Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast has attracted family, package-style tourism for decades but new so-called ‘lifestyle’ developments such as Kaliakria Resort and Spa are now creating luxury vacation opportunities.
Named after stunning, cliff-side Greco-Roman ruins a 15-minute drive away, Kaliakria Resort was built just seven years ago at a cost of about 30 million Euro under the direction of Linexa Property Group led by its CEO Angel Lingorski, which has completed housing and apartment complexes near Sofia and a ski and spa resort near Banksa.
Consisting of 360 finely-designed studios, apartments and penthouses, Kaliakria (translated from Greek as ‘Beautiful Headland’) is the largest development of its kind along the 50-kilometer coastal stretch from Vama Veche, a rustic Romanian seaside resort, to the Bulgarian towns of Balcik and Albena. Some dwellings are individually owned with owners renting them out for part of the year while others are owned directly by Angel’s company, Linexa Property.
Access to the 50,000 square meter resort is either through the Bulgarian port town of Varna, whose international airport has just had a third terminal added, or by road through neighboring Romania 30 miles away. Located less than a mile off the main coast road, it is nestled cozily between stretches of vineyards and limestone cliffs offering broad views over the Black Sea.
The complex is divided into three segments with a security guard station positioned at the main entrance. Ample parking spaces are located beside a series of four-story buildings, each with terracotta walls and red tiled roofs and a small border wall of white Bulgarian limestone around them. Some of the apartments are adjacent to the largest of five swimming pools in the complex, this one with a water infinity feature, a decorative walkway of iron, wood and stone spanning its center and an open bar, including a swim-up portion, at the other end. Here, among lounge chairs, hammocks, baldaquin-covered beds and canvas umbrellas, one is usually served by two convivial local ladies, whose names delightfully translate as ‘Snow White’ and ‘Happy.’ Barbecues are served daily poolside. An open terrace, with a delicate iron railing around it, provides enough space to comfortably host an evening cocktail for ten guests. The terrace is complete with an elongated drinks table and soft sofa.
Rooms are of utilitarian design in light shades of cream and beige, with tiled floors, a closed glass-facing fireplace and an open-plan kitchen and living room. Self-catering needs are satisfied with a small drinks refrigerator, microwave and electric stove.
One of the attractions of Kaliakria Resort is its sense of harmony with nature. Aside from the vineyards (one of the resort’s two restaurants, the bistro-style ‘Turquoise,’ offers romantic, setting-sun views over them) and the limestone cliffs, green areas are spacious between and around buildings, all interspersed with more than 120 varieties of flowers, bushes and trees, including sage, palm, olive and rose. The pool area and many of the walkways between buildings are cobbled with soft white limestone rock quarried near the town of Vratsa.
The second restaurant, ‘El Balcon del Mundo,’ featuring both an interior room behind a glass frontage and an open terrace, overlooks the Black Sea and long stretches of coast either side. It serves dishes ranging from grilled octopus (a delightful choice of appetizer, simple but full of flavor) to cook-yourself ‘steak on a stone’ (ask for the meat to be served raw or it will come slightly cooked). A selection of Bulgarian cheeses and locally grown grapes can be ordered, even though it is not on the menu. The complex also has a small store serving basic foods, drinks and souvenir knick-knacks.
Activities are plentiful in and around Kaliakria Resort. In spacious rooms overlooking the sea, a spa hosted by Sofia-based Medica Aesthetica offers diverse treatments – ranging from red wine to honey and rose revitalizing facials to classic and aromatherapy full-body massages.
Facial creams are La Prairie and body products are made by Bulgaria-based Eco Spa. There is also a small sauna, accommodating four people.
For fitness buffs, Zumba classes are offered weekly while live jazz music is featured every Friday. Aside from its five swimming pools, the resort also has its own intimate stretch of soft, sandy beach, reached either after a five-minute drive, a free shuttle bus, or a walk down some steep steps. An open, thatched-roof bar is located there and plenty of chaise longues are available.