The ZEN Entrepreneur: Across seas and countries, then back home in Cluj

I met Tudor Variu during one of my business trips in Cluj. I stayed in one of the apartments he operates for a few days and this is how I discovered his story. I was impressed by his modesty, his authentic desire to help and innate hospitality, which I learned was enhanced by a complex experience in the field. Let’s meet him and let his story inspire us.

1. What made you start this business? How long have you been doing this?

It all started with my desire to come back to Romania after 6 years’ work in hospitality. I started as an intern during college in a 4-star hotel in Cyprus and after that I took part in a Work & Travel program in the US.

The experience and knowledge I got there helped me become a concierge at Burj Al Arab in Dubai, one of the most prestigious and luxurious hotels in the world. This created a lot of work opportunities, so I chose to work on cruise ships because I wanted to visit new countries.

When I returned to Romania in 2017, I bought 2 apartments in Cluj. I decorated them in a modern, minimal style with neutral, earth colors for a balanced, zen design.

2. What do the ZEN Apartments mean to you? What was the intention that made you create this experience?

I wanted to create a cosy, relaxing, home experience where people come to rest, balance and reconnect with themselves. I also created this concept to make people feel naturally welcome when they visit us.

As I enjoy meeting people from across the country and the world, I want to offer a premium experience every time.

3. How many apartments do you operate? 

I operate 6 apartments, all located in Viva City near Iulius Mall. I dream about having more apartments but I have patience to grow slowly and sustainably. I strongly believe that if you invest passion and time in what you do, you will succeed – especially since Cluj is a very dynamic city.

4. How do you spend your free time? What are your hobbies?

 always liked to make the most of my spare time. When I am not managing the business, I work at maintaining and improving the standards of Viva City Complex, where I manage the owners’ association.

When I leave the professional things aside, I enjoy dancing and attending the courses and parties at Sonrisa club. I love music since childhood, when I studied and played the piano. Now I prefer electronic music and regularly go at events and festivals in Cluj. To keep myself in shape I find some time to go to the gym.

5. What are your favourite places in Cluj? 

The Central Park and Iulius Park in Cluj are two of the locations I strongly recommend for an urban recharge. I would also add the Citadel and Feleac Hills which offer a special view over the city.

6. What are your long term plans?

I really want to contribute to promoting the tourism in our country and convince as many Romanians to return to their country. I really feel that Romania has evolved and needs its people to come back and contribute to its development, together with their families and friends.