Before I proceed with the lowdown, just know that this is not your ordinary hotel. There are no phones, no TVs, though there is great WIFI access. You do cook your own breakfast but all the ingredients are provided. The idea is to unplug and get in tune with nature and be present. So please do not expect a 5 star hotel room like the Intercontinental or the Four Seasons.
1. Location is ideal for visiting the wooden churches in Maramures as it's close to many of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. You can use Breb as your base while exploring the other towns.
2. Each cottage comes with a kitchen stocked with basics and more for making breakfast, snacks, etc...The butter, eggs, milk are so fresh!
3. Each cottage is tastefully decorated with local tapestry and artifacts. It's very cozy.
4. There are sufficient radiator heat to keep the place toasty.
5. The people managing the property are very friendly and accommodating. Penny helped us during our stay and was very attentive despite having a cast from the injury to her arm. Her assistant Andrada (sp?) was also very wonderful. They can help to arrange dinners in nearby homes and pensions.
6. The setting is very bucolic and peaceful. Even if you go nowhere the whole day, it's a great spot to just relax, read a book, and chill out.
1. The floors are creaky as the cottages are traditional. So unless you rent the whole house, be prepared that your upstair neighbors may be a bit noisy walking about. When we were there, we had the whole house to ourselves despite renting only one room so it was great. I did hear that others have not had major issues and those staying in close quarters became friends afterwards.
2. I did not really like cooking my own breakfast because I'm on vacation and i'm a mom of two children. Other guests we met did not seem to mind this.
3. You do need to arrange dinners and lunches off site so no room service.
4. If you have a physical limitation and can't climb narrow stairs or lift heavy suitcases up said narrow stairs, this place may not be suitable for you.
We would stay again. We were traveling with two young kids who loved the nooks and crannies of the room we stayed in.
Penny is a great host. She is cheerful, friendly and approachable without being intrusive. She is this guest house’s biggest asset. The WIFI here is also very good.
The room however had not been fully cleaned – the room was very dusty, there were several dead flies on the window sill, the carpet was covered in hairs, the tooth mug still had toothpaste stains from the previous occupant, and so on. We were glad to leave.
If you are looking for an “authentic” Romanian stay then staying here goes a long way towards that and my grading is based on someone wanting that. If, like us, you are used to 4/5 star hotels this is NOT the place to stay.
Our room did not have full head height for the entire room - for example in front of the toilet and the room itself was not particularly clean.
Dinner “in a local’s house” is cheap. It is also poor. My feeling is that it’s better than trying for self catering but you do not get anything approaching a good meal.
The self service breakfast was not enjoyable.
We will not return
After reading the trip advisor reviews, I decided to book a night at the Village Hotel in Breb. First off, communication with Penelope was intermittent even using the hotel website's on-line form & email. I had to send my messages a couple of times in various ways before getting any response which took at least a couple of days. The rates listed on the website were different than what was quoted...we ended up paying @€15 more. She said she just hadn't updated the rates yet. There is no way of sending the required deposit besides via PayPal which wasn't a problem for us but might be for others. The remaining balance we paid in cash. We found the property easily thanks to the little signs posted on the main road & continuing down into the village. Without those & gps, we would have surely gotten lost although the village is small & circular. The property is located down the end of a very bumpy rocky drive. This might be difficult to maneuver if you do not have a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Penelope gave us her personal mobile # asking us to let her know when we were approximately an hour away. We phoned & sent a text but never got a response. Luckily when we arrived, she was in the office but was unaware of our attempts to contact her. The cottage (Casa Mica) was lovely and was nearly as authentic as you could get. The beds were comfortable & the wood stove was ready to go & warmed the entire place nicely. The fridge was stocked & she gave us a history of the cottage and offered us a local welcome drink. We all slept soundly while listening to the running water of the creek & woke up to the rooster calls. It was one of the nicest accommodations along our week long tour of Romania & Maramures is indeed the prettiest of locations. The only downside was & maybe in the end this wasn't actually a negative, our running water stopped flowing in the morning. It seems there were leaves clogging up the drains in the village. As soon as Penelope realized this, she jumped in her car & drove to the nearest store to purchase a large container of water for us. It still wasn't running by the time we checked out. I have to admit, I wasn't all that disappointed as the shower needed a good cleaning & I wasn't really looking forward to using it trying to avoid the black mold in the corners. The cottage needs a good scrub of the shower & a good dusting for cobwebs. Although I appreciate charm & authenticity, overall cleanliness & hygiene should not be missed. The food also was a bit hit or miss both in the room (not much) & having dinner in the neighboring town at a restaurant she suggested was nothing special.
This place is alright I guess if you like charming cottages, pastoral settings, and experiencing local tradition. Despite the bountiful array of local liquor, cheeses, eggs, butter, bread, vegetables, milk, honey, and chutney in our personal rustic kitchen there was NO room service to be found. The owner Penelope was very helpful and gracious with lots of information to be had if you're too lazy to use the provided wifi. AND have I mentioned there are currently puppies on the premise?! It's conveniently located within Maramures if you like to see the sights and that sort of thing. The twin room is perfect for avoiding snuggling with your travel companion, provided you're the rude sort that hogs the blanket. Each room in the main house is en suite so no time to chat in queues for the shower :( OH ANOTHER THING if you're looking for rude locals that are unwelcoming I have to say you'll be sorely disappointed. ProTip: avoid the shepherding experience at all costs - this authentic local experience with gorgeous sunset views and delicious food is best skipped. All in all I have to recommend you never stay here, ever, under any circumstances.... Without inviting me first.
We had a lovely time in Breb at the Village Hotel: cosy room, very good breakfast with ingredients from local farmers. You should visit this place, if you want to see the traditional Maramures and have a wonderfull time!