Home Home away from home5 stars Night in the museum: Hotel Hebros, Plovdiv Old Town

Night in the museum: Hotel Hebros, Plovdiv Old Town

27 minutes read

The varnished wooden steps gently creak under our feet, the subdued light prevents us from noticing the scratches of time on them, and the aroma of an aged but decently maintained home is everywhere. We love the feel of the revival houses in Old Plovdiv. The wooden steps, the paintings telling about the travels of their noble owners, the millions of small details with which every corner of these 200-year-old houses has been touched. The wide salons on the second floor often became the scene of parties and performances. The benches where the members of the rich families of merchants and craftsmen of the 19th century and their guests stayed. We imagine the atmosphere in the houses that were centres of cultural life in those times. And although most such houses are nowadays museums and we are allowed to admire them only with our eyes, there are still a few that have preserved this spirit and you can stay at.

Hotel Hebros, Plovdiv
Hotel Hebros, Plovdiv

Welcome to Hotel Hebros in Plovdiv Old Town. We cross the door and go straight to the garden for a Turkish coffee in the late Friday afternoon.

Hotel Hebros website: hebros-hotel.com

Booking.com

Plovdiv Old Town

Everyone who has been to the Old town of Plovdiv feels it in a different way. The walk on the cobblestone street, surrounded by tall houses with the typical oriels has stunned a lot of people.

Hisar Kapia gate in Old Plovdiv
Hisar Kapia gate in Old Plovdiv

You tread carefully along the narrow cobblestone streets as you climb up to Nebet Tepe or descend down looking for a particular museum. The cobblestones are polished to a slickness from the thousands of steps on it every day. The houses above look like friends leaning against each other for a small talk in the hot summer day. Church bells are ringing clock-wise, shops are open, life is bubbling. And although the old town is today a place where you will mainly meet tourists or people working in it, rather than local residents, its spirit has not disappeared. Happily for all of us, there are still places where you can fully immerse yourself in it.

Old town of Plovdiv
Old town of Plovdiv
The view from Nebet Tepe, always stunning
The view from Nebet Tepe, always stunning
The view from Nebet Tepe, always stunning
The view from Nebet Tepe, always stunning

In this small paragraph we are not trying to guide you through the Old town of Plovdiv – we actually did this in a separate article. We will tell you how to immerse in the place and live it by spending a night here.

The houses on Konstantin Stoilov street

Just below two of the most impressive houses in the town – Hindliyan and Balaban house – is the building complex at Konstantin Stoilov street, numbers 51 and 53. Since 1999 they have been welcoming visitors as Hotel Hebros.

Konstantin Stoilov street with Hotel Hebros
Konstantin Stoilov street with Hotel Hebros

The 5-star hotel has since turned into a legend in town, offering really authentic experience. Although in the pandemic years it has lost some of its popularity, now it is shining again as a place that can really immerse you in the Old Plovdiv. Especially if you are here for the first time.

The spirit from 200 years ago

The building we are staying at was built some 200 years ago and restored in the 1980s. The entrance to the hotel is the house at number 51. It features an impressive portico, double staircase and two entrance doors – one leading to the upper level and one going underground. We can almost imagine how this parade entrance used to welcome important guests for important events.

The main entrance to Hotel Hebros
The main entrance to Hotel Hebros

Nowadays the upper door leads us to the reception of the hotel, organized on a small old desk, looking towards the inner yard and a beautiful old library with cookbooks.

The reception area of Hotel Hebros
The reception area of Hotel Hebros

The foyer on the second floor is as spacious. An old grand piano awaits the virtuoso hands that would make a performance in the house from time to time. In this house there are three apartments, suitable to accommodate families with children.

The grand piano foyer at Hebros Hotel, Plovdiv
The grand piano foyer at Hebros Hotel, Plovdiv
The grand piano foyer at Hebros Hotel, Plovdiv
The grand piano foyer at Hebros Hotel, Plovdiv
The staircase to the second floor
The staircase to the second floor

The lower staircase takes us to the restaurant – a cozy and small dining room with beautiful paintings on the walls. The tables are set with silver cutlery. Several impressive wine cabinets also cannot go unnoticed. Years ago the restaurant of Hebros Hotel became the first and only Bulgarian restaurant awarded by Wine Spectator for its wine list. An although it has been closed for a couple of years, the current concept is also oriented around wine and features an impressive wine list. But we will get back to the restaurant later.

No matter where you enter from, you will find yourself in the beautiful inner yard. The tables with white cloths, silver cutlery and old-time chairs await you for lunch, afternoon coffee or a glass of wine under the fig tree. In the evening the garden becomes even more romantic.

The garden of Hotel Hebros Plovdiv
The garden of Hotel Hebros Plovdiv

The house of Ivan Furnadzhiev

Through a small gate in the fence we enter the neighbouring court, several steps upper. Here the garden is even more romantic and suitable for special occasions like wedding and family celebrations. Here we are in the house at number 53 – the house of Ivan Furnadzhiev. We will spend the upcoming two nights in this house.

The garden in the house of Ivan Furnadzhiev - Hotel Hebros Plovdiv
The garden in the house of Ivan Furnadzhiev

We picked the room on the second floor, said to be the most romantic room in the house. To the romantic mood contribute not only the old-time furniture but also the authentic bath in the middle of the room. We already imagine the movie scenes where aristocrats relax in the bath in the middle of their living room, reading the newspaper and drinking wine.

Room number 9, Hotel Hebros Plovdiv
Room number 9, Hotel Hebros Plovdiv

A walk around the hotel-museum

We were curious to see all the facilities of the hotel and the staff were kind to take us to all unoccupied rooms. All of them are furnished with authentic old furniture from late 19th and early 20th century. Although most of the original furniture of the houses in the old town of Plovdiv was destroyed through the years, the present objects are also authentic and from the same period, brought from various places across Bulgaria.

The foyer on the second floor, just in front of our room
The foyer on the second floor, just in front of our room

This is why in Hotel Hebros there are not two rooms with the same furniture. Even the beds are different in size and the mattresses fit to the size of the original frames. The air conditioning system is hidden behind wooden boxes and only the TV sets remind us that we are not in the 19th century anymore.

Most of the bathrooms are hidden behind old-time wooden doors. But behind them you will find all contemporary facilities and even jacuzzi baths. However, we decided to stay at the one with authentic bath in the room and we did not regret at all.

Hotel Hebros is a part of the hotel collection Historic Hotels of Europe“. It is really an impressive collections of places that offer astonishing experience to their visitors all across Europe. Hebros is the only Bulgarian hotel in the collection. Previously, we have been to one more hotel from the prestigious list – Saka Manor, Estonia.

Heritage Hotels of Europe“, another amazing hotel collection where Hebros hotel is also a member.

Sunset in the foyer
Sunset in the foyer

Location of Hotel Hebros

Where to stay in Plovdiv? The most common question guests of Plovdiv ask. Although there are many good locations to stay in the city, we would always recommend the Old town. Walking by the cobblestone streets, feeling the aroma of fig trees in the summer, the quiet nights… and you are still just steps away from the lively Kapana district and the main promenade.

Plovdiv Old town
Plovdiv Old town

Konstantin Stoilov street is just a few steps away from the most important attractions in Plovdiv: Hisar Kapia, Hindliyan house, Balaban house. It is also just 5 minutes walking from the Ancient theatre. The popular art district Kapana is 200 m away. Actually, you are in the middle of Plovdiv and everything is around you.

Dinner under the fig trees

Hebros restaurant reopened in June 2022 after more than a year of closure. It was once a legend with its tasty food, romantic setting and special attention to wine, including regular wine tastings. In 2011 the wine list of the restaurant received Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. Although the wines in that list are not available today, we can still find extremely interesting wine treasures there.

The garden of restaurant Hebros
The garden of restaurant Hebros

Amuse Bouche is something we really appreciate in restaurants. Not because it comes as a compliment but because it is a sign of a strong concept, attention to detail and respect to visitors. In our first dinner at Hebros the amuse bouche was made of figs from the garden and pork. The second night it was a pancake bite with various tastes. And when, together with the amuse bouche, on the table arrives a jug of filtered water and a bowl of bread, the walk through the menu becomes quite more pleasant.

Amuse bouche from pancakes
Amuse bouche from pancakes and egg foam during our second dinner at Hebros

The menu of Restaurant Hebros

The menu is not long but is very nice and seasonal. It is planned to change at least twice a year, depending on the availability of fresh products. The salads in the summer menu are variations of the classic Ceasar and Caprese. However, they are enriched with local products like Bulgarian cheese instead of Mozzarella, for example.

If you are very hungry or you just wish to skip the salad and proceed to a starter, they have very nice hummus and home-made appetisers, served on bruschetti. Another option, more suitable for men, is pork and veal scallopini with thyme and butter. Be prepared for a lot of meat!

Pork and veal scallopini
Pork and veal scallopini

Ox cheeks and other dishes for hungry people

The main courses are quite big and extremely tasty. Bestseller is ox cheeks, served with two purees and mushrooms. Incredibly soft and tasty meat, cooked sous-vide.

Ox cheeks
Ox cheeks

Another impressive variation of veal is the brilliant steak.

Maria and the beef steak
Maria and the beef steak

The duck magret was also amazing and the fish with quinoa – extremely fresh and fitting for the summer.

The vegetarian offers are not too many but all of them are wonderful, including quinoa with vegetables and mind-blowing risotto with goat cheese and beetroot.

Duck magret and Andrey
Duck magret and Andrey
Fish with quinoa
Fish with quinoa

The current concept of the restaurant was created by chef Dobromir Todorov, who has worked in Germany for many years and was also the chef of another Bulgarian restaurant we like – Drakata in Lovech.

Chef Dobromir Todorov in restaurant Hebros Plovdiv
Chef Dobromir Todorov in restaurant Hebros Plovdiv

Tonka beans and other desserts

Creme Brulee with Tonka beans is a dessert we first tried during a trip to Lovech, while chef Todorov was working there. Happily, it is now served in Hebros restaurant. Among the other desserts you can find panacotta with blue cheese and raspberries and a combination of mini desserts – chocolate souffle, creme brulee and brownie.

A perfect finish of each dinner is the Turkish coffee on sand.

Turkish coffee on sand
Turkish coffee on sand

Tasting menu in Hebros restaurant

A few days after our visit to Hebros restaurant started offering a tasting menu as well. Tasting menus started to gain popularity in Bulgaria very recently and you still can find them in few restaurant. Hebros’ tasting menu is a great opportunity for foreign visitors to try typical Bulgarian tastes with a hint of creativity.

Wine and Hebros

Hebros has always demonstrated special attention to wine. We visited it after a major renovation of the restaurant and change in management and they are determined to keep the tradition.

Wine has a central place in Hebros restaurant
Wine has a central place in Hebros restaurant

The new wine list is quite relevant to this policy and we liked it a lot. The first part of the list includes seasonal wines, mainly Bulgarian, with good price-quality ratio and very affordable prices. The policy of the restaurant is to stimulate wine drinking by offering small surcharges on wine. Opposite, the liquors are relatively expensive. The sommelier did a wonderful job!

The second part of the wine list was even more exciting for us, because it includes some single bottles from old vintages that are not in the market anymore but for some reason have stayed unsold in the hotel cellar.

Upon entrance to the restaurant, we immediately noticed the 4 huge wine coolers, storing the various wines in the proper temperatures. It was impossible to try everything in two days but we found 2 amazing bottles in the archives.

Discoveries from the cellar

One of them was German riesling – Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Graacher Riesling Trocken, vintage 2015 (the current vintage on the market is 2020). It turned to be in a great shape, fresh for the summer day, with well-developed petrol aromas and very, very tasty.

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Graacher Riesling Trocken, 2015
Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Graacher Riesling Trocken, 2015

The second bottle was a Bulgarian Pinot Noir from one of the best Pinot Noir makers in the country – Edoardo Miroglio Pinot Nero Reserve, vintage 2012.Currently on the market is sold 2017 so it was a unique opportunity to open this bottle. We have always loved Pinot Noirs of this cellar and this one was outstanding.

The only photo of the Pinot Noir we have
The only photo of the Pinot Noir we have

The only sad thing is that such discoveries are single bottles. But they are a chance not to miss. So we do not regret that we could not try them all – we are actually impatient to go there again and discover something else. I hope you enjoy this opportunity as much as we do and find your amazing discoveries in the Hebros cellar.

Riesling - a perfect fit in the 35-degree heat in Plovdiv
Riesling – a perfect fit in the 35-degree heat in Plovdiv
When you've got too much sun in the garden, you can freely move to the cozy tables in the front side of the house.
When you’ve got too much sun in the garden, you can freely move to the cozy tables in the front side of the house.

Logistic and other organisational questions

The only difficult thing about hotel Hebros is parking. The hotel guarantees access with a vehicle to the traffic-limited area of the Old town. However, they do not have own parking spots and parking is on the street, subject to availability. In this part of the city the hotels with own parking are really few. The hotel management is aware of this problem and is looking for options to ensure parking for all guests.

Hotel Hebros website: hebros-hotel.com

Booking.com

You can book a room in Hebros hotel from the hotel website. They are also on Booking.com.

The old Armenian quarter in Old Plovdiv. Neighbouring to Hotel Hebros is the Stepan Hindliyan house (The large building with brown facade behind the hotel)
The old Armenian quarter in Old Plovdiv. Neighbouring to Hotel Hebros is the Stepan Hindliyan house (The large building with brown facade behind the hotel)

A collection of hotels that have preserved their spirit and authenticity: Authentic hotels

The hotel that won’t let you leave

We love Plovdiv, we love walking in the Old town, Kapana and the main street. But wherever we went, something was always calling us to return to the hotel with its cozy garden, authentic furniture and the stories of old times. And although we went for a weekend in Plovdiv, we actually spent most of our time at the hotel, like real citizens of the Old town in 19th century. We went for a walk to meet friends, to eat donuts and gelato, but the most time we spent at our local home Hebros, drinking wine or coffee or chatting with chef Dobri. Say Hi to him from us if you meet him!

Konstantin Stoilov street in Plovdiv Old town
Konstantin Stoilov street in Plovdiv Old town

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