Nestled in the Buda hills of Budapest, this lovingly restored nineteenth-century villa is packed with historical detail and snugs aplenty. It can accommodate groups of up to 14 people (7 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms), is family-friendly and serves as a superb setting for weddings, birthdays and other glam events. The fab stained-glass winter garden is ideal for enjoying and/or hosting sumptuous regal dinners.
The Writer’s Villa is one of the oldest properties on the Svábhegy (Swabian hill) and is a heritage listed building full of historical goodies. The house was built in 1881 for Baron József Szterényi de Brasso, the minister of commerce in the Austrian-Hungarian Double Monarchy. (Rumor has it that he had the house built for his mistress: a ballerina.) Szterényi started his career as a journalist and wrote several books. He was a maecenas of the arts and close with the famous Hungarian actresses and writers of his era.
The Baron had an exceptionally large and beautiful Zsolnay fountain installed in the garden. There is only one other copy in Hungary: in the garden of the Zsolnay family in the Zsolnay museum in Pécs. In 1913 the house was enlarged: a winter garden (aka conservatory) was added featuring magnificent glasswork by famed artist Miksa Róth, who also produced similar works for the Hungarian parliament building, the royal palace and the Gresham Palace. In 1930, Baron Szterényi extended the loggia with a terrace.
After Szterényi, the house was owned by the Streliszky family, the photographers to the royal and imperial family of the Hungarian and Transylvanian aristocracy. During communist rule the property was confiscated and the Zsolnay fountain was heavily damaged by Russian soldiers. First, the minister of agriculture lived in the house, and later it was split into five separate apartments. For nearly 60 years the house was neglected.
Ten years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the house was bought and fully renovated by Dutch writer Jaap Scholten and his Hungarian wife Ilonka Jankovich de Jeszenice. The couple restored the house to its original glory and added the pool, handmade wallpapers and wall-painting in the Petofi Parlour. The wall-painting was inspired by an 18th century fan depicting Mount Vesuvius, which is on display in the glass cabinet mounted above the sofa. The garden design was done in 2003 by Dutch landscape architect baroness Marguerite Voërst van Lynden. In 2006, the property was officially declared a local monument. The Scholten family lived in the house from 2004 through early 2016, and were popular for hosting many cultural evenings, dinners and parties during their tenure.