While exploring the Buda Hills, we always encounter gorgeous houses and gardens that are stunningly beautiful, often hiding behind wrought-iron fences and tall shrubs – but one incredible mansion now stands out especially brightly on Széchenyi Hill. Hungary’s Baron József Szterényi originally had the four-story villa built in 1881, before enhancing it in the same year with an incredibly elaborate fountain made with Zsolnay tile, and adding a winter garden decorated with stained-glass windows by Miksa Róth in 1913. Today, the building functions as exclusive lodgings and an event venue for rent.
The panoramic parkland of Normafa and the Children’s Railway are popular attractions for anyone to visit on Buda’s Széchenyi Hill. Unfortunately, no matter how interesting DistrictXII may be, we cannot explore the incredible mansions that are liberally scattered in this posh neighborhood – either the dilapidated nor beautifully maintained buildings of the area – unless we have a resident acquaintance to get us in. However, The Writer’s Villa, located on Művész Avenue in the Svábhegy area, is different. The sumptuous building and its wooded garden were built in 1881, and it has recently served as home for celebrated Dutch writer Jaap Scholten for many years – but since spring of 2016, it became a member of the Brody House Group as an exclusive villa/event venue for rent. Thus the name The Writer’s Villa comes from Scholten, who creates to this very day, in a similarly inspiring environment.The whole villa bears the usual characteristics of
Brody: following the principle of upcycling, the group breathed new life into forgotten objects that had lost their function. The tastefully furnished villa is around 500 square meters, and can accommodate 13 adults and numerous children in its six bedrooms with five bathrooms. Its garden was renovated by Dutch garden designer Margaretha Voërst van Lynden in 2002, who planted some boxwood and roses in addition to the chestnut, pine, and yew trees. The villa also has an extremely elegant loggia and terrace, as well as a swimming pool and hot tub, not to mention the aforementioned Zsolnay fountain, which is positioned right between two ancient trees, the sight of which fills the observer with a very otherworldly feeling – as if we were actually living as characters of a novel.The winter garden, decorated by the colorful windows of the masterful Magyar stained-glass artist Miksa Róth, functions as an elegant dining room – we cannot think of a more stylish dinner venue. When we were there, the sun shone through the glass to cast their colorful patterns on the marble flooring from Transylvania. Naturally, the winter garden also reached its current state in 2002 after four years of renovation. We can also look at the works of Róth next to the staircase leading to the first floor. Our favorite element became the the turquoise sofa in the living room.The six bedrooms each have completely unique interior design: while the first floor is dominated by more classic colors and lines, the attic has the focus on the color white and wooden surfaces, similar to youthful oceanfront houses in the US. On the floor of the garden, where we can also find a steam room and the swimming pool just outside, there’s another living area, furnished in a very homey, eclectic style – and almost every chamber is made modern with hip prints provided by the Brody ArtYard.The exclusivity of The Writer’s Villa is such that we cannot book it on large websites, only directly through their own; we can also learn about hosting events, get-togethers, or even weddings on this platform. It is no coincidence that the Evening Standard selected The Writer’s Villa as one of the most exciting places to stay in 2016; its atmosphere, casual elegance, beautiful garden, and history are all winning factors of the villa on Svábhegy – even through photos.