A chance to visit LE MÉRIDIEN MAHABALESHWAR RESORT & SPA was a blessing in disguise. Citadel found the property to be an ideal getaway for those seeking some monsoon magic with a dose of relaxation.
hile struggling to find words to describe the place, the following quote by Alexandra Stoddard came into mind – ‘When you leave a beautiful place, you carry it with you wherever you go.’ It is true that any place with something exceptional always leaves you spellbound. And you feel the need to talk about it to others. Holiday locations, if done well, do have that effect on you. There is a certain connect like no other. The monsoons are a great season to perhaps grab that opportunity to visit a place that looks extra gorgeous at this time.
And we got that opportunity. When we got the chance to just check out Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa, located in the popular hill station, it was a chance like no other. A hill station during monsoons is a sight to behold. The lush greenery paired with pouring rain (like cats and dogs) and a well spread property just bonded with our souls the moment we entered it.
HERE WE GO
A visit on a weekday got chalked out and Wednesday is when we rolled the car out to head towards the scenic hill station. The more we headed towards the destination, the heavier the rains got, and one could see fog playing hide and seek between the mountains and dense forests. The road to the property twisted and turned to create a feeling of being on a roller coaster, but the scenic route was a soothing sight. And we reached the Le Méridien resort property situated not far off from the main Mahabaleshwar market. It is interesting to note that the property has quite a few bigger hotels nearby as competition. But the moment you step foot here, chances are you might not want to step back out. The rains were still making its presence felt quite heavily, but one had to admit it added to the charm. The resort, we are told, is spread over 27 acres of land and gives you a chance to go green as it overlooks the misty and verdant valleys of Mahabaleshwar. We were pleased to notice that the rooms were in villas, which were kept at a distance from each other and can be approached either by walking (if interested) or via the buggies. You will have fun moving around in these cute buggies and they were a saviour in the rains lashing around. But if brave
enough, walk around with the big umbrellas provided by the resort. Either way, you are the winner. They have maintained a hearty balance between nature and luxury. We were told that the 122 stylish rooms are a good blend of nature and luxury, accompanied by modern touches and technology. And we saw it in the rooms and suites provided. They have divided the rooms in five categories – Classic Forest, Classic Valley, Tranquillity Suite, Serenity Suite and Sanctuary Suite. Each one can be booked as per your need. The suite provided turned out to be an excellent choice with a spacious dining and living area with a good bedroom and bathroom. The attached terrace lets you be one with nature. So far so good! PS: be careful of leaving the doors open, as monkeys are known to create havoc. There are maps found all over to guide you to whichever place you want to visit in the property. Plus well-placed sitting areas mean you can relax from the long walks on the well-lit property.
Once the initial excitement died down, we saw that this five star property has been planned well on a Mediterranean theme. You notice this immediately. The 122-room hotel, which we are told is owned by BramhaCorp, have been designed by KTGY Interassociates and P esign and Associates together. This aesthetically designed place showcases typical arches and floor-to-ceiling windows, a warm colour palette, stone elements, and mosaic details that are the features of that region. Nowhere will you find anything kept undone or haphazardly done. Of course, we know they took their time to make sure that the place
has a completed look when it opens. The effect was casual yet posh at the same time. Holiday hotels should be like this, we think. What the resort has done is reinterpreted the traditional lobby as the brand’s signature Le Méridien Hub concept. It has become the communal gathering space for socializing and casual meetings.
THE NEXT STEP
We were hungry and so curious to understand what could be on offer here. Since Mahabaleshwar is a holiday destination, chances are eateries trying to vie for attention are big. You need to up the game. Happiness knew no bounds as we were informed about the options offered here. Latest Recipe is the all-day dining option with multicuisine buffets, while Chingari is your Indian cuisine orth Indian cuisine to be precise) place to visit, open at nights. For drinks, we could head to the in-house bar Longitude 73, and Plunge Bar was where you could snack lightly or refresh yourself at the temperature controlled infinity pool. The Woods is the property’s outdoor restaurant, very much in demand in non-rainy rains for their set menu of grills and barbeques. By the time we reached in the evening and smoothly checked into the rooms, it was time to head for some light snacks and tea at the Plunge Bar. You would probably need some time to register the spacious place and luxurious vibe of your rooms. The moment you step into the terrace, the greenery wows you. Of course, the rooms provide the same emotions. In the words of the hotel, ‘Each guestroom boasts a scenic, private balcony, along with artful, tree-inspired headboards and glass decals.’
The continuous rains did slow things down, but did not dampen the spirits. We headed towards the Plunge Bar, which served a special evening tea package including bhajis, sandwiches and cake with tea of course. Sitting at a table near the French window and seeing the rains outside was an experience, along with the offerings.
The use of the buggies was rampant as the rains kept coming down, but weaving around the property in them left a calming effect thanks to the well-planned area and lush greenery. The hotel is in a densely forested area over 27 acres. They have made it on 100 per cent natural clearing without disturbing the natural harmony. The effect is a green cover that is a blessing if you have come to relax. We noticed it everywhere. At times, the silence can be unnerving but soothing too. At night, the effect of the silence, stormy weather and certain detachment of the rooms from each other make it a perfect setting for a horror film. Visit it once to believe it. Despite the intensely heavy downpour that can keep you bound to the property, there is a lot offered here and just relaxing within the property is a great idea. Explore Spa is where you can take some relaxation options offered. The crisp white decor is probably well thought keeping the relax mode in mind. Plus you can be surrounded with greenery. There are forest trains, yoga sessions, horseback riding, zorbing and in-house recreation centre complete with books and games to keep you entertained. Our two days went into just soaking in the heavy rains along with taking a leisurely walk on the vast property. The
heavy rains have a tendency to play spoilsport here, but the property itself makes you want to stay back. Trying out the vast breakfast at Latest Recipe, chilling out either in the room or trying out the facilities on the property, coming back for lunch at the same place, relaxing again and then returning for dinner at Chingari was the agenda. It could not get more relaxing than this. Of course, we choose to go to the market to absorb the monsoon magic in Mahabaleshwar. Buying the stuff you love there and getting chilled thanks to the weather is something else. Walking in the market area in the rains can be a suggestion from us. We were surprised to see quite a number of families or guests come here to relax. We learnt that the property has become a popular monsoon getaway option thanks to the stuff offered here. Of course, summers are t he season for hill stations. But winters too seem to be catching up. No one has to sell Mahabaleshwar to you, as most are aware of the popular place for holidays. Coming to Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa, it is not exactly a cheap option. Yet, it can be highly recommended due to the offerings provided. They have packages for those interested. The property’s biggest asset can be the lush greenery combined with great facilities. It feels like a holiday spot within itself. Coming here in the monsoon season is a great option, if you do not mind being restricted at times. Of course the hotel provides you with cars to journey around the hill station. All in all, travelling to Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa in the monsoons (or otherwise) would be a called holiday well spent.
Their infinity pool
An open courtyard
A leisure pool on the property
Their restaurant, Chingari
The Plunge Bar
Their Family Kids Club
The Serenity Suite Outdoor Spa
The Explore Spa - another view
The Explore Spa
A fireplace on the property
A Suite Bathroom
A Tranquility Suite Bedroom
The lush outdoors
The Henry Lawns
Latest Recipe - an eating area