Plovdiv's hotel scene has improved in the last few years with the Novotel reinvigorated by a splashy 2006 renovation and the opening of the brand new Alafrangite in June 2008. (The Alafrangite's owner, Ivan Kolev, managed the Timontium for 27 years and is owner/manager of the Alafrangues restaurant next door.) If the hotels below are full (with the exception of the Trimontium and Novotel, they are all quite small), look at the Hotel Bulgaria at the edge of Knyaz Aleksandur I Street (tel. 032/633 403). Its location adjacent to the main shopping/dining area couldn't be more convenient, but the facility itself is a dank, Communist-era hulk. Desk personnel speak English and are very helpful, however, and you won't need a car to explore the korso (promenade) or Old Town. Go to www.hotelbulgaria.net for information. The Bulgaria's doubles start at 160lev ($130/£81) and include breakfast in the dreary basement dining room that reeked of insecticide when we visited.
If you don't need the big-hotel vibe, a better deal is the tiny five-room hotel right on Old Plovdiv's borders (technically part of it), and a stone's through from the Dzhumaya Mosque: The aptly named Hotel-Bar Central (tel. 032/622 348; www.hotel-bar-central.com; 40€/$51 double) is wonderfully convenient, albeit understaffed. It's a slim building, with each room taking up an entire floor, and floor-to-ceiling tinted glass walls provide a sense of space. If you'd prefer to wake up surrounded by the wonderful architecture of Old Plovdiv's National Revival homes, B&B Old Town offers a great location and two lovely old-fashioned rooms with carved ceilings and wall frescoes. The surly manager does not speak English but the website makes for easy bookings, and this is a perfect place to flop into after a hard day's sightseeing -- around the corner from Arena, the outdoor cafe/bar overlooking the Roman theater (tel. 032/265679 or 0887 420 185; www.bulguide.com/bedbreakfast; 35€-55€/$45-$70, depending on room and season).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.