“ Address: Worpławki / 11-440 Reszel / Polen „
~~~How did I find out about Dwor Barocco?~~~
My son must have come across their website when he was surfing the web looking for accommodation a month ago. He wanted to take the children and his Mum and Dad to the Mazury region of Poland for a weekend. He contacted the owner by phone and reserved an apartment. He told the chap that we would arrive from Warsaw around 9pm. When he told me that he had booked an apartment I thought he meant a flat in a block, like we live on. I was in for a big surprise!
~~~What and where is Dwor Barocco?~~~
Dwor pronounced D-vor, Barocco because there is a little squiggle over the o turning it into a u sound, is a large house named after the manor estate that existed here 200 years ago. It is situated in a small village, like a French hamlet called Worplawki in Warmia and Masuria which is in Ketrzyn County. Basically, it is out in the sticks, two kilometres from the historical town of Reszel and very near to Swieta Lipka, a famous Baroque church and convent that has attracted pilgrims since the Middle Ages.
The area is peaceful, you can smell the scent from flowers in the meadow, hear cockerels crowing, storks flapping their huge white wings, birds twittering and fish making that plopping sound as they come up to the surface of the water in the river. It's like stepping back into a lost world.
Driving down the dusty track was a tricky one as my son's car has low ground clearance and with the number of pot holes he had to contend with we were worried the exhaust might snap off. Eventually we arrived at a huge gate and I could just see the top of the house, I was excited by this time. The gate was closed. We weren't sure where to go so we turned left down a farm track where there was a dog yapping to ward off strangers. From a small side door, a man appeared, he was the owner. He shook hands with my son and told us to drive to the large electronic gate and he would let us in. Once through the gate I was surprised at the house and surrounding gardens. Everything looked so perfect. The garden was impeccable with flowers, small trees, statues, wooden chalets, hanging baskets and a clipped lawn.
Once we had lifted the children out of the car, the owner and his wife greeted us and asked if we spoke Polish or English. The lady could speak a little English, the man understood English but I think couldn't speak it. Still, it didn't matter we managed to understand each other, my son did most of the talking as his Poilsh is very good now and speaks quite well. The owners were both friendly and took us to the house to look at the apartment.
~~~The Manor House and Rooms~~~
Opening the big door and stepping into the hallway, I had a strange sensation as if I had been here before but I think it was only my imagination. There was something about the atmosphere, I knew I was going to love staying here. Walking up the stairs clutching on to the old rail I couldn't help notice all the black and white and sepia portraits hanging on the wall. I wanted to know if they were members of the family or paintings that the owners had picked up from art sales. At the top of the stairs we were shown 2 very large rooms, beautifully decorated with pine furniture, lots of original art work, interesting ornaments dotted everywhere, everything you would expect in a very old house. I think my son thought that the accommodation would be one apartment to fit 3 adults and two children with a small kitchen and en-suite bathroom. Instead we had two wonderfully decorated rooms with a lounge area in the centre where there was a chaise longue, two armchairs, standard lamp with crystal light bulbs drooping down like fuschia flowers and beautiful antiques including an old sewing machine, doll's pram with a very old doll that looked freaky. My granddaughter was a bit scared of the doll at first but she soon got used to it and I could see her little mind wandering, she wanted to know who the doll belonged to and kept asking me did the lady have any children.
My husband and I took the first room which had a gabled window overlooking apple trees and old farm buildings. I could see the stork's nest from here too, perched on a telegraph pole. My granddaughter decided she wanted to stay with us in this room too. This was fine because there was a Chintz sofa and armchair in the room as well as a double bed, beautifully covered in a satin patchwork quilt in colours of gold, orange and brown. I loved the wardrobe which was decorated on the doors with hand painted folk scenes, the rest of the furniture including a chest of drawers, a bureau and two bedside units were made from heavy, old pine and were in immaculate condition. There was also a celestial armchair with matching stool, my son liked to sit on here and pretend he was king of the castle or in this case, manor house. A woven tapestry hung behind the bed head and the walls were covered with original art work that the owners must have collected over the years. The en-suite bathroom had only a shower which was fine, all the taps and fittings were expensive and of a high quality, like they had been imported from Germany. The mirror, wash basin and tiled floor shone. The whole room and bathroom were immaculately clean and well looked after, I was very impressed. In fact, everything was so perfect I was a bit scared of touching anything in case I marked the furniture. I knew I would have to keep my eyes on young Alex, I didn't want him breaking the porcelain vases.
My son's room was similar in style with pine furniture, again, lots of paintings and knick knacks. He had a separate bathroom which looked on to the garden. This was an elegant room with a free standing bath, brick walls and wooden beams. There was a small, well presented kitchen with cupboards, cooker, fridge and sink. We used the fridge and sink but had no need for the cooker on this occasion.
The rooms were fabulous and we were all happy about our accommodation which was very individual if a bit eccentric. I have never seen so many objects and paintings in such a house. The owners use the term Baroque but in this case the word is used as an adjective to describe the furnishings and fittings; extravagant, complex, or bizarre and not to describe the style in art and architecture developed in Europe from the early 17th to mid-18th century.
The large garden has a lawn, lots of flowering plants and small trees. The garden is fenced so there is no need to worry about children running off and escaping. There are many cats wandering around, they belong to the owners and are tame, well fed and friendly. There is also a rabbit but we didn't see him as he had gone hop about, his hutch door was open. The garden has swings, a hammock which my grandchildren loved, and slides, outside swimming pool, gazebos and benches. It also incorporates a gym and fitness room which is housed in a wooden cabin near to where you park the car and also in another cabin there is a mini spa based on the Russian banya with a sauna and a hot tub. We didn't find out about the spa until we were leaving, we assumed it was a chalet to rent to guests. My husband did look at the gym and said it was well equipped.
~~~Breakfast time/summer kitchen~~~
The highlight for me was eating breakfast in the summer kitchen, a lovely house made from wood and brick and painted green. I love summer kitchens and in this part of Poland they are traditional. Guests can use the kitchen to cook food in at any time or they can eat meals prepared and cooked by the owners. It is well equipped with hi-tech cooker, wooden stove for heating, plates, pans, cutlery, and fridge, everything you need from a kitchen. You were allowed to help yourself to a beer from the fridge or any of the drinks that were available free of charge.
Inside the décor is so pretty with flowery curtains, pine tables and chairs, a dresser filled with crockery, plants and flowers. It has an old world feel to it and is delightful to sit and eat in while listening to one of the local radio stations churning out Blues riffs. The morning we ate in the summer kitchen the owner had put on an enormous spread of food including cereal, platters of cold meats, sausages for the grown ups and frankfurters for the kids, various cheeses, and bowls of cottage cheese, basket of fresh brown and white bread, jams and honey, yoghurts and fruit. Coffee was fresh off the stove with fresh juices for the children and a pot of tea for my husband. The display looked wonderful on a clean, linen tablecloth. There was no rush, we could take as long as we liked and we did.
We stayed two nights in the manor house and enjoyed every minute. It was great to be in such a peaceful environment where you are awoken by birdsong and a cockerel crowing. Living in a busy city like Warsaw, as I do, these simple sounds are a joy to my ears, much better than cars screeching, buses rasping as they let the air out of their brakes and trams honking as some daft motorist tries to crash into the tram. It was heaven.
I'm not really sure how much we paid as my son paid the bill but I think it was something like 420 zloty(£83) plus 45zloty (£9) for breakfast. Breakfast is 15zloty (£3) per person, we didn't pay for the children as they don't each a lot but on the 2012 price list that comes with the brochure it states that kids up to 10 years pay 7 zloty (£1.40). All 2013 prices are on the website, I will post the link at the bottom of the page. Oh, before I forget, if you like a game of billiards or snooker there is a gentleman's room which is included in the price of the stay as is the use of the gym.
I recommend the Dwor Barocco whole heartedly. It's a terrific house in a beautiful situation with owners who care about their property, garden and guests. The only concern I have is that parents with young children might be neurotic about all the lovely treasures in the house and not be able to rest for worrying about little Johnny pulling a cloth off and breaking ornaments even if he didn't mean to. It's also a bit off the beaten track, so I think a car is necessary although there is a bus from Reszel that stops on the main road at the top of the dirt track.
My advice is, if you are planning a trip to this area of Poland get in touch with the owners of Dwor Barocco as they are very accommodating and offer all sorts of discounts for longer stays. You will love the house and garden.
Address: Dwor Barocco
Tel: 602 331 457
Currency rate - 28/06/2013 1 PLN = 0.197862 GBP 1 GBP = 5.05404 PLN