The more I live in Mumbai, the more I appreciate escaping its chaos. If you don’t reside in a big, over-populated metro city, it may seem like a head scratcher to you. But to those in Mumbai, it will make sense.
I need to leave in order to recharge, rest and more importantly, reinstate my love for the city that never sleeps. I used to joke that I’d sleep when I was dead because there’s always so much going on. But since I started working for myself, I’m valuing rest and self-care a whole lot more. Moving 100 kmph every single day makes me want to get away as often as I can. That’s probably why my blog is full of weekend getaway ideas and destinations. This time, I headed to Brightland Resort and Spa – Mahabaleshwar.
Mahabaleshwar is closer to Pune than it is to Mumbai, making it a much quicker getaway for the former. I left from Mumbai at around 6 am and stopped for a quick breakfast at McD, Kalamboli (it’s tradition) at around 7:30 am. We got on to NH48 past Lonavala and Khandala when the weather changed from rainy to cold and misty. We cut off the highway and took a right turn towards Wai, and from there it was about an hour to Mahabaleshwar via Panchgini.
One doesn’t really realize how huge Brightland Resort and Spa is from the pictures. It’s only when you check in and walk aalllll the way to your room do you get a glimpse of the 6 acre, 4 star property. Being over 2 decades old, it has a steady flow of new and old guests no matter what season it is.
You can choose from 9 categories of rooms depending on your requirements and while they differ in size and views, they don’t fall short on the warm interiors and luxurious finishes. The Oak Suite for honeymooners features a four poster bed and an outdoor Jacuzzi whereas the Ivy Suite near the pool is ideal for entertaining friends and family with its valley views, 42” TV, dining area and bar. This just scratches the surface of what Brightland offers and you can check out their website for pictures and room tours.
I spent two glorious nights at Brightland Resort and could have stayed a month! My room was one of the Maple suites – 7 luxurious, spacious rooms one besides the other, sharing a semi-common patio outside. All the Maple rooms had their own patio separated by plants, making it ideal for a large group to sit together and chill outside, while having the privacy that a personal room brings.
Waking up to the rooster crowing in a village nearby, drawing the wall-to-wall curtains apart, opening the glass door and letting the cool, misty air gently nudge the sleep out of my eyes was a blissful start to my day. The room is well equipped with tea/coffee making facilities and within minutes, we were out on our patio breathing in the cool air and drinking our steaming cups of tea.
When in the room, I spent most of my time in the massive king-sized bed, trying to work on my laptop and avoid sinking into its soft pillows. Movies were watched on the large screen TV while sitting on the sofa, eating the sandwiches we had called for from room service. I couldn’t help but compare how massive the wardrobe was to even the most luxurious hotels I’ve had the opportunity to stay at. Another smart amenity present in the room (which I amply made use of) was the little heater that we directed at our dripping wet clothes on returning from sightseeing, unfortunately, in the rain. I was so grateful to have my clothes absolutely dry in a matter of 20 minutes and not having to carry damp/wet clothes back home as was the case many, many times before.
I loved the bright bathroom the minute I walked in! Entirely encapsulated behind a wall of glass, one needs to draw the white curtain from end to end to cut off from the bedroom. Not one, but two white sinks were laid in beige marble. On the right was the shower and further, the tub with potted plants to add a touch of greenery and freshness. Needless to say, it was spotlessly clean and well stocked in terms of toiletries and essentials.
What makes me feel spoilt in a hotel is the buffet breakfast. I love seeing options of cornflakes – cornflakes I haven’t eaten since I was probably 8 years old. The range of juices I walk past as I grab my ususal cup of coffee; the jams and cheeses, croissants and muffins! Much can be said about the fabulous breakfast spread, of which, many items changed on my second morning, to my delight! From south Indian staples to an egg-counter, waffles and pancakes (tiny, though) and home made preserves and cheeses, Brightland Resort goes all out for sure! What makes it better is sipping the perfect cup of masala chai as you dine on royal purple chairs, overlooking the view of the sun shining through the mist over the valley below Olive Garden.
Before I visited, I thought of exploring some nearby eateries around the resort, but enjoyed the food so much that the idea didn’t appeal anymore. We ordered a delicious wood fired pizza from one of the restaurants, Olive Garden, in our room the afternoon we checked in and enjoyed it while watching an action movie on our big screen TV!
Pavillon is a multi-cuisine restaurant on the property as well as Angaare, an outdoor BBQ restaurant. A lounge, Over the Edge is perched at the very edge of the resort, giving you a view of the dense forest below as you sit snugly on one of the armchairs.
Prana Spa is one of the highlights of Brightland Resort as it is the oldest and most premium Spa in Mabaleshwar. Open to the public as well as guests, it offers a host of beauty and spa treatments ranging from traditional ayurveda to Oriental and Western Massages. I experienced the spa firsthand with a 40 minute purifying facial to rid myself of all the tan and replenish my skin after a long road trip.
Binita, my masseuse first did an aura cleanse and made me inhale the scent of rose and patchouli oils for energizing and basil and fragrance to rid me of negative energy. Even though I had got the facial just after I woke up at 9 am, after a long nights rest, I was surprised at how the calming music almost sent me into a deep sleep again. One can’t help but notice how luxurious the spa is – the purple satin fabric, soft robes, scented candles and flowers, dry fruits and honey-lemon tea at the end – it all adds to the zen-like vibe.
If you’re short on time, you can stop by for a quick foot or back massage or something more relaxed like a dry herb rub – udvartana – followed by a spell in the steamer. 2 hour long clay wraps, bath experiences, back polishes and a unique massage called Escenza Touch are also performed by skilled professionals. I was intrigued to see a Junior Spa too, where kids between 5 and 16 could indulge. Children aging 5-10 are accompanied by parents, of course.
I’m sure guests who’ve stayed at Brightland will agree with me here – there’s SO much to do in the resort, that you wouldn’t feel the need to step out. A pool with a jacuzzi, 4 restaurants and a spa is just the tip of the iceberg.
Brightland Hotel and Spa also has a health club with separate steam, sauna and showers for men and women, a games room with foosball, carrom, table tennis and board games, a colourful area for toddlers to play in, a kids zone with swings and a merry go round, a library and conference area, a gym, yoga amenities, tennis/volleyball/basketball courts and much more. I was also informed that on some nights, karaoke is organized and treasure hunts for the kids are a much loved activity. While there are innumerable options to keep your family busy on a short holiday, you may find it helpful to know that Brightland Resort is not pet-friendly.
I could literally go on and on about my experience over 2 days at Brightland Resort and Spa, Mahabaleshwar. The staff is ever so prompt, polite and pleasing and the place is seriously worth the drive, from Mumbai, too! I’ll let you in on everything I saw in Mahabaleshwar in my next post.
Hope you’ll come along!