Relaxing Sanctuary Deep In Transylvanian Countryside

by Sean Hillen

Three giant wood-sculpted celestial angels stand guard over Anna Charisma, a secluded 3-floor chalet deep in the Transylvania countryside.
An hour from the historic city of Sibiu, the road to this sanctuary-style retreat is a daunting five kilometers along a narrow gravel and stone road through a forest of fir, beech, alder, birch and witch hazel – a journey well worth the effort.

Interestingly, entrance to this luxury property is most unusual – across a chain-link footbridge 15-meters above the flowing river Mirșa, with the soothing sound of the 50-foot ‘Angels’ Waterfall’ nearby adding to the natural ambience.

Photos by Columbia Hillen

Upon arrival, we were delighted to find a long table set elegantly for dinner on a patio fronting the chalet, complete with crisp, white tablecloth, yellow roses and white wooden chairs.

Opened two years ago by Bianca Gama, this luxury property was a former communist protocol house, a secret retreat for the elite, who enjoyed lavish hunting and lively parties. It can accommodate 26 people on two upper floors, including a penthouse with copper bath tub and piano. A large kitchen and dining room occupy much of the ground floor. Cosy armchairs, wines cooled in a mini refrigerator and bottles of spirits enhance pre- or post-dinner relaxation in a special cigar lounge off the lobby. 

Bedrooms bearing names such as ‘Virtue,’ ‘Charisma’ and Confidence’ create added charm.

Our tile-floored room, ‘Passion,’ featured a spacious balcony overlooking a grassy lawn, a gurgling stream, forests and scenic Carpathian Mountain peaks in the distance. Wonderful showers and fluffy towels made indulging in comfort effortless.

Aside from the elegant interior, the exterior of Anna Charisma is exceptional in several ways. Guests can enjoy a newly-built sauna and a quaint wood-barrelled, outdoor hot-tub on a large deck. Chaise longues beside the pebble-strewn river offer further opportunities for relaxation as does circular seating around a barbecue grill and fire-pit bordered by colorful potted flowers, plants and heather. We sat here enjoying an evening of star gazing, with cascading water in the background the only soundtrack.

All meals can be prepared upon request and we enjoyed a selection of local cold cuts, cheese and home made bread as well as a Transylvanian style stew of chanterelle mushrooms in a creamy beef sauce. 

Dragonflies flitting acrobatically in the air signal the purity of the air and a nearby garden provides fresh herbs for cooking. A freestanding wooden gazebo decorated with latticework, with seating and countertops, offers shelter from sun and rain. On-site security and assistance is provided by Ghita, a friendly and well-informed guardian and gardener, who carries guest luggage across the footbridge on a wheelbarrow.

Ghita and his colleagues make guests feel at home.

Bianca has also launched her own ‘Anna Boutique’ online company offering a wide range of gifts, from perfumes and textiles to wines and chocolates. Among the artisan foods we enjoyed were an assortment of homemade jams for an al fresco breakfast to set us well for the journey ahead in the heart of Transylvania. 

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