With four chalets within easy walking distance of the town, a Snomads chalet is the ideal spot to spend a winter week. There is an abundance of places to stay in Bansko, which makes it more difficult to pick the perfect accommodation. Throw into the mix that you may be out all day on the ski slopes and will come back ravenous and knackered, you want to have a warm, cosy place with comfy beds, great food, maybe a modicum of alcohol.
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Bansko, in the south west of Bulgaria is about a 3 hour drive from Sofia. It is a great place for some winter fun, plenty of snow from early November to mid-April, over 70 kms of ski runs and the highest area at 2600m, it is perfect for skiing, snowboarding or a snowshoeing wilderness walk. And if you are not a skier, there is still lots to do in and around the town.
Now, a chalet stay is not for everyone. Sharing your space with strangers every morning and night can be a bit intrusive, but generally, everyone is out all day, and there is great camaraderie over meals sharing antics on the slopes. By the end of the week, those strangers become friends.
I normally like to have my own space and be able to eat and chill when I want, but I found that having other people around was actually really enjoyable.
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Snomads Chalet Diana Ross
Snomads arranges transport to pick you up from the airport in Sofia and bring you to your chalet in Bansko. Arriving at Chalet Diana Ross, you are greeted by your hosts for the week and after a delicious glass of warming mulled wine and homemade chocolate cookies, shown to your room.
With 10 rooms spread over four floors, Chalet Diana Ross can sleep up to 25 guests in a range of twin, double or even triple ensuite rooms. The rooms are large and spacious with plenty of wardrobe space, a TV if you feel the need, a desk if you need to work, with a shower in the en-suite. The beds, after a long day either on the slopes or walking around the town, were inviting, comfortable and toasty warm.
With a mixed group of dietary requirements, including a couple of vegetarians and vegans as well as a gluten-free and a nut allergy to contend with, the food was delicious and plentiful. Six of the seven days’ meals are catered with a hot option for breakfast and a three-course evening meal. Wine, beer and local rakia are available to accompany the dinner. During the day, you arrange your own lunch and, on one night, you go out to eat in town.
All the meals were prepared using organic, local produce where possible. Meat comes from local butchers so there was a clear provenance from field to fork. Fruit from the garden is made into delicious pies, crumbles and pickles. All cooked to secret recipes, hearty stews, bruschetta on home-made bread, fluffy, soft pancakes for breakfast and a whole host of scrumptious puddings.
Friday night is barbeque night! Along with lots of fresh beef and sausages from local providers, vegetarian moussaka, homemade pickles, slaw, dips and turmeric bread, such a feast to feed the ravenous guests after our last day skiing!
Leisure Time at the Chalet
After a hard day on the slopes and a filling dinner, you can either slope off to your room or take advantage of the TV & Games Room. There is a wide-screen TV to watch or to play one of the console games. There is also a selection of board games – Dobble, Cards Against Humanity as well as normal playing cards and other games. You can just chill here or maybe read one of the books that have been left behind by previous guests.
Sweat it out in the wood-lined sauna downstairs or if you are still feeling energetic, play table-tennis at the quirky table. Ease your aching bones in the outdoor hot tub; if you are lucky you can sit in the bubbling warm water while the snow falls around you.
Apart from using locally sourced, organic food where possible, Snomad also try to be as eco-friendly as they can. We were encouraged to swap our plastic toothbrushes for bamboo ones with rainbow bristles; deposit our waste, single-use plastic and recyclable into the marked bins and reuse bags and bottle where we can.
As far as possible Snomads only cook with locally sourced organic food or from their own garden. The lights in the common areas are on motion sensors.
The Other Snomads Chalets
Chalet Diana Ross – up to 25 Guests
Chalet Supreme – up to 10 guests
In the same grounds as Chalet Diana Ross, Chalet Supreme is only available to rent as a whole, so you have exclusive use of it. It sleeps up to 10 guests and you have your own private bar and dining area or you can eat with the guests in Chalet Diana Ross. You also share the hot tub, sauna and table tennis with the Chalet Diana Ross guests.
Chalet Prince – up to 20 guests
With a traditional Bulgarian mehana – basement dining room – Chalet Prince has a range of single, double and triple en-suite rooms spread over the upper floors. The indoor blue mosaic lined twin hot-tub and sauna are off to the left side of the main door while on the left side you go into the garden area with outdoor seating and undercover table-tennis table.
Chalet Destiny – up to 18 guests
A bit further out of town, near Bansko Old Town, Chalet Destiny also has a cosy basement mehana and four floors of rooms with a spacious lounge/bar area with views over the Pirin mountains on the top floor. A perfect place to chill out after a long day or you can ease your aches in the sauna followed by a dip in the plunge pool.
Those little extras that make Snomads special:
Snomads have your lift passes ready on arrival
Snomads arrange your lift passes in advance, so there is no faffing about getting them printed, they are waiting for you when you arrive.
Snomads take you to arrange ski equipment and ski lessons
Depending on what time you arrive at the chalet, you will be given a chance to settle in then it is into the minibus for the quick trip up to get you fitted for your skiing or snowboarding equipment and arrange any lessons you want, so you can hit the slopes!
Free Shuttle service
A free shuttle service is available between the chalets and the gondola at the bottom of the slopes in the morning and the late afternoon.
When you come back from a day out, you don’t want to hang around waiting for someone to come and serve you a drink, so there is an honesty bar. A simple book where you can write down if you have taken any beer, ale or wine from the fridge. At the end of the holiday, your bill is totted up and you pay – simples!
Trip to the Thermal Springs
Snomads arrange a trip to the thermal springs just outside Bansko for a dip in the therapeutic springs to ease your aching joints. It doesn’t matter whether the weather is cold or not, the three pools will keep you warm with varying degrees of temperature, from warm to the smallest and hottest pool.
Wine Tasting Evenings
If there are enough people interested, Snomads will arrange a wine tasting evening featuring several different white and red Bulgarian wines.
Interesting Facts and Word of the Day
Do you want to learn a few words of Bulgarian and maybe some interesting facts about the country? Keep an eye on the blackboard at the bottom of the stairs for the day’s interesting fact and word of the day.
Great advice of what to do
The chalet hosts are really knowledgeable and can give you great tips on which runs to hit, where to go and what to do with your free time. Also great restaurant suggestions for where to eat in town for lunch or dinner.
The Chalets are already getting booked up for next year, so if you are looking to go to Bansko for the ski season, check the Snomads website for availability and rates.
I was a guest of Snomads. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions and photographs are my own. No photographs may be reproduced in any manner without my written permission.