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A mysterious Italian castle by Highway 71 - Sir David Castle


  • Szandtner Veronika

10/09/2014 2.00am

What is the connection between the Sir David Balaton Castle in Balatonszepezd and the Hungarian Rovás script? And why on earth would bikers want to vacation at a castle? Even in their silence, the walls tell many tales.

With its one-hectare park and impressive building, the Sir David Castle Hotel in Balatonszepezd is hidden quite well by the surrounding hundred-year-old trees. So well, in fact, that driving down Highway 71, you could easily miss this establishment, a peculiar sight indeed among the long rows of holiday homes.

If the walls could talk…

The castle was envisaged by ethnographer dr. Gyula Sebestyén, who eventually had it built in 1906. Sebestyén is also credited with decoding the ancient Hungarian writing system called Rovásírás. In 1946 the castle was nationalized, as was customary at the time. Ironically, the building that had once been frequented by gentlemen and refined ladies was used for decades as the holiday resort of mineworkers from Várpalota. The castle was later transferred into private hands and renovated inside and out in the style of the English Renaissance. Seventeen years ago the hotel was purchased by the current owner, an Italian businessman, who decided to name the place after his son. The Italian influence crops up here and there in the interior of the rooms.

Aristocrats on bikes

It is may seem surprising that guests, who come here no doubt in pursuit of hospitality befitting a count, are granted free bicycle use during their stay. A number of walking and bike tours are organized at the castle, but guests are welcome to venture out on their own to explore the Káli Basin on two wheels. One of the weak points of the hotel is that there are no wellness facilities and you won’t find a restaurant here either. However, there is a small pool in the garden, and a gorgeous Balaton panorama from the apartment balconies. In an effort to remedy the restaurant situation, the castle has struck up a partnership with Mákvirág Restaurant in Révfülöp. The interior of the apartments is quite eclectic: we’ve seen stunning Italian antique furniture, while the kitchenettes were decorated in a rather more modern fashion and were dominated by simple pieces.

The hotel has four apartments and six rooms. Each apartment has a distinct style. In the honeymoon suite you’ll find a baldachin draped over the bed, whereas the apartment of Sir David has a more serious design which will most likely appeal more to male guests. Staying in this part of the castle, you almost feel obliged to down a whisky every night.

Looking huge from the outside, the castle is in fact only big enough to accommodate 28 guests, meaning that it is easily booked to full capacity in high season and during festivals. Those intent on staying at this truly special place should definitely book a room in advance. During the main season rooms go for HUF 12,500-22,000 – an absolutely friendly price for castle accommodation for 2-3 people. However, for an apartment with a balcony overlooking the Balaton you’ll have to reach deeper into your pocket. The fashionable apartment of Sir David has the highest price tag, as it costs HUF 45,000 per night for four with breakfast.

Sir David Balaton Castle
 8252 Balatonszepezd, Szepezdfürdő (71. Road, 64. km)

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