Wed, 30 Jan 08
Bulgaria is quickly becoming a haven of style, culture and opulence...
According to Quest Bulgaria, words associated with Bulgaria such as cheap, bargain and low-cost, are slowly being replaced with boutique, luxury and designer.
With developers chasing a wealthier clientele and Bulgarians become richer, a different type of tourist is exploring the treasures of the country.
Chris Goodall, managing director of Quest Bulgaria, said: The evidence for this is overwhelming. Everywhere you look there are boutiques, designer shops and even the wine industry is taking on a new look. The evidence of Bulgaria’s re-branding is all around. Golden Sands, once the darling of discos and kiss-me-quick tourists has undergone a dramatic change and it’s good to see.
One driving factor is the construction of professionally designed golf courses from the Black Sea to the capital, with associated properties built to a lavish standard.
The cost of a four bed-roomed cliff-top home is up to about £330,000 but this has had the effect of pushing up prices of high quality property in the area. But there are still bargains to be had in the villages.
Marinas are another classic example of re-branding. Last year the country’s first private and biggest yacht port, the Marina Dinevi, opened in St Vlas on the Southern coast.
This state of the art port has moorings for 300 boats and can even accommodate the enormous King Class craft of over 75 feet. Boat International, the leading magazine serving the yachting industry, included the port in its annual catalogue of leading marinas which features similar complexes in the Seychelles and Paradise Islands.
In major cities, such as the capital Sofia, boutique hotels like the Maria Louisa, offer stylish surroundings and luxury living. Last year the Association for European Boutique Hoteliers held its annual conference in Sofia in recognition of its efforts.
Robin Barrasford of estate agency Barrasford and Bird said: Since Bulgaria entered the European Union confidence in the country has grown. The demand for bigger, more luxurious front-line accommodation has increased enormously.
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