is generally incredibly high and you can find amazing deals within a short walking distance of the gondola.
Some of the main benefits of renting an apartment are that you have more freedom than you would in a hotel – you’re not tied to the hotel’s meal times, which means you have more flexibility (particularly in the evening). You’re also not tied down to hotel food; there are often complaints about the standard of food offered to guests in Bansko hotels, as Bulgarian chefs attempt to recreate English dishes. Eating at the hotel means you’re missing out on sampling the vast array of Mehanas – which offer traditional Bulgarian cuisine cooked with the utmost care and precision.
When staying in an apartment you generally have more flexibility on which days you’d like to stay, package holidays generally only offer flights and accommodation on a certain transfer day. With apartments you can rent for as long (or in some cases as short) as you like. You may also be paying for things in a package holiday that you may not need – such as ski hire or tuition if you’re a seasoned skier with your own equipment.
Staying in a Hotel
One of the main reasons people opt for hotels in Bansko is because of the cheap packages tour operators offer. You can often find yourself a package including: 4 star accommodation; lift pass; ski equipment hire and airport transfers for under £600 (based on two adults), whereas you can expect to pay twice the price when holidaying in the Alps.
Some people just generally enjoy the hotel experience too, the little luxuries like maid services and a mini bar really make it feel like a holiday. Most of the hotels in Bansko run a regular shuttle bus service too, so you needn’t walk to the gondola with your equipment. The fact that you have already paid for your food and have set meal times can help with the structure of your holiday, although you won’t get to sample local cuisine.
Making the Decision…
When it comes to deciding whether to stay in a hotel or apartment, it really boils down to what you want from your holiday. From a personal perspective (I’ve stayed in both apartments and hotels in Bansko) I really think that an apartment gives you that freedom and independence you need in order to really experience the Bulgarian culture of the Old Town. This year, I have in fact booked an apartment for my stay in Bansko and when I calculated the difference in price compared to a hotel (including all the package extras) I found the self-catering option was the cheaper one for me.
This is a guest post from Stephanie Staszko who writes on behalf of DGOS Office Furniture. She enjoys traveling and heads off to the mountains every year to enjoy the snow. She writes a travel blog too for MF Airport Parking, which provides cheap parking options for British holidaymakers.