Poiana Brasov – A Mountain Escape to the Splendid Teleferic Grand Hotel
Poiana Brasov is located in the splendor of the Carpathian Mountains, high above the popular Transylvanian city of Brasov. This small mountain village is where Romanians from big cities like Bucharest love to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, for some rest and relaxation.
I was in Bucharest with my girlfriend, fellow travel blogger Mihaela Popa (Miha) from World Travel Bug, during the winter hoping to see the city blanketed in snow, but the snow never came. Weeks went by and all we saw were a few scarce flakes one day.
Coming from the sunny desert of Arizona, I have to make an effort to see snow during the winter months. Unable to get my snow fix in Bucharest, Miha suggested we go to Poiana Brasov, which is just outside the city of Brașov, but high up in the mountains. We had been to Brașov several months earlier during our epic Romania road trip, so I was familiar with this part of Transylvania. This time we switched the car for a train as I wanted to experience the Romanian railway.
We decided to go for first class, but as soon as we boarded our car, it was quickly apparent that it was really dated, reminiscent of a past era where luxury was more modest—indicative of something from the 1960s, not the 21st century. There were no trays for a laptop, or even a cup holder for our coffee. And, there was no food service provided for the nearly 3-hour ride.
Regardless, we enjoyed our journey through the rural parts of the country en route to the Brașov train station. Excitement began to brew after staring out the window and noticing that we were following a river that had a dusting of snow on its banks. When we arrived, we took an Uber to our hotel in Poiana Brașov.
Transportation to Poiana Brasov
- Train ride one way is about 25lei (second class) or $6 for each person. Our train took about 2:40 minutes; however others can take as little as 2:20, or, up to 3:40 hours. So be mindful to which train you book.
- Uber ride from the Brasov train station to Poiana Brasov is about 25 minutes with no traffic, and will run about 50-60 Lei or $12-$15. Going back to Brasov however, will cost more as there are rarely drivers in Poiana Brasov hanging around. You will likely have to wait 30-45 minutes for a taxi or Uber to arrive, so keep that in mind. The fare will likely be between 80-100lei ($20-$25).
For the next three nights we stayed at the highest rated hotel in all of Romania, the Teleferic Grand Hotel. This is a property with a wonderful story.
Do you have fond memories of a family vacation or tradition? As you age, do you reminisce or look back at those enjoyable times with a sense of longing? Well, this is exactly what happened to the owner of the The Teleferic (which means gondola in English). When he was a young boy he and his family used to stay at this very hotel every year. Fast forward a couple of decades and the hotel had been abandoned and was being consumed by the harshness of time.
This young boy grew into a successful businessman and was devastated to see what had happened to the place in which he had so many cherished memories. Like most of us, there was a yearning for the past in this benevolent businessman, so he acquired the property, fixed it up and re-opened the Teleferic to all her glory in 2012, restoring those nostalgic memories.
Today, the Teleferic Grand Hotel is a splendid 4-star property with a mission to continue being the best-rated hotel in Romania. This arduous burden is on the shoulders of Dragos Frățilă, the General Manager, who continues to strive for perfection. One of his biggest challenges is to hire and retain top-notch employees. In this effort, you will see many Filipinos working at the hotel, which is actually a strange sight as there are not many foreigners living in rural Romania. I asked Mr. Frățilă about this and he told me that Filipinos are really good at customer service. As someone who has traveled to the Philippines, I can concur. For international travelers like me, this is great because their English is better than my Romanian.
The Teleferic is nestled among the forest, with a view from the backside of a steep ski slope serviced by three gondolas. There are several accommodation levels to choose from, but each have a balcony to take in the natural beauty on display.
The Teleferic blends perfectly into the environment with its rustic-chic décor. The entire hotel uses a variety of local woods for its beams, floors and even some of the walls. Solid oak and walnut for the floors and tables. Reclaimed pine for the some of the walls and ceiling areas. And, beautiful birch for the doors. The profusion of wood is accented with glass pane, and other solid materials making it feel like a lavish lodge.
Poiana Brașov is a very small mountain village made up primarily of hotels and resorts catering to guests coming to enjoy the winter and summer mountain activities. There is a very small “downtown” area with a market, coffee shop and a few restaurants. Most of your time will be spent at your respective hotel, or playing on the mountains nearby.
During our visit we took one of the gondolas to the top of Piatra Craiului, just one of four nearby mountain peaks, the tallest being Bucegi, which is 2505 meters (or 8218 feet). The weather was perfect, hardly a cloud in the sky. Neither of us was prepared for skiing, so we went for a bit of a stroll to an observation point to take in the stupendous views. We then watched a slew of paragliders take off near the lodge and soar through the sky like graceful birds.
Soon after, we migrated to the lodge, which looked to be newly constructed or renovated. We got a cup of coffee and a gluhwein (traditional warm wine) and enjoyed the scenery for a while. Eventually, we made our way to the gondola to take us back down the mountain, which is located just steps from the Teleferic.
We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the spa facilities of our hotel: an indoor pool, two outdoor hot tubs, three types of saunas ( dry, wet and infrared) followed by a lovely dinner at the hotel restaurant.
The next morning the sun billowed through a crack in the curtains indicating dawn had arrived. While I had a cup of coffee, Miha poured a leftover glass of Prosecco, we then sat on the terrace and watched the buzz of activities begin to bellow. The cool mountain air and the fresh scent of pine wafted through the air. It was a glorious morning.
The breakfast buffet greeted us with more options than our stomachs had room for—it was a cornucopia, with options that included cured meats and cheeses, various bread and pastry options, fresh fruit and an omelet station.
Speaking of food, while there are a few restaurant choices nearby, don’t miss dinning at 4 Seasons, the restaurant within the Teleferic. The menu has a nice selection of traditional Romanian dishes as well as International cuisine.
Our next day consisted solely of rest and relaxation. After a leisurely morning, we headed to the spa for facial and massage treatments. Afterwords we took advantage of the saunas, the pool and the outdoor hot tubs.
I should mention, this is a kid-friendly hotel with many amenities catering just to them, such as a game room, playground, kindergarten, and a ski school in the winter.
A term I was unfamiliar with is Après-ski (a big thing in Europe), which essentially means social drinking with other skiers after a long day on the slopes. The Teleferic has created an amazing outdoor bar for Après-ski that welcomes people off the slopes for a pre-dinner cocktail and some lively music.
If you are interested in planning a trip to Poiana Brasov, I recommend visiting during the week, as Friday-Sun is usually extremely busy and it takes much longer to get up the mountain due to traffic congestion. Additionally, prices are more affordable.
If you have any questions about Poiana Brasov, or staying at the Teleferic Grand Hotel, please leave a comment below. Click here to see more photos from Poiano Brasov and the Teleferic Grand Hotel.
Until next time, we’ll see ya on the road…
Teleferic Grand Hotel in Contact Information:
- Address: 243 Poiana Soarelui Street – Poiana Brașov, Brașov, 500001
- Phone: +4 0368 100 200
- Email: Rezervari@TelefericGrandHotel.ro
- Website: Teleferic Grand Hotel
- Rates: $110 to $210 per night depending on dates and accommodation level