Top Solo Travel Destination Prince of Wales Retreat: Relax in the heart of Transylvania.
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales’s private nature retreat lies nestled among the meadows and hills of Zalán Valley, Romania. The property has kept its Transylvanian authenticity by having been carefully restored with traditional methods and materials. It is now open to accommodate and entertain individual travellers from around the world.
Zalán Valley is set in the rolling foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, Romania. Its cultural landscape can be said to be unique in Europe, still reflecting the harmonious interaction between man and nature. Small brooks trickle through the valley and cross this biodiverse property with a range of plants, insects, birds, mushrooms and large mammals including bears (sometimes crossing the back yard). One of Europe’s rarest and most spectacular orchids, the Lady Slipper, is blossoming in the valley’s forests in May and June. The property is filled with rich wild flower meadows that are located in the direct vicinity of the guesthouses. The landscape is ideal for painting and for photography.
The tiny hamlet of Zalán Valley was first documented in the 16th century as belonging to Bálint (Valentin) Kálnoky of Kőröspatak, one of the Transylvanian ancestors of H.R.H. The Prince of Wales. The family had originally founded a glass factory in this part of the hills, which has since ceased to exist. Today, around 120 inhabitants live in the village. Prince Charles owns the property that had been built for the former ‘judge’ who was overseeing the glassworks and the village. It is composed of several buildings, and has a patch of forest and extensive flower meadows, with mineral springs and small brooks belonging to it.
The nearest villages are 6km away along a gravel track, and the next town 20km.
Our philosophy of restoring heritage architecture is characterised by utmost respect for the textures and atmospheres of ancient buildings. All the rooms have been lovingly restored and furnished with authentic antiques and textiles from Transylvania. The way we restore derelict houses is barely noticeable, rather would it seem that the buildings have aged gently and gradually without recent intervention. The property is not to be seen as a ‘shabby chic’ styled holiday resort, it is genuine in its harmony and guests feel like staying in a centuries-old private home.
On each day of the week, we offer one activity for our ‘All Inclusive’ guests. These are mostly in the form of nature walks, horse & cart rides, and visits to local craftsmen guided by knowledgeable staff and dependent upon the season.
In addition, horse riding is available at our nearby stables (transfer by car). Bicycles are available for hire.
In the warm season (May–September) ‘al fresco’ dinners in the surrounding hills are offered, as well as visits to the nearby wildlife hide (mostly bears and deer). Or simply relax in our deck-chairs and hammocks in one of the most harmonious surroundings in the hills of Transylvania. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the mineral water pool during summer heat. In winter we also offer horse-drawn sleigh rides with bells, blankets and mulled wine.
For more information on activities, please follow this link.
Guests are welcomed on arrival with our local Transylvanian brandy and pastries before being shown to their rooms. There is neither TV nor radio, but the drawing room has a small HiFi player with cds. There are plenty of books including nature guides, and you can also borrow binoculars and a scope to watch wildlife from around the house. Laundering is available for a small charge.
The guestrooms are furnished exclusively with antique Transylvanian furniture, including most of the textiles. All rooms have double or twin beds with duvet covers. In order to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity, the rooms do not have television or radio; instead, you will find plenty of interesting books on the shelves. Each room has an electric kettle, with tea and coffee provided as well as mineral water.
The Prince’s room and the Butler’s room (supplement 10 EUR / person)
These rooms are slightly larger (20 – 25 m2) with elaborate, antique furniture and textiles. They have double / twin beds and a bathtub.
King-size double/twin bed, dressing room, en-suite bathroom with bath-tub. Situated in the main house. “At Zalantapak, the Prince’s room is beautiful- but they were all absolutely lovely, so don’t worry!” “Three nights sleeping in one of the most comfiest beds ever, in a room with an en suite, ornately tiled wood burner, plenty of original features and plenty of local books to borrow.”
Meeting like-minded travellers from all around the world is one of the special features of this place. Meals are mostly taken along with other guests, unless desired separately.
Food is prepared on site by local staff, mostly from local ingredients as available. Menus are set for every day of the week and no choice ‘à la carte’ is possible. They reflect the customary cooking of the different Transylvanian ethnicities (Romanian, Hungarian, Saxon). Special requests and dietary requirements must be specified in advance. During the day, picnics and barbecues will be served on the walks and rides. All dinners are accompanied by a half bottle of wine or a beer per person, included in the price. We prepare local brandy, ‘Székely Köményes’ in our kitchen for the guests. A small choice of pre-dinner cocktail drinks and port wine are also available at an extra charge. In the warm season (May–September) ‘al fresco ‘ dinners in the surrounding hills are offered at extra cost.