Pre-planning a trip with your friends almost never works out. There are always uncertainties, disagreements over destinations and of course, last minute cancellations.
When my girl-pack and I decided to take a trip a few weeks ago, we made it an impromptu one. We wanted something low-key. Just a good excuse to get out of town – away for the weekend – and do nothing but lay around by the pool, consume awesome food and leave thoughts of work behind.
My friend Dipti took control of the trip. She’s never short of ideas and can plan an elaborate trip in 15 minutes if she had to. The rest of us just floated along and it turned out to be one of the best weekends ever!
The 8 of us were spread all over Mumbai – some on Western Lines, others on Central and Harbour Lines. And we converged at Panvel Station after around an hour and a half of travelling. From there, we took rickshaws and reached Aayush Resort in around half an hour. The heat was absolutely unbearable and after having stopped for some road-side nimbu-soda, we arrived at around 3 PM.
Located on the old Mumbai-Pune highway in Panvel, Navi Mumbai, Aayush Resort is a place to go to when you need a break from noise and pollution.
This massive property is spread over 35 acres and is built to provide recreation to city dwellers as well as provide facilities for a memorable wedding celebration.
On getting off at the main gate, we walked around a kilometer or so until we reached the inner gate that had a large, naturally-lit lobby to our right. We couldn’t help notice the sign-boards that showed the direction of many of the resorts facilities upfront. We checked in and were then taken through a maze of pathways, past the restaurant, disco, a tiny zoo, bird sanctuary, rooms, and more rooms before arriving at ours, besides the pool.
The resort has everything needed for a large business conference, family holiday or social gathering and its magnificent palace set-up is a stunning spot on which Bollywood movies can be shot.
Aayush Resort has a total of 110 rooms ranging from super deluxe to executive and royal cottages to tree top rooms and at least a dozen other options. We chose a Premium Cottage by the pool and it was squeaky clean, spacious and had 4 large double beds so that we could spend as much time together as we could. The room had good air-conditioning, a couple of cupboards and 3 washrooms so we never felt that we had to wait in line to have a bath. Filtered water and glasses were provided, along with basic toiletries.
When we first crossed the pool to go to our rooms, we noticed that the water wasn’t very clean due to leaves and flowers falling in. However, it was much better when we actually went in after about 2 hours. The swimming pool is quite large and has a few water slides. There is also a smaller, empty pool for a rain-dance that had sprinklers on top and music blaring to which a group was having a gala time.
The entire resort is full of spots where one can click a ton of Instagram-worthy photos! And click we did! In front of colourful walls of some of the smaller cottages, on the grass in front of a huge Jaipur-fort like structure and all over the palatial movie setting that scenes Badrinath ki Dulhaniya was shot. I clicked the picture below when we got lost on our way back to our room and stumbled upon this magnificent sight. Such a fairy tale moment!
There’s something therapeutic about walking and lying on grass! The space in front of the fort-like wedding stage was great for having a picnic, watching the clouds go by or having a cricket match, which a bunch of guests were doing!
If you’re wondering how to spend time once the pool has closed, Aayush Resort has that covered too! They have an impressive nightclub inside the premises, complete with a great sound system and party lights. We got all decked up to dance the night away, and when we got there, it was empty, except for a couple of guys sitting in the corner. Major mood kill. We left in 5 minutes.
Overall, the pool could be much better maintained. But the rest of the amenities were pretty neat and can easily keep you occupied for a day.
Whatever food we ate at Aayush Resort, we loved! Be it the simple but delicious vada pao and coffee at 4 pm on the day we arrived, or the elaborate dinner planned for us that night. Since Aayush Resort is a vegetarian hotel, meat isn’t allowed on the property. We were taken to a spot a little further away from the inner entrance of the hotel (though still inside the property), and the pre-decided food items prepared were bought and served.
We were a little creeped out at being taken to a distance away from the hotel and guests, in a large room with one table and 8 chairs like something out of a horror movie. But once the food arrived, we stopped discussing worst case scenarios and escape plans – and enjoyed the food instead.
A mix of Indian food (Naan, Dal, chicken curry) and Chinese food (Noodles, Gobi Manchurian) and dessert comprising of Gulab Jamun were among a few items on the menu. We had around 4 waiters to cater to us and we had a lovely dinner without having to order off the menu!
The next day, we walked over to the restaurant for the buffet breakfast, which was pretty decent as well. For lunch, we didn’t want to head over to that sinister room on the outskirts for non-vegetarian food, and decided to go veg at the restaurant again. Like the rest of the food, this meal too lived up to expectations! Still remember how delicious that chaas was!
A lot of photos were clicked on the movie set, as you can see 🙂
WHAT I LOVED:
What’s nice about Aayush Resort is their 24 hour check-out policy. Since we arrived at around 3 PM, we left around the same time the next day. That means no rush during hotel’s general check-in and check-out windows.
The entire resort is like a photo booth and everything you look at is clickable!
Affordability – We were 8 people and spent 2500/- each for one night, inclusive of food and use of all amenities.
No mosquitos in spite of all the greenery and water bodies.
WHAT COULD MAKE IT BETTER:
A warm welcome to guests. A welcome drink, some personal interaction by the manager, or simply, acknowledgement by turning on the A/C in the lobby!
Space to dry clothes – with such a huge room and pool just outside, there are bound to be a lot of wet clothes.
I recommend this place if you ever want to get out of town for a couple of days without having to go too far. Can’t wait for the next trip with these girls!
Read about another fun weekend I had at Phoebe’s Farm, a human-friendly pet resort in Mumbai.