I love Maharashtra in the rains. From the dull dusty brown to the luscious sparkling green, the transformation is so spectacular, it just never ceases to amaze me! Come monsoons and everyone can be seen up and running on the roads, off to some scenic destination to enjoy nature at its best! One of my personal favorites when it comes to enjoying monsoons, is Mahabaleshwar. This place, and the view enroute, is absolutely breathtaking in the rains. I love the greenery on both sides as you wind up the mountain, the wind in your hair, little stalls of bhutta on the sides of the road, and the best part, struggling to eat it while the rain lashes down on you! The evenings are misty and make you feel dreamy, like you are floating through the clouds..Ahh!La Dolce Vita! I have been to Mahabaleshwar atleast 5 times in the past 9 years, either in the monsoon, or in the winter, and I never tire of it!
This time, we decided to stay in Ramsukh Resorts & Spa. It had been a recommendation by a family friend who loves to travel and we decided to trust his experience. A last minute reservation resulted in very few options to choose from, room wise, but we were happy nonetheless. The first issue we faced however was finding the place. There is in fact a complete lack of advertisements. We concluded that either no one wanted to go to this place or that it was always so booked, it didn’t need to advertise!! GPS sent us round and round and finally about 5 KMs away, we found a small arrow. With a lot of apprehension we set off, and, lo and behold, we found it tucked away on the very top of the mountain with a spectacular view of the valley! As you enter, you can see the red bricked cottage style reception and the narrow winding paths and a warm feeling of coziness washes over you!
As we were taken to our rooms however, we faced our second disappointment. The look & feel of the rooms were in complete contrast to the architecture at the reception. Suddenly we were facing blueish service apartment-style blocks. There were no lifts anywhere and our room was on the 2nd floor. So if you go there with elderly people do book rooms specifically on the ground floor. We had booked a suite to accommodate 2 couples. It had a small drawing room, 1 master room, 1 converted room with glass doors and no fan, 1 bathroom and 1 balcony. The rooms were again, pretty average. The furnishing was sparse. There are no ACs, which is fine if you go in the rains or winter, if not, it could be a struggle. They do provide coolers, but I wasn’t too sure how long ago it had been cleaned and I wasn’t going to try. The bathroom though was very well maintained. And the best part, the view from the balcony was simply mind blowing. That was enough to cheer us up. We had afterall booked at the last minute, so we didn’t want to complain. I would suggest, you book well in advance and get details of all the rooms available. They also have some luxury and private cottages available, completely hidden in the folds of nature that you could try if it fits your budget.
Mind you, that was the end of all things bad. Here onwards, we had an AMAZING time at this place. The climate was gorgeous and we could see the clouds moving into our rooms through the balcony and swirling about the furniture! The landscape outside the rooms was simply beautiful! There was greenery all around with occasional splashes of colours from the flowers. The view of the valley was heavenly with the mountains and lake clearly visible. Being literally on the highest resort of Mahabaleshwar was a different experience! There were cozy little corners everywhere enticing you to just drop down and relax. A swing here, a little table & chair there, lots of pics for pics for sure! There is a pool right next to the dining area and in the evenings the lights make the water dance as you have a cozy dinner. The pool is very well maintained, with good arrangements for showers and changing.
The food too is quite decent, although a tad on the oilier side. Breakfast and dinner are buffets and the spread was impressive. Lunch is Thali and definitely the best food of the day. Do note that the place is completely vegetarian. Separate Jain meals are also available at all meals. Evening tea with minimal snacks are also provided. Room service is available too but with limited options. The ambience of the dining space is quite nice especially because of its location right next to the pool.
As for the activities to keep you busy, they are definitely the BEST part of this resort! There is a KARE spa for ayurvedic and regular spa treatments. We tried it and were thoroughly rejuvenated. We left after giving them lots of compliments for their wonderful work. There’s a game room with carrom, foozeball, TT & snooker. There’s a paid Jacuzzi too that you can rent out for 45 mins. Being a long weekend when we went, there were a lot of events planned. There was a movie, juggler shows, but we missed both. What we didn’t miss, oh thank God, was the musical night. They had called in performers and the lead singer was simply amazing. From Kishore Da’s melodies to AR Rehman’s beats, he sang it all, and with what perfection. We couldn’t stop ourselves from dancing to his rhythm! It was definitely the BEST part of my stay! There was a small disc as well and we had fun dancing. Apparently they also have late night safari and star gazing but that’s closed during the rains, so we missed them. Do check with them beforehand and book your appointments so you don’t miss out on any of the wonderful arrangements these guys make for you!
All in all, we had a GREAT time and I would definitely not mind going back there again!
My ratings would be:
Accomodation : 2.5 (definitely more utility than luxury)
Décor : 4 for outside and 2 for inside 😉
Food : 3 (Pure Vegetarian)
Activities : 4.5 (Had Funn!!)
Pocket Friendly? 2.5. It was definitely a little on the expensive end especially as the rooms themselves were a little disappointing. We paid around 14k per couple for 2 nights for a Forest Delux Valley View room in A building, inclusive of taxes & 3 meals a day, but exclusive of spa & Jacuzzi.