Sat09222018

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Chic, Style - and it's Bulgaria! - top construction, lavish interiors

Last year Thomson Holidays and First Choice announced that they would no longer feature Bulgaria’s Northern Coast resorts in their summer brochures, the reason – the resorts have become too expensive for their budget travellers. Golden Sands once the darling of disco dancing, kiss-me-quick tourists has undergone a dramatic image change. The frontline has been rebuilt and now includes luxurious spa hotels and lavish apartment blocks overlooking the sea. Even the ramshackle of souvenir and designer fake stores are being replaced with boutiques selling real designer watches, clothes and sunglasses. Such luxury frontline developments are raising the stakes and image of the beach resorts. John Hitchcox’s Yoo brand, renowned for its construction of designer pads for the young and wealthy in the likes of Miami or Sydney took the construction industry by storm when it started construction on a frontline luxury apartment block in Obzor, 55km from Varna. Two-storey penthouses in the block cost in excess of £250,000.

The apartments are lavishly designed with large decking terraces, boutique chic bathrooms and Philippe Starck extras. As in Golden Sands, the majority of buyers are from Russia. Hitchcox has plans for similar developments in Byala and Kavarna and says that he is here for the long-term. "I’m really pro Bulgaria and I’m consistent with my pro-ness, we’ll be here for at least 15 to 20 years."

Chic shopping malls are starting to dominate the skylines of all towns and cities and they are filled with stores selling scented candles, attractively packaged toiletries, designer brand clothes, stainless steel kitchen items, bookstores and designer coffees. Even purveyors of smoking requisites are jumping on the designer bandwagon with Bulgaria’s exclusive importer of Cuban cigars, Kaliman Caribe, opening its second luxury boutique in Sofia last year. Kaliman sell the full range of Habanos cigars and target the high end of the cigar market.

Robin Barrasford of real state agency Barrasford and Bird explains that since Bulgaria joined the EU, confidence in the country has grown and increased the demand for bigger, more luxurious, frontline properties for personal use.

Lance Nelson of Jet2Let believes that spa tourism is the way forward for a more exclusive Bulgaria, “The spa town of Sapareva Banya, under an hour on a new road from Sofia and surrounded by lakes and high peaks, offers an unspoilt, year- round destination. It also has the hottest spring water in Europe and the only active geyser in Balkans.” Indeed, Bulgaria is rich in spas and wellness spots, with over 800 mineral springs it is within the top five in Europe. The springs are currently undergoing regeneration and spa tourism will be the next big thing as developers rush to exploit the country’s best spa resorts with hotel complexes and wellness centres.

 

The future looks bright for Bulgaria and change for the better is happening at a rapid pace. Bulgaria is now well placed to take its fair share of the luxury market, and those who still want the traditional, rural Bulgaria will not have to travel far to find it. Luxury tourism is also just about to start to touch Bulgaria’s towns and villages!