Home Home away from home5 stars Grand Hotel Therme*****, Banya Village – stories by Koneshitsa river

Grand Hotel Therme*****, Banya Village – stories by Koneshitsa river

22 minutes read

Time shared with children is priceless. I think that the very moments when Mimi, Anna, Adriana and I are together are the best things that could happen to us. And that’s why we often stay somewhere, just like that, the four of us and enjoy the moments. But we are also happy to share some nice experience as well. The search for this experience led us to the Grand Hotel Therme in the village of Banya, Southwestern Bulgaria. 

Koneshitsa river flows slowly near us, trying to keep the quietness in the calm afternoon. The water flows just a metre from the place where we are relaxing. One of the trees is kindly providing us a shade, with leaved rustling from time to time. Only twenty meters downstream the noise turns to a cheerful roar as the river leaps back into its bed between the trees from the small weir next to the hotel. At this time, we are lounging, reading travel stories, and the children have been in the pool next to us for hours, but we can hardly hear them.

Koneshitsa river and Grand Hotel Terme
Koneshitsa river and Grand Hotel Therme *****

The afternoon at the Grand Hotel Terme***** in the village of Banya is truly magical. The hotel is full, there should be at least 300 people, but we feel almost alone wherever we enter. The creek creates even more of a sense of privacy and is already our favorite spot. It is actually the only area with pools where we can go with the kids. On the other side of the building is the larger outdoor pool, adults only, but we definitely like this side here.

By Koneshitsa river, Grand Hotel Therme
By Koneshitsa river, Grand Hotel Therme

Grand Hotel Therme*****

“Lodge as an experience” – you must have noticed that we have such a section on the blog. We have always admitted we love nice hotels with good service, spa and all its other pampering. For us, a good hotel can quite easily be a separate travel destination. We love going to a nice place and not leaving there for three days. And because we are very excited about this type of places, we have been following Grand Hotel Terme***** since its opening in late 2022. And while we were wondering when to go, the hotel invited us to visit them in the summer so the devision was made. 

So here we are, on a Thursday evening in August, some of us on foot, others riding a suitcase on wheels, some pulling their sister, who uses her suitcase for a horse, entering the spacious lobby of the Grand Hotel Therme*****. The staff at the reception do not look surprised from the view and quickly arrange our check-in.

The reception of the Grand Hotel Therme
The reception of the Grand Hotel Therme
The common spaces of Grand Hotel Therme are very cozy and spacious
The common spaces of Grand Hotel Therme are very cozy and spacious

And although it’s already past 9 p.m., we haven’t missed dinner. Our accommodation is on an All Inclusive basis and this is one of the few places where the dinner buffet is open until 10 pm. Indeed, we can share very positive feedback regarding the opening hours of all the facilities in the hotel, but keep reading.

Grand Hotel Therme, Bansko and Pirin
Grand Hotel Therme, Bansko and Pirin

A few facts about the hotel

Before we continue with our messy stories (with two children aged 4 and 8, nothing ever goes in a straight line), let’s share some facts about the hotel. Grand Hotel Therme is one of the newest five-star spa hotels in Bulgaria, it is located in the village of Banya and draws water from its own mineral spring. It feeds all the pools of the hotel, it springs at about 58 degrees and by the time it reaches the pool, it is already pleasant for bathing. For hot water lovers, we will note that it is not hot in the pool. It is definitely not cold either.

Booking.com
Grand Hotel Therme's adult-only outdoor pool
Grand Hotel Therme’s adult-only outdoor pool

The hotel has 176 rooms, three restaurants (two buffet and one a la carte), a pastry shop, several bars, a spa center with 3 outdoor and 2 indoor pools, 3 saunas, 3 steam baths and several relaxation areas.

Grand Hotel Therme - the cozy bar, which also has several great game tables
Grand Hotel Therme – the cozy bar, which also has several great game tables

Essential for us is the children’s club, which works from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and has animators who look after the children.

The children's corner is large and with lots of entertainment - Grand Hotel Therme
The children’s club is large and with lots of entertainment – Grand Hotel Therme

The hotel also has a modern fitness center from the Pulse chain, which I believe users of such services will appreciate. Shame on us. but we are not much into fitness, which is obvious.

We must note that the architects tried very hard to make the architecture itself fascinating. The architects of this building are Konkurent-90 OOD and arch. Lozan Lozanov; arch. Katya Lazova.

Grand Hotel Therme and the holiday village around it from the air
Grand Hotel Therme and the holiday village around it from the air

Working by the pool

Friday mornings are a great time to lounge by the pool with a cocktail and a book in hand, but not when it’s a work day. Generally, we would take leave if we were going on holiday and knew we couldn’t get any work done. But when you can drop the kids off in the play area right after breakfast, sit comfortably at the bar and order another coffee, the work is going great. Especially if you have a creative occupation like Mimi, for whom every change of scenery is a bonus.

The adult pool bar proved to be a comfortable and relaxed place to work
The adult pool bar proved to be a comfortable and relaxed place to work

But Andrey, it turns out, also managed successfully. Recently, he’s been more daring to work from places outside the home office because he has a new Lenovo laptop that changes the game and makes working on the go far more productive than before. Someday we’ll get him to write an article about exactly what works and why remote work isn’t always easy, even though it’s only on a computer, because Mimi doesn’t always understand either.  

ThinkPad P14s Gen 3 Intel.
ThinkPad P14s Gen 3 Intel.

Meringue and mice

Adriana comes to us, her half face and dress covered in white powder, as if she were a mouse that had just gotten a bag of flour. In one hand she holds a cup full of meringues. Ah-haha! She went to the pastry shop, she got the meringue, she came to treat us, but she tried them on the way. The pastry shop at Grand Hotel Therme has predictably become one of the children’s favorite places for several reasons. On the one hand, because there are many sweets there. And on the other hand, the super nice girls there, who were happy to serve the small customers and chat with them, listening to their stories. The pastry shop is included in the All Inclusive package and we had no qualms about letting the kids get what they wanted on their own.

Mice in a sweet shop - Grand Hotel Therme, village of Banya
Mice in a sweet shop – Grand Hotel Therme, village of Banya

All Inclusive at Grand Hotel Therme *****

It’s already noon and we thought we should share some more useful information before we dive into more rambling stories. We are staying at All Inclusive basis, which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, pastry shop, intermediate snacks, midnight snacks. The opening hours of the restaurants can be found on the hotel’s website . The important thing is that there is food available from 7.30am to 2am so you can’t stay hungry. The situation is similar with drinks.  

In general, the working hours of all services made a very good impression on us. The children’s corner is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., as is the pastry shop. The spa center is open until 9 p.m., the children’s pools are also located on its territory, which can also be used until 9 p.m. The outdoor pool, which is only for adults, is open until midnight. In general, everything is thought out so that guests can make the most of their stay at the hotel.

The adult-only outdoor pool is open until midnight
The adult-only outdoor pool is open until midnight

The food

Regarding the food, we can say that it generally corresponds to the All Inclusive format. You can expect a wide variety of dishes, starters and desserts, with the main cooked dishes changing at each meal and the side dishes and desserts being generally repeated. Sometimes at the buffet you can also see ready-plated dishes that the ones you would get in an a la carte restaurant, but we only managed to come across them once and that was at breakfast. However, we would be very happy to take advantage of such an offer.

The main restaurant in Grand Hotel Therme
The main restaurant in Grand Hotel Therme
The lounge of the restaurant is extremely pleasant, there is also a terrace
The lounge of the restaurant is extremely pleasant, there is also a terrace

Something we noticed about the food is the strong thought for people who exercise. Although we are not fitness people, we could not help but notice the strong presence of beef on the menu, always the presence of some dietary clean steamed meat, black rice and various other healthy foods. A lot of fruit, in many places around the hotel, constantly – this also made a great impression on us. In general – if you want to eat healthy or follow some kind of regime – here you can do it.

Drinks

Drinks are also available almost constantly, although it was sometimes a challenge to find staff at some of the bars that were supposedly open. But for such cases there are juice and coffee vending machines. The coffee is Spetema and quite nice (the espresso). The juices on tap were also good, perhaps one of the best we have come across in a Bulgarian all inclusive.

The lobby bar of Grand Hotel Therme
The lobby bar of Grand Hotel Therme
Water and fresh fruit are always available in the spa
Water and fresh fruit are always available in the spa

One of the things we’ve had an issue with and shared as feedback is the wine. In principle, the alcoholic beverages in the all-inclusive package are supplied by the Sis Industries company, a.k.a. Vinprom Karnobat. The wine in the package is from a bag-in-box, with the white and rosé not chilled in any way, and this is definitely a drawback. We find the suggestions for ice in the wine absolutely inappropriate. Another disadvantage of serving wine is the lack of suitable glasses. Here, too, I hope that we have caught a period and that this deficit is temporary, because everything else, in terms of equipment and facilities in the hotel, was at a very high level. In addition to the draught wine, there is a wine list that you can order from for an extra fee.

And finally, if you are generally not a fan of the all-inclusive concept, you can easily come to the Grand Hotel Therme on a bed-and-breakfast or breakfast-and-dinner basis.

Friday night by the river

It is already late in the afternoon, we finish work and indulge ourselves fully in family fun. The kids slip on their bathing suits, Adriana inflates the girdle and hops in the pool. We take a tour of the spacious spa, which we definitely like a lot.

The sunset by the river is just wonderful
The sunset by the river is just wonderful

The beach area is right along the river bed, the trees and the water are rustling, and we splash in one of the outdoor pools. All the pools here are relatively shallow and more for lazing around than swimming. For swimmers, there is a slightly deeper area in the indoor pool where they can move around. The remaining areas are generally shallow, which helps us to more calmly let the children play without us.

The indoor pool of Grand Hotel Therme *****
The indoor pool of Grand Hotel Therme *****

Meanwhile we take a tour of the saunas. Two of them are panoramic, with a view of the river and extremely spacious. There are two steam baths – one with a refreshing mint aroma, and the other with an ice pool inside it. It should be noted that the pool was not ice cold at the time of our visit, but the idea of ​​an ice pool is quite appealing to us. We also liked the laconium relaxation area very much, as did the children. Right opposite it is something, let’s call it a bar, with refreshing drinks and fruits.

The Secret Garden

Do you know that from the children’s corner you can go to a great park? – asked Andrey on Saturday around noon.  

We called the place the Secret Garden, although it is not at all secret or restricted. It’s just in such a place that is not visible from all areas in the hotel so if your room is not at this side, you can easily miss it. It is not present on the hotel’s official website either.

The secret garden of the Grand Hotel Therme from the air
The secret garden of the Grand Hotel Therme from the air

The Secret Garden can be reached either through an exit in the children’s club or through a door in wing C of the hotel. The place itself is magical and peaceful. It features an inner courtyard with a children’s playground and a large lounge area with a fire pit in the middle. We already imagine the cool but still pleasant fall and spring evenings while the fire burns merrily. And the lounging area is surrounded by a water area with water lilies. The river can be heard behind the trees and bushes that act as a natural fence in this place.

The Secret Garden and Anna
The Secret Garden and Anna

We spent several hours here during which we saw no other guests, only staff members passing by. Apparently the place really remains hidden. But we enjoyed ourselves immensely, reading books and listening to the river.

The secret garden where we felt like discoverers
The secret garden where we felt like discoverers
The peaceful garden in which the two colorful dots are me and Mimi
The peaceful garden in which the two colorful dots are me and Mimi

Saturday cello

One of the things that distinguish high-class hotels from more ordinary ones is that the former try to create some special feeling, an added value, beyond the purely objective reasons why you might visit a hotel. One of the things that made us love Hotel Therme even more was the cello chamber concert by a young musician who made a great Saturday night. We laid down lazily on the sofa, with a glass of wine each, sent the kids to the children’s corner with dozens of their peers, we just sat and enjoyed the music, which turned out to be heavily influenced by Sting.

Music on Saturday evening - Grand Hotel Therme, Banya village
Music on Saturday evening – Grand Hotel Therme, Banya village

We ended our stay with another spa session and pools by the river, then we were invited to stay for lunch as we had arrived late on the first day and thus extended our wonderful stay at the Grand Hotel Therme a little longer.

When you are in no hurry to leave and want to enjoy every minute here
When you are in no hurry to leave and want to enjoy every minute here

You can see the prices and options at the hotel on the hotel’s website and on Booking.com .

Booking.com

A few days after our return from the hotel, we received a call asking for feedback on whether everything was okay. We were happy to take a few minutes to share our objective impressions – both positive and suggestions for improvements. Moreover, we are also sharing them now in this article. We are glad that there are businesses that really care about the feedback that customers give them. And judging by the reviews we had received about Grand Hotel Therme in the past months, apparently this feedback is being taken into account. If you visit the hotel as well, we would love to hear your hones feedback, too.

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