An aristocrat native to Somogy but born in Switzerland decided, together with his wife who also happens to be of noble descent, to move to the family’s ancient estate south of Lake Balaton after the change of regime in Hungary. The old barn was mainly inhabited by bats when they turned it into a guesthouse – today it houses those who wish to enjoy the rural romance in comfort.
József Hunyady (just like his wife, Katalin Almásy) was born abroad, and twenty years ago he wasn’t even on speaking terms with the Hungarian language. However, his roots connecting him to Somogy County run deeper that most natives’: the Hunyady counts have been producing wine in Kéthely since the 1700s, and there was a time when Count József Hunyady (1863-1942) was the largest vineyard owner of South Balaton.
It’s no wonder that the count was drawn to the area giving home to the old family estate, so after the change of regime he started to fight to get back at least a portion of the lands that were confiscated from them. He succeeded, and has been taking care of his vineyard with great admiration ever since – he proudly let guests taste the Pinot noir, Blaufränkisch, and Gewürztraminer wines he makes.
And they have plenty of guests as they remodeled a three-story barn that was built in the 1900s – now it’s a tasteful and spacious accommodation. Even a group of 10 people can stay here comfortably. The location is great, for a quiet, relaxing time or a hunting weekend as well (especially since the house is on good hunting grounds). One room costs about 30,000 forints while the entire barn with its 270 square-meters costs 90,000 forints for a night, including breakfast.
Which, by the way, is vegetarian because, as Katalin says, “the meat consumption of the world is too high”. She really cares about the planet’s well being so she tries to lead a chemical-free household, so, for example, the soap here is made from ash. They also cultivate their vineyards without using any chemicals.
Although Katalin relocated from Belgium and József came here from Italy, they didn’t want to build a rustic Belgian or a Tuscan guesthouse – they say that one should be proud of the Hungarian architectural traditions. Fortunately they don’t mean that in a corny way; instead they believe in keeping what’s nice and original: they left the original casements and beams for example, and coordinated the furniture with these.
This relaxing, rustic environment is whole with the animals roaming around the garden, the backyard vegetables, fruits, and the scent of freshly baked bread (they make the breakfast from these, by the way) – all of this gives a taste of rural life to those who still don't want to give up their comfort. Think about it: it would be pretty weird if we would feel uncomfortable at the home of a noble family.
Translated by Emma Póli