Romania is Eastern Europe’s undiscovered gem. Despite boasting spectacular and diverse nature, famous medieval castles, a well preserved rural culture in Transylvania and vibrant cities, most travelers don’t know what to expect and why they should visit.
That’s why some hotels and guesthouses have positioned themselves in a unique way to attract travelers looking for an experience that offers more than premium services. We’ve selected a few that stand out through their unique combination of location, atmosphere and history, and much less through their facilities, prices and ratings – which are all top notch.
So if you’re looking for ideas on how to make your hotel stand out, get some inspiration from the below. And, obviously, the best thing is to go see for yourself.
ATRA Doftana: Unique design in spectacular scenery
ATRA Doftana is a unique guesthouse in Romania, located just 90 minutes from Bucharest on the shore of Lake Paltinu. It’s a place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and enjoy a premium experience both in terms of accommodation and food.
The hotel is renowned for its spectacular design and has received several awards over the years, being nominated as the location of the year at the Romanian Hospitality Awards 2020, the ‘Epic Visits’ category.
ATRA Doftana provides nine single and double rooms starting at 133 Euro/night, each of them decorated in distinct colors, including purple, yellow, red, green, turquoise and blue, and having a terrace that overlooks the lake. The rooms have a flat-screen TV, while the bathrooms are equipped with a hairdryer and even slippers and bathrobes on request.
Facilities and services at the guesthouse include free parking, an outdoor lounge with a fireplace, free WiFi, a relaxation base with a jacuzzi, a dry sauna, and even a fitness room for athletic people.
Moreover, guests can rent a car or a bike to explore the surroundings and have the opportunity to go swimming, kayaking or fishing. And if you want to stargaze, Valea Doftanei is the best place to do so, offering an amazing night sky view unpolluted by city lights.
Tourists are also delighted by the fine dining experience at the ATRA restaurant. The hotel takes great pride in its menu and offers guests a reinterpreted, fine dining version of traditional Romanian dishes.
Viscri 32: Luxury village house next door to King Charles
Close to the city of Brasov, Viscri 32 is situated 500 m from the UNESCO Fortified Church and a few houses down the road from the UK’s King Charles’ summer house. You read that right: King Charles loves spending time in this little village in Transylvania which preserves the old way of life that he loves. That’s why he bought a house and restored it.
That set off a trend in the Romanian hospitality industry with many abandoned, old houses and boyar manors bought and turned into guest houses that use sustainable policies and combine authentic rural design with luxury comfort.
Perfect for couples looking to escape the busy city life, Viscri 32 is a premier eco-tourism destination, considered to be the trend setter. Its rooms starting at 125 Euro/night are a mix of Saxon charm and modern ingenuity, including restored furniture pieces, handmade bricks, old wood, and painted ceramic tiles. Each of them provides towels and bed linen, while the bathrooms are equipped with a shower, a hairdryer and free toiletries.
The guesthouse features a terrace where you can sit to take in the beautiful surroundings, as well as a restaurant and a bar. Viscri 32 offers an unforgettable culinary experience, as the dishes are prepared with care and consist of high-quality ingredients grown locally. The menu is changed seasonally and includes traditional Transylvanian dishes but also reinvented ones.
Viscri 32 also offers a selection of Transylvanian wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir Rose. While guests believe the delicious food to be one of the best things about the guesthouse, they are also impressed with the authenticity of the place, claiming that it offers an unforgettable cultural experience.
The main selling point of Viscri 32 is its traditional countryside life where people come to ‘travel back in time’ and slow down, far from the hustle and bustle of big city life. This is one of the main reasons people want to visit Transylvania and why King Charles owns three houses in the region!
Zabola Estate: an aristocrat’s experience
Zabola Estate is the perfect place to relax and enjoy an atmosphere that makes you feel like you’ve time-traveled to the 1920s. It belonged to a rich family of boyars and landowners who were stripped of their fortunes when Romania’s communist regime came to power.
When the descendents got it back in the early 2000s, they decided to turn the entire estate into a premiere accommodation. The property spreads over 500 hectares and includes a forest, a small lake and a pasture.
The complex includes several buildings dating as far back as the 18th century and four of them can be booked by guests. Some are set up as stand alone family units while others have several rooms that can be rented out separately starting at 121 Euro/night.
At Zabola Estate, guests benefit from 7 dining areas – indoors, outdoors or on a terrace, a garden with a playground for children, four fishing ponds, a sauna, and horseback riding facilities. A picnic place is also available here, so you can breathe fresh air while enjoying a delicious meal.
Guests generally have a great time at the property, comparing it to a fairytale place that stands out from other accommodations for its outstanding services and professional staff. That’s why the estate developed a reputation as a premiere location for small but classy weddings which is what keeps them busy on most weekends during the Summer.
Hadar Chalet: dictator Ceausescu’s retreat
Everyone sometimes dreams of an isolated cabin in the woods to disconnect from the world and connect with nature instead. Such a magical place exists and spreads over 4 hectares covering woodlands in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains.
The Hadar Chalet hotel merges a luxury lifestyle with a dramatic landscape, creating a magnificent experience for guests who will let go of their worries as soon as they get to the location. With a beautiful flowering park and an outdoor pool, the hotel is designed in the style of Swiss chalets making it unique in Romania.
That’s why former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu spent a lot of time here which boosted the chalet’s reputation for exclusivity, premium decorations and services even in modern times.
Different room types are available starting at 118 Euro/night, including a standard room, a family suite, a romantic suite, a premium room, and a deluxe and penthouse apartment. The room amenities include a TV, shower and cosmetics, and guests are guaranteed to enjoy a quiet stay.
The Chalet is ideal for hosting events for small companies or intimate parties. The property’s restaurant can host 45 guests and it also leaves space for dancing so you can have an epic party.
The culinary experience at Hadar Chalet is, as you’d expect, premium and cooks use fresh, seasonal ingredients and locally sourced trout and other animal products.
Guests describe Hadar Chalet as a dream location with marvelous surroundings and lovely and comfortable rooms – everything you’d wish for as you relax in the middle of nowhere. Hadar Chalet has even been described as one of the most beautiful locations for winter weddings due to the unique winter wonderland feeling it creates.
Raven’s Nest: secluded, luxury rural tourism
Located on top of a hill in a non-touristy area, Raven’s Nest is a sanctuary where you can discover the beauty of Transylvania’s secluded rural life. Though inaccessible, once you get on the property’s grounds you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking 360 views of the entire area. It’s easier to get here if you visit Cluj rather than Bucharest which is further away.
The complex has several wooden houses, dining and lounge areas and can accommodate as much as 26 guests in 11 rooms. Guests will stay in individual cottages starting at 200 Euro/night some of which were moved from low-altitude villages to this hill to recreate an authentic rural feeling.
Raven’s Nest has many facilities, including a traditional rural hot tub overlooking the valley, a sauna and many areas with hammocks, sun loungers and small tables where you can relax, breathe the fresh air and take in the magnificent views.
The on-site restaurant has an octagon shape symbolizing the connection between the Earth and the Cosmos and is a place where guests can gather to enjoy a delicious meal and socialize. The dishes are prepared with healthy and seasonal ingredients, resulting in an organic kitchen.
Avoiding food waste is a priority at Raven’s Nest, so guests are required to mention in advance what meals they want to have on their first day at the location, as well as their menu preferences or dietary restrictions.
More than just a hotel, Raven’s Nest wants to create a community among their guests. There’s an outdoor cinema that plays handpicked movies by the owners during weekends for guests to enjoy together. Campfires are also organized with singing, stories and good vibes.