Since he first visited Transylvania in 1998, Britain’s Prince Charles has acquired several properties in the region. When the prince is not in residence, his cottages in the countryside outside the village of Valea Zălanului, in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, are run as The Prince of Wales’s Guesthouse, where one can rent either an entire cottage or just a room for the night.
The guesthouse is carefully furnished in the traditional decorative style of the Szeklers, or the Hungarian-speaking people of Transylvania. This means whitewashed walls, sometimes with handwoven carpets hung like wainscoting; glazed-tile woodburning furnaces; locally made furniture with handcarved finials and other decorative elements; and wrought-iron lamps made by local blacksmiths. In every detail, the cottages perpetuate a very distinctive local culture.
The prince is also committed to preserving the arrestingly beautiful and unspoiled local ecosystem, including wildflower-rich meadows, brooks and mineral springs. Bears are still occasionally spotted in the vicinity, and one of Europe’s rarest and most spectacular flowers, the lady’s slipper orchid (Cypripedium calceolus), blossoms in the forests during May and June.
The nearest village to the property is 4 miles away on a gravel road, and the next town of any size is about 16 miles distant, so the setting is blissfully private and peaceful. And, yes, you can rent the prince’s room and spend a night in the heir to the throne’s bed. The room rates here include full board. A typical meal runs to tarragon potato soup, roast pork and apple with rice and cabbage salad, and chocolate sponge cake and includes wine and locally made brandy. The price also includes guided walks and horse-and-wagon outings.
The Prince of Wales’s Guesthouse
House No. 1, Jud. Covasna, Valea Zălanului. Tel. (40) 742-20-25-86