Palaga Lodge is part of Maramures Lodges, traditional wooden houses in Romania restored with all comforts and turned into unique holiday homes on a 100ha property.
How would you describe Maris Lodge in a nutshell?
Maramures Lodges are traditional wooden houses in Romania that have been restored with all comforts and turned into unique holiday homes on a large 100ha property facing a monastery. They are highlights of Maramures architecture. There are five houses in total and we got them from different villages in the area several years ago, deconstructed them and rebuilt them on this piece of land.
They are absolutely traditional and we love them because they are masterpieces of Maramures woodworking crafts. They are also unique because of their size and one of them is very special because it is L-shaped and this type of house is very rare. They are between 150 and 300 years old.
What was your inspiration to acquire these country lodges, deconstruct them and and turn them into holiday rentals?
When we started, we had no plan. It was only passion. Nowadays, old houses are demolished or burned down in order to make room for modern houses. The traditional village centres are disappearing, so we wanted to help to protect this traditional type of building.
Later on, we devised the plan to provide nice holiday accommodation for guests. We did this for two reasons. One was to share the houses with others, and the second was to have some help with reducing our costs.
Please tell us a little bit about the interior of the holiday homes.
My wife is an architect and a carpenter, so she is in charge of the design of the buildings. We discussed for a long time what to do, wondering whether to be more traditional or modern. My wife and I both love French antique furniture and paintings, so we purchased things in the northwest of France and Paris and combined them with traditional furniture from our village Botiza.
For example, in Maris Lodge we also have an original desk from Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, the famous British travel writer. I was always inspired by his many travels and when there was an auction of some of his belongings, I bought his desk and some original books.
To you personally, what is so special about these traditional Romanian country lodges?
Maramures Lodges have a special atmosphere that immediately draws you in. It’s like lifting off to another time. When I’m here for three or four days, it’s a bit like time travel, with a simpler, slower pace. It’s like living 50 years in the past.
What about the region of Maramures in Romania made you fall in love with it?
The smells, the hospitality of the people, the rich landscape and the animals. It took me back to my childhood, and it does that for others too.
Since we are so close to nature, we sometimes have wolves and bears, among other animals, near the houses. When you are lucky, you may get a chance to meet them.
Romania isn’t the obvious choice for a holiday...
You cannot compare it with an island like Majorca or Jamaica or something like that. When you want to go to the sea, you need to go to the sea. When you want to ski, you need to ski. But when you’re looking for an outstanding place that’s different, not mainstream, our place provides solitude and peace off the beaten track.
People from all parts of Europe come here, people who are looking for that something special and who want to live with nature. It’s an amazing place.
Prince Charles even has invested in two houses in this region of Maramures. We hope he will visit us soon!
What’s the biggest reward for you about the renting out these holiday homes?
The most impressive experience for me was to work together with the Romanian craftsmen. It’s another way to work — more emotional and in a good mood.
We have a lot of friends here and a very good relation to the people of the village. We had a party with friends to celebrate the completion of the three houses last year, and every year we celebrate with friends and people of the village when we finish cutting the grass. This has already become a tradition. We and all of our holiday guests appreciate the barbecue, traditional music, dance and a big fire in the night.