It’s all about location at Casa Luxemburg in the medieval Transylvanian city of Sibiu in Romania. Located in the Piata Mica (Little Square) of this city’s historic “upper town”, the restored arcaded building offers seven individually decorated rooms in the heart of the historical center. Unique architectural details reminiscent of its medieval past include the arched portal (taller folks may need to watch their heads) to enter the guesthouse’s “lobby”.
But that’s only part of the history-rich charm of Casa Luxemburg. I loved the views from my guest room, number 24 (aka “Grevenmacher”). One night I cranked open my windows to see the moon over the Council Tower (the former fortification tower from the 14th century) and the next day watched as a bride and groom had photos taken below me on the city’s famous Bridge of Lies or Liars’ Bridge, built in 1859. (When I asked why a couple would choose that spot, I was told that one of the many varying legends regarding the bridge’s name is that you can’t tell a lie on the bridge.) As I admired one of the 17th century buildings directly across the square from me, I felt as if it was looking at me—later, I learned that the roofs of many of these ancient buildings contain what the locals call the “eyes of the city”—small, oval-shaped windows that seem to have half-lowered eyelids.
My room, categorized as an “apartment” on the website, seemed like more of a suite. It was huge, with an entryway, large bathroom, main room and a second room that had a single bed in it. Simple, sparse, and spotless—with a polished hardwood floor and minimal decorations, the main room also had a comfortable King-sized bed with down comforter, mini-bar, a flat screen t.v and wi-fi. The bathroom amenities were few (and no bathtub), but there was a hairdryer –and best of all, for a woman like me who grew up with them, fresh smelling and line-dried towels. I have yet to experience a hotel that “green” in the USA.
The downside of many historic properties in Europe is the lack of an elevator—but the English-speaking desk clerk did offer to help with my suitcases to the second floor. Parking is also an issue at this hotel—but unlike the adjacent Piata Mare (Big Square) where no cars are allowed, Piata Mica does allow cars—for a price. But at something close to $13 a day to park nearby, guests like myself who are used to dishing out far more, the price seems– like everything else in Romania– a bargain. Especially when room rates during the high season start below $100 a night as they do here and include breakfast. (Eggs made to order, homemade breads, pastries, juice.)
But it’s also important to book early at Casa Luxemburg–especially if you are visiting during the summer. Sibiu is one of the most popular cities in Romania for tourists desiring a true taste of Transylvania—and rooms in the charming historic center are few. From Casa Luxemburg, you can walk everywhere in the medieval heart of the city—with its winding passages, pretty squares, stairways, churches, museums, cafes and restaurants. In Piata Huet, you can see the home of the Evangelical Cathedral—built between 1322 and 1520; in Piata Mare—the spectacular Bruckenthal Palace, and in Piata Mica, don’t miss climbing to the top of the Council Tower—for a fabulous view over the entire city that once had three rings of fortified walls around it and was considered the stronghold of Saxon Transylvania.
Review and photos (except where noted) by Donna Tabbert Long who was a guest at the hotel on a tour of Transylvania in Romania.