Guests entering the Opera Plaza hotel in Cluj-Napoca, Romania are in for pleasant surprises – firstly they’re welcomed at the door by trumpets and a rising phoenix, then by the delightful vision of an elegant and gleaming 100-year-old carriage right in the middle of the foyer.
The trumpets and phoenix are the work of award-winning Transylvanian sculptor, Liviu Mocan, which friendly 31-year-old general manager, Ovidiu Cioci, says, “help provide an emperor-style welcome for everyone,” adding that the sleek carriage is courtesy of the Danish Royal family.
Such features reflect some of the renovations and improvements costing several million euro that have helped create one of the region’s leading five-star hotels, first opened 12 years ago.
Guests are encouraged to enjoy a leisurely seat in comfortable leather armchairs in the spacious lobby or at well-positioned tables overlooking the street while being served a choice of cocktails and coffee drinks created by experienced bartender Gabi Mic. An intricately hand-painted ceiling and an open fireplace adds extra allure to the charming ground-floor ambience.
Just beyond the lobby is the Bellagio restaurant where guests’ days start with a full buffet breakfast. Adjoining it is the Opera Garden, an alternative to the main restaurant featuring a high glass ceiling and decorative plants providing a relaxing and refreshing environment.
Diners at the Opera Plaza enjoy authentic farm-to-table taste of local produce from a farm in nearby Jucu encompassing 500 hectares of vegetables and 600 hectares of pasture land for many animals including Holstein Friesian cows, the primary source of milk. Pork veal steak and homemade prosciutto are favorite items on the menu.
The hotel comprises 64 rooms and suites with 19thth century and early 20th century black and white photographs of the city adorning the walls of its five floors. My room 507, designed in a classic manner, offered panoramic views over this historic city.
A welcome attraction is the hotel’s spa facilities, including a swimming pool and Jacuzzi, fully-equipped gym and a treatment room for a range of therapies including geothermal massage, a traditional practice combining massage with thermal therapy focusing on key energetic points of the body. While staying several days at the hotel, I indulged in a marvellous massage experience, emerging both relaxed and revitalized.
Corporate and social events are well catered for at Opera Plaza. Its ‘Cristal’ conference room with imposing chandeliers hanging from a high ceiling can host up to 300 guests, while its glass wall allow in ample natural sunlight. For convenience, the room also has two extra entrances, one from Voltaire Street and the other from the Summer Terrace. Situated on the top floor, the ‘Panoramic’ conference room offers a 360-degree view over the town center and an outdoor terrace hosting events for up to 80 participants.
Location is also a major advantage for the Opera Plaza, being only a short ten-minute walk passed the ornate city opera house to historical downtown areas such as Unirii Square, with its underground Roman ruins, outdoor cafes and restaurants and impressive Matthias Corvinus Monument, as well as the 700-year-old Museum Square where the History Museum of Transylvania and the 10-meter tall Carolina Obelisk dedicated to the French Emperor Francisc, are situated.
With its spa, central location, warm ambience and conference facilities, the Opera Plaza is both a convenient and comfortable venue for either business or holiday guests to this pretty central Transylvanian city.