Perfect for Adventurers
The Cluj region of Romania is not the busiest bustling metropolis in the world and Casa Maria offers a distinctly laid back view of life in Romania, making it the perfect location for a peaceful few days’ stay during your trip with it's amazing terrace view of the mounatins and countryside. Before travelling to Romania, we were contacted by our hosts at Casa Maria with the following message, "Please know there’s been quite a big storm yesterday that washed off much of the forest road, please drive very carefully on it for this reason". We’re not the types to run from any opportunity for adventure, so with google maps in hand and all the confidence we could possibly bestow in our rented car for the week (a little red Corsa far better suited for hanging round in McDonalds carparks), we set off into the mountains.
As we left behind the final village en route to the villa, the roads began to rapidly deteriorate. The tarmac was littered with potholes, and eventually gave way completely to gravel tracks. The forest road that we had been warned about prior to arrival was a combination of the two – mostly gravel with great chunks missing that had clearly been washed away. The final stretch of the journey is along the driveway to Casa Maria itself, about half a mile long and consisting of mud, rock, and deep carved tyre tracks which proved a bit too much for our plucky little Corsa, as it slipped and skidded along, occasionally making us wince with the scraping noises coming from beneath the car. For this reason we’d advise going for a slightly larger vehicle, especially if you’re going during a different season when the weather is likely to be more challenging.
Terrace with a View
The best thing about the drive though? The view that rewards you when you get to the top. Casa Maria is situated in fairytale surroundings on the mountainside, with unique panoramic views over the surrounding mountain peaks and Dragan Lake. We parked the car and were immediately drawn to the terrace which surrounds the house, filled with comfortable sofas and with a gentle soundtrack of songs from the famous old crooners playing in the background. We didn’t come across anyone on our first explore of the ground floor, but far from being off-putting this just added to the magic of the place. It felt as though we were being welcomed by the house itself, which is as much a part of the landscape as the trees and meadows that surround it.
Our host Madalina soon discovered us and gave us a very warm welcome. We were shown the shared amenities on the ground floor, including a large well-stocked kitchen, traditionally decorated living and dining rooms, and of course the panoramic terrace. There’s also a wide selection of books and games available for all guests to use and you’re welcome to take these onto the terrace whenever you fancy some down-time (or a highly competitive chess death match in our case). Madalina is the perfect host, there’s nothing we found that she wouldn’t or couldn’t help us with, from suggesting a multitude of local hiking routes to making us pancakes on our first night.
Clean & Relaxing Room
Our room was clean and tastefully decorated (prior to booking we had browsed a number of different accommodation options and the décor can definitely be considered ‘interesting’ in some places!) The bed was comfy and we were provided with blankets and an extra pillow when requested, so we had everything we needed to get peaceful nights’ sleep during our stay. And peaceful it definitely is – the only sounds we could hear through the windows were those of crickets and the occasional sheep bell from the herds wandering through the valley. The lack of artificial light in the area also means the night skies are truly breath taking, with the whole milky way visible during a clear night, we were even lucky enough to spot a shooting star.
The ambiance of Casa Maria is what makes it the perfect place to stay. We used it as a relaxing base to return to after days of hiking and adventure, but it would be equally suited to those just looking for a place to slow down the pace of their everyday lives and truly unwind with the luxury of spectacular views. Peace, romance and the natural inspiration of your surroundings – it was everything we could possibly have asked for during our Romanian retreat.