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Totally romantic on the golf coast

Clive Leviev-Sawyer, Photos: CLIVE LEVIEV-SAWYER, The Sofia Echo online, Issue 35

Address: Kaliakria, near Kavarna
Tel: 089/ 392 99 67 [kaliakria.com]

Hemlines change, hairstyles change and so, too, fashions in cocktails and summer tipples are mutable.

On the way to Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast as the dials on the autumn oven were turned from sultry to baking, we were told that the drink of choice this summer was mente and Sprite. That may be so, among a certain set, and certainly on a number of beaches I saw holidaymakers skipping over hot sand, bearing outsize plastic cups of minty fizzling green, straws jolting with every step.

The mojito, that concoction of white rum, sugar, lime, soda water and mint, arguably may now be deemed not so much fashionable but a standby drink, ordered by reflex when one cannot be bothered to read the cocktail bar menu, rather like ordering a cola often is a less-than-conscious decision. So ubiquitous along the Bulgarian coast is the mojito that there is a non-alcoholic version, the virgin mojito, minus the rum.

At the Totally Romantic bar, we saw a couple order a bottle of Moet et Chandon as their poolside drink, certainly a departure from the norm, given that the connection to the mente-and-Sprite of this summer was arguably only in the green of the bottle and the fizz of the champagne. At 150 leva a bottle, not something ordered by reflex, although presumably there was a conscious decision not to pop to the top of the price list, which is crowned by Dom Perignon at 480 leva a bottle.

Our mojitos, at 6.90 leva, were somewhat more affordable.

We had been invited to stay at the Kaliakra Sea and Golf View Apartments as guests for three days, although we did pick up our own food and drink tabs. After a drive of more than four hours from a resort on the southern coast, the signboard indicating the turnoff to the complex from the Balchik-Kavarna road was a welcome sight. Barely stopping to take in the view of Kavarna Bay – and the work-in-progress golf course above the shoreline – from our first-floor apartment, we headed to the pool to, so to speak, shake the dust of the road from our feet.

The focal point of the complex is the pool, and the focal point of the pool is the bar, which, like other pool bars I have seen elsewhere in the world, features a curve of stone seats set beneath the waterline for those who, to upturn a phrase, prefer to take it with their water.

In a bow to another current fashion, the poolside features not only chaise longues but also beds, in mock-four-poster style, with fine translucent drapes to shade away the sun.

Having arrived on a Thursday afternoon, we found the pool area to be hosting just a few customers, a welcome oasis from the frantic drive along the coastal road. The waitress served as swiftly as bidden, which this sceptic put down to business being slow. When the weekend came, however, with Friday sunset bringing a succession of cars through the gate, service remained swift.

Fridays also bring a change of pace to the bar and the place as a whole, with a resident DJ taking up his duties, themed evenings – the first of the weekend being, predictably, Thank God It’s Friday (house beats), Saturday is The Funky Return of Old School (meaning, music from the 1970s to the 1990s) and Sundays being dance nights. July and August this year have seen special events, including, on the weekend we were there, a poolside performance of several hours from 9pm onwards by Alexandra Raeva.

Over lunch, a poolside barbeque operates, offering a menu du jour with changing items, including a fulfilment of the boast that the place offers only fish caught locally. Otherwise, in the evenings we headed for the complex’s Bistro Turquoise, which has decor done out in latter-day white-painted-wood beach chic and a menu offering a small but representative selection of salads, soups and main courses (sample items: club sandwich eight leva, spicy chicken nine leva, beef fillet steak 23 leva), along with a view of a sunset over a horizon not yet transformed into the greens of what is rapidly becoming Bulgaria’s Golf Coast. As at the bar, wireless internet is available in the bistro area, with an information sheet providing the password. And, as at the bar, staff are friendly and efficient.

Accommodation at the complex (phone 089/ 461 12 18) is comparable to that at some of Bulgaria’s more expensive hotels along the Black Sea coast, at 131 leva a night in low season for a single room and 173 leva in high season, and 163 leva a night in low season for a double room and 222 leva in high season. For those who prefer a sense of exclusivity, however, a complex of this kind is a break away from the crowded beaches elsewhere on the coast.

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