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Visit Prince Charles and Count Kalnoky’s guesthouse in the remote village of Zalanpatak and you might feel you’ve stepped back in time a couple of hundred years.
The village itself is reached by a bumpy track that might technically qualify as a road when looking at a map, but clings to the definition with white knuckles. The drive is well worth it, though, because the village and the guesthouse at the end of it are bucolic perfection, pure and simple.
The charming main building houses the Prince's bedroom and two others, while there are two more rooms in a pretty outhouse with a terrace that catches the evening sun. A further two rooms are coming soon. To complete the picture perfect scene, there is a wonderful old wooden barn, a cornflower blue cottage which houses the kitchen, breakfast room and a comfortable drawing room, and finally an open-sided hut with a wood-burning stove where delicious lunches (and, in summer, breakfasts, teas and suppers too) are served.
The rooms themselves are designed in traditional style with small but functional bathrooms, all of which have showers except the Prince's room which has a large rolltop bath.
The chef from the village cooks up delicious Hungarian specialities such as Szeckler goulash or pancakes filled with sweet cheese, best washed down with Harghita, the local beer, or some of the very good local wine.
This is somewhere to sit and contemplate a way of life long since consigned to history in the UK, but there are also plenty of excellent local activities on offer as well, including long walks, riding, trips to forest hides for bear spotting, horse and cart rides into the hills for picnics, and visits to the village.
Why we love it
Take your binoculars. There is a lovely open meadow on the valley slopes opposite the guesthouse, and it's not unheard of to see wild boars and bears strolling through the long grass and wild flower meadows in summer.