Subject: Slovenia itinerary
Hello Russell, The lake is most certainly the top attraction of Bled. On the basis of my experience of the hotels there, you won't have a problem weeding out the cold, commercial hotels that could be found anywhere. The Bled hotels are in a particular class of their own. Certainly not a lot of glitz, so it's good that you're not into that. Many of them are built to a grand scale - dining rooms that are utilitarian to the nth degree and accommodate several hundred people at a sitting. They were built, I understand, for the huge tour groups that are/were a feature of the locality. It seemed to me that they assumed that every bed would always be occupied and every resident would always be in the dining room at the same time - at least in the place we stayed for most of the time (the Golf Hotel - we were on the top floor, centre, with a superb view of the lake.) Some of the hotels look quite grand externally but the majority are fairly functional inside. As I said earlier, the one differentiating feature is the view from your room, so do make a point of asking for a lake view - with a balcony, especially. It is a magical sight to wake up to and to enjoy at sunset particularly. The Grand Hotel Toplice is right on the lake and a splendid version of itself - if you understand that description. I doubt it has been updated in forty years - but certainly is atmosopheric! It has a sister hotel right across the road, which I think is fairly rudimentary in its facilities but is linked to the Toplice, with even reception provided from the latter. And my memory is that there is at least one tennis court up there also, but that may not be correct. It would have the boating facilities of the lake within easy access - and, from there, you would have no excuse for missing the obligatory sun-up walk around the lake. A lovely way to start the day! There was also a seafood restaurant virtually across the road, so in a splendid location for watching the sunset on the lake - rather more expensive than the generality of local restaurants and I don't know that the food was so much better - but we had excellent service, good food and - as I said, a very special location. Even if you don't stay at Villa Bled, you can have drinks on the terrace in the evening - although it may take a little organising. Worth the effort though. It is in the Relais et Chateau group and, as you probably know if you have been researching it, was Tito's summer residence, so you have some history as an added benefit. There is a Tourist Office in Bled, with a webpage that may be of use to you if you've not found it yet: Best of luck and do come back if you have any more questions, Joan Melbourne, Australia