Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored/paid review. Visit to this property was purely personal.
I’ve been on a few holidays recently and mostly appreciated the lovely hotels I’ve stayed at. In fact, hotels serve an important tool for comfort and rest during a holiday. Me and M (my better half) have always been those kind of travellers who would get off the hotel post breakfast each day and come back only for showers and a good night’s sleep. While we were young travellers, a hotel was never meant for poolside reading or leisurely afternoons watching random foreign channels on television. We treated hotels as merely a shelter with a good washroom and an air conditioner. This time, a resort treated us well and I felt the need to start sharing my views of both luxury and budget hotels. The first one goes on to be Mystica Resort in Khandala, Maharashtra. The long weekend of Independence Day called for a mini holiday to Lonavala/Khandala, where we hadn’t been yet. So, we packed a mini bag and started off our journey from Pune to Lonavala.
The distance from Pune to Lonavala is 50 km and from Mumbai it’s around 100 km. If you’re visiting Lonavala/Khandala from any other city, you can hop off to Pune/Mumbai and use the easiest route via Yashvantrao Chavan Expressway. There are petrol pumps, washrooms and food courts on the expressway around 1 km before the Lonavala exit. Once you take the exit, you will enter the sleepy little hilly twin township of Lonavala and Khandala. The main town/bazaar road is around 3 km from the expressway and you have to turn left and traverse a narrow road for 1 km to Mystica Resort. The road leading from Lonavala town to the resort is narrow but not damaged.
Address: Survey No 133/134, Old Khandala Road | Nagpal Society, Opp Tata Prive, Khandala, Lonavala – 410401, Maharashtra, India
Ambience & Staff
We had booked a room for 2 nights 3 days through a holiday membership. It wasn’t a direct booking and we had paid a discounted price. However, due to a mismanagement from our membership’s end, we had an issue regarding the room that was allotted to us in the annex building. The hotel staff were pretty courteous despite having all their rooms filled for the long weekend. After haggling for an hour, we were provided a decent room in the main building owing to a cancellation from another guest. The reception staff is young and friendly, as well as the floor manager and porters. The lobby and reception has an old world charm with wooden panels and a huge print of Jesus Christ along with Ganesha, Sai Baba and others. The entrance to the main building has a huge Ganesha statue and lot of greenery and terracota Ganesha mounted on the pillars. The walls inside are adorned with paintings and miniature prints. Let me elaborate on the decor and theme in the next section though.
What struck us immediately about this resort is its decor. The theme is Kerala all around and after inquiry, the hotel staff gladly spilled the beans. The owner of Mystica Resort is from Kerala and he has recreated the ambience carefully and tastefully. The main doors have enormous and shiny brass locks that look so elegant and traditional. The manager even mentioned that many guests order them to fetch these from Kerala!
I loved the antique looking round wall clocks in the lobby, and there’s Ganesha at every corner, in the form and shape of wall lamps, decorations and statues. There’s a huge brass flower and lamp holder in the main lobby that totally represents Kerala. It is decorated with fresh flowers every day and looks way pretty. I think the decor shapes up the main attraction of the resort.
If there’s any attribute that can compete with the decor of Mystica Resort, it is the outdoors. The resort is based on a vast expanse of land and water. There’s an artificially created swimming pool and a natural lake within the campus. I’ve never a natural lake inside a hotel. It is bordered beautifully with stone pavement and has a wooden bridge till midway.
There’s a Kerala style houseboat on the lake, anchored to the shore. We were told that it houses a restaurant called Nauka, which was probably shut down during rains. The other side of the lake has a gorgeous and huge lawn that looked mowed and well maintained. A wedding island adorns the centre of the lawn where you can sit idly and just watch the mountains. We were soaked in rain while exploring the entire campus, and trust me, it is simply astounding!
We loved the swimming pool too. It was quite well maintained, though the tiles were a little slippery due to incessant rains. The pool has a canopy of trees all around that make it look resplendent.
Food & Beverage
I’m not sure if the hotel has free breakfast amenities with direct bookings, but ours didn’t include breakfast. There’s a little nondescript restaurant beside the hotel lobby. They make quite a good Masala Chai, served by a smiling waiter. We tried breakfast on both mornings of our stay. The menu looks a tad expensive with odd prices like Rs 49 for a coffee (excluding taxes). But I’d say we liked the Medu Vada and Sambhar plate more than the Idlis. The vadas were nicely fried and crisp while soft on the inside. Sambhar was a tad sweet though. However the Idlis were disappointing, not too soft and little chewy. The coffee was average but I loved the Masala Chai. We didn’t opt for lunch or dinner on either days, though the other boarders seemed to enjoy the food.
Restaurant | Swimming Pool | Room Service | Electric Kettle | Television | Air Conditioner | Free Parking | Laundry Service | Banquet Hall
Per room per night : 6, 500 INR (for direct bookings) and 6, 021 INR on Tripadvisor (for 7th September, 2016)
The verdict is quite positive and we’d love to go back the resort for a better experience. It’s a wonderful retreat amidst nature and the mountains. The weather is best in the monsoons and it’s more than worth a visit during the season. There are scopes for improvement, but the resort is one of the better ones in Khandala.
Though this review is from a personal holiday experience, me and M would love to do sponsored property reviews in and around Pune/Mumbai. Do shoot a mail here to contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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