Who knew that a weekend at Casa De La Luna was exactly what I needed after an extremely tiring few weeks. I snuck away to this picturesque little haven and was swept off my feet with the impeccable hospitality of the staff and the simple comforts of the room.

casa de la luna pool

I sat on the patio outside my room in the mornings with a cup of coffee, catching up on work as the sun blazed overhead, occasionally changing its mind and bursting into drizzle after every few hours. And as the sun would disappear, I’d slip into the pool for a swim until dinner time, floating on my back and admiring the moon, after which Casa De La Luna is named.

jade that goan girl

THE RESORT

Casa De La Luna is a resort-cum-homestay in Alibaug, around 10-15 minutes away from Mandwa Jetty. On entering a tiny lane that opens out into a larger mango and coconut orchard you’ll find yourself on a driveway leading up to a footbridge built over a flowing stream. Step off on the other side of the bridge, and the aura of calmness is apparent right away.

entry to casa de la luna

Manicured lawns, an abundance of flowering shrubs and palm trees are a welcome sight as you enter the property. On both the days that I stayed here, I walked in these gardens, clicking pictures of spotted butterflies and listening to the loud sounds of bird chirping.

The lobby of the resort looks more like the hall in a personal residence. It had sofas facing the TV, a dining table and a door that leads to the kitchen. Walking past the dining table leads you to the other side of the property that houses the rooms, two on the left, two on the right, and one upstairs, all facing an azure blue pool! I had a look at a couple of the rooms on Day 2 of my visit and while all of them were lovely, I liked my room the most – the first one on the right! Design-wise it was the prettiest and it had the sit-out area right outside the door.

casa de la luna garden

THE ROOM

Minimally done, yet tasteful! My air-conditioned room was super spacious and didn’t have any unnecessary items and knick-knacks cluttering the space.

casa de la luna bedroom

casa de la luna room

A simple, comfy double bed in the centre, flanked by two mini bed-stands and a wooden rack on which to keep your bag/suitcase was all the room contained. That, and an impressive painting hung over the bed to lend the room some colour!

that goan girl casa de la luna

A small room in between the bedroom and bathroom held two intricate pieces of wooden furniture, a cupboard and a dresser which acted as a changing room of sorts. What I found interesting (and smart designing, too, actually) was that the bedroom and changing room had a glass window that faced your own personal patch of greenery. You wouldn’t want to, or need to step out into it – it’s too small for that, but it added the lovely freshness and warmth that live plants do, without having actual plants in the room.

casa de la luna dressing room

The bathroom was another interesting element of the room. Open planned and designed in earthy tones, like the other two rooms, a certain portion of it formed the third wall surrounding the little outdoor garden patch, adding to the whole forest-like appeal. However, from here, one could open a glass=paned door to the garden, which one would need to do only to water the plants.

casa de la luna washroom

casa de la luna alibaug

THE FOOD

The food wasn’t a lavish spread, but home-cooked, hearty meals prepared right there in the kitchen. Every morning, Ashish, one of the staff would come over and ask what we’d like to have for lunch, evening snacks and dinner that day. At night, he’d inquire about our preferences for the following day’s breakfast. Since I wasn’t used to thinking of my meals that much in advance, he’d offer delicious suggestions, to which I readily agreed!

I enjoyed all my meals on the dining table in the hall, from where Manisha, another member of the staff would come out occasionally to ask if anything was needed. Poha and aloo paratha on Day 1 and omlete with toast + cheese sandwiches on Day 2 made up our breakfast. While I’m not really a breakfast person (bad habit, I know), I absolutely adored the food, and still maintain that the poha was the best I’ve ever had.

casa de la luna poha

Evening snacks ranged from chicken 65 to veg Manchurian and chicken lollipops on Day 2. Manisha would call out to us in the pool, like a mother would, asking what time we would like to have it ready and call out again when it was served. She was quite the chatterbox and we loved having her around to add a homely feel!

casa de la luna alibaug

casa de la luna chicken

tgg casa de la luna pool

Dinners were delicious too!! And what I loved even more than the food was the fact that the atmosphere was so informal, without being uncomfortable. We’d sit at the table and eat, talking about random things while 2-3 members of the staff would be in the same room, watching a regional program softly in the hall. No frills, no formality!

biryani casa de la luna

This was lunch on Day 2! So good!!

casa de la luna lunch

custard casa de la luna

The best dish of the lot HAS to be the caramel custard! Not saying that because it’s a Goan dessert, but because it was so outstanding, I could write a poem about it – ‘Gone in 10 seconds.’

caramel custard casa de la luna

P.S. If you’d like to cook your own meals, you can do so as well. However, do carry your own cooking ingredients or source the same from the local market.

AMENITIES

Apart from air conditioned rooms, basic housekeeping and food is taken care of at Casa De La Luna. The property also has 24×7 power backup, however during power failures, the a/c doesn’t work. 24 hour use of the pool is one of the biggest plus points that the property has, unlike all other hotels!

A well equipped kitchen to cook your own meals and 24 hour hot water supply in the bathrooms are provided too. In case of additional people, you can request for additional mattresses.

jade that goan girl

WHAT I LOVED

Casa De La Luna is everything I could ever hope for from a villa resort. It is cheerful, has character and is stylish, yet unpretentious. The staff is professional, friendly and incredibly helpful.

jade dsa

The pool is clean! And thanks to the fact that the place has only a handful of rooms, more often than not, you’ll have the pool to yourself! #win

casa de la luna alibaug

It is perfect for two back-packers, a couple or a group of friends who can book the entire place and have a fun holiday. Online entrepreneurs can work unhindered as mobile and internet network are strong.

I was so pleased to find that the room didn’’t have a TV! With a pool available to jump in all day and such stunning scenery, I’d hate to see it go to waste with people watching TV indoors.

WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED

It would be nice if there was a wall-fixture in the shower area to place your toiletries on so that one doesn’t have to use the windowsill.

Since there are no TVs in the rooms, some board games, books and pool floats could be provided

#TGGTips

Carry your own toiletries and bug spray/lotion. Since there are a lot of plants around, mosquitos in the evening are natural.

If you’re in need of an escape close to the city, I’d suggest heading out for a weekend at Casa De La Luna. I’m already itching to go back.

Book Casa De La Luna on their website, YatraAirbnb or call Aftab on 9022112266. Follow them on Facebook for updates and offers!

You can also read of another fun weekend getaway right here – Phoebe’s Farm, Mumbai. Bye for now!

Note – My stay was sponsored by Casa De La Luna. Views expressed, as always, are my own.

Hey guys!

So a lot of people keep telling me that “Bandra is sooo much like Goa,” “Lonavala’s greenery is just like Goa’s” and “the houses in Udvada are similar to those in Goa.”

I completely, 100% disagree!

No place on earth is “just like Goa.”

However, one place comes pretty darn close – Alibaug!

The winding, lined streets, serene beaches and tiny shops can transport you to my sunshine state for a while, cost you next to nothing in travel and you can get there in under an hour. Think of it like you’re going from Malad to Bandra in a cab.

I recently spent a weekend at U Tropicana, a boutique resort in Alibaug, to attend their Oktober Fest event – but I HAVE to tell you about the property too!

GETTING THERE:

Travelling to Alibaug was way easier and quicker than I thought it would be. As compared to Lonavala, Khandala, Matheran and other surrounding getaway spots, Alibaug is the most painless of the lot.

Head to Gateway of India, which is a 10-15 minute cab ride from Churchgate and VT railway stations. Just before you enter the security check area, you’ll find a line of ticket windows to your right from where you can buy a ferry ticket to Mandwa jetty. The ferry’s don’t depart every 10-15 minutes like they do in Goa, so be sure to check the timings here and plan accordingly to avoid waiting two hours for the next one.

As suggested by U Tropicana, the best ferry to take is by an operator called PNP. For Rs. 165, we made it to Mandwa Jetty in a comfortable, air-conditioned ferry in 45 minutes flat. From there, we were picked up by the resort vehicle which took us to the hotel in 15-20 minutes.

On the way back to Mumbai, we saw a non a/c ferry that was about to leave from Mandwa Jetty and thought of trying it out. Big mistake. It dangerously rocked from side to side all the way and we breathed in fumes for 40 minutes. I don’t even know how that boat is allowed to ply – it’s probably breaking half a dozen pollution-control norms.

Take the a/c boat. Period.

Alternatively, you could choose to drive. It is scenic, but will take you four hours.

THE RESORT

U Tropicana is one of the most luxurious resorts in Alibaug. Spanning 12 acres, it is set amidst landscaped gardens and greenery. It exudes peace the moment you step in.

The lobby is earthy, yet colourful at the same time. It’s modern-meets-traditional architecture has been carried forward in every space in the hotel – from its rooms to library and restaurant. A refreshing concept of service that UTropicana have observed is that guests can enjoy their rooms for 24 hours, depending on their check-in time – a small step that ends waiting time at the lobby and rushed breakfasts on the day of check out.

You can also select the flavour of tea and scent of soap that you’d like in your room. Neat!

THE ROOM

My room was strategically located – the last one on the right (see image below), so I had a view of the pool and the lawn on which the Oktoberfest event was being set up.

The executive-style room were simple, yet spacious and comfortable, ideal for basic travel needs. What I loved most was the inviting bed, ample natural lighting and high speed internet!

What’s also worth mentioning is that the mini bar is well stocked with drinks, juices, chips, chocolates, biscuits and more – and not at exorbitantly high hotel-room prices! I noticed that most of the rates were just Rs. 5/- over the MRP which is pretty decent. Also, two drinks are complimentary. Apart from that, every room has tea and coffee-making facilities as well.

Morning coffee and some quiet reading were done from this balcony right here! At night, you’ll need to watch out for mosquitos!

There’s nothing special to say about the bathroom. It had everything a guest could want!

AMENITIES

On check-in the receptionist briefs guests on amenities and the timings that guests can use these amenities. The first place I headed to was the library since it was the closest to my room (yay!) I quite liked this silent, cozy room and I will admit that they had a small, but very impressive selection of books.

For fitness buffs, there are free cycles you can use to zip around the property as well as a fitness centre at your disposal. A games room on the ground floor has darts, a carom board and pool as well as board games.

If you like exploring, the staff can arrange a sightseeing trip to the nearby beaches and temples, one of which you need to climb 600 steps to get to. *flashback Hampi*

U Sante Spa was probably the highlight of my stay at the resort. A relaxing one hour massage, followed by a short sauna treatment and time in the jacuzzi. A-mazing!

Like a true weekend getaway, the tranquil massage left me rejuvenated to face Mumbai’s fast paced city life again.

OKTOBERFEST

Sooo.. the main reason for visiting U Tropicana in the first place was to attend their OktoberFest event. The evening promised a lot of excitement – fire jugglers, flaring bartenders and a three-piece band, however, it was a very quiet evening with a handful of guests enjoying a buffet while a DJ played Bollywood music in the background. Hmm….

As far as the food was concerned, I sampled a little from every section – Italian, Continental and Mexican. The Indian food was the restaurant’s saving grace, being miles better than the rest. German food was limited to a variety of sausages, which in my opinion, needed more time on the grill.

A photo booth kept me entertained, as you can see.

Being the first OktoberFest at U Tropicana, and possibly the first ever in Alibaug, at least its a step in the right direction. I was glad to have dinner by the pool, though – something that wouldn’t ordinarily have happened in Mumbai.

THE FOOD

A 24 hour restaurant offers an a la carte menu for lunch and dinner and a buffet breakfast until 11 am. The breakfast had a decent spread – juices, hot beverages, breads, donuts, eggs and sausages, hash browns and the regular south Indian options. Take a look

Chocolate milk like a boss

Lauki (bittergourd) juice never looked this cute!

For lunch, since I already knew that Indian food was the best, I went straight to that section of the menu. It didn’t disappoint.

While the food was good and the restaurant staff was polite, I felt that service was way too slow. Servers needed to be asked multiple times for the same thing, and after several reminders, we still left without getting the dosa we asked for at breakfast. Attention to detail is needed here. Unlike the immaculate state the lobby was in, the menu was almost in tatters at the restaurant. Lots of little things to be improved upon.

WHAT I LOVED

The view from my room! I’d have loved some more time to take a dip in the pool. (I’ll be back, U Tropicana!)

The smooth operations at the lobby, quick transfer to my room and friendly hotel managers.

The fact that every single hotel staff could speak and understand English – it’s not something that’s very common.

The Spa – highly recommend you get a massage if you ever visit.

WHAT WOULD MAKE IT BETTER

Quicker housekeeping service and restaurant staff. Needed to repeatedly ask for something in order to get it.

Disposable slippers in the rooms would have been great

GET IN TOUCH:

Find details about the Hotel, their tariffs and book your stay:

Website – UHotelsResorts.com

Address: Chondi Naka, Mapgaon Alibaug, 402208 India

Hope you’re having a wonderful Diwali, guys! There’s so much to look forward to this season… good food, long weekend trips, Christmas is coming! Woot!

Thanks for reading, and see ya soon! In the meanwhile, keep in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

-J