RAINY MEM­O­RIES

Citadel - - LEISURE - SA A SA A sapna.citadel gmail.com

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.

THE PLAN­NING

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.

LOOK­ING AROUND

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

Or­chid Park

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

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