Club Mahindra Pavna Resort, Tungi is not a destination you will find on the website. Booking a stay at this resort makes you feel like you are in on a really cool secret. Those in the know call the regular reservation number and are directed to a dedicated Pavna reservation helpline. The deal is that Pavna has not been officially launched yet. While it has been in operation for the last couple of years, the final touches and a few licenses are yet to be put in place. If you don’t mind the fact that manicured lawns and gardens don’t cover the entire expanse of approximately 42 acres; that there are no bars; that the most stunning views from the not yet operational resto-bar Amara are out of bounds and that one of the three pools may not be open while you are visiting; then call at exactly 9.30am on the 1st of the month before the month you want to visit. Proximity to Mumbai and Pune along with its fabulous, secluded location makes this resort a very ‘in demand’, always full destination.
Despite the fact that Club Mahindra Pavna is full to capacity, you never feel overwhelmed with the numbers. We visited the property in the first week of June for three nights and it was the most relaxing, comfortable stay. The resort is located near the base of the Tungi Fort overlooking Tikona Fort, Lake Pavna and the rest of the Sahyadri mountain range. From Mumbai, the Expressway to Lonavala was smooth sailing as was the road all the way to Aamby Valley. We were fortunate to have booked for weekdays as Lonavala city and the roads that lead to Bhushi Dam get chaotic on the weekends. In addition to narrow streets, loud often drunk tourists and an assortment of music blaring from cars there is litter and trash around the entire route marring the drive to the Pavna Resort. Our spirits lifted the moment we were past the tourist spots and on the jungle road that leads to the resort. The last 10 kilometres is the main topic of conversation among members but I believe if you want to get to a destination off the beaten path then you’ve got to take the road less travelled. While there are potholes, this is a tarred road and not a dirt track suitable only for four wheel drives. My recommendation is just go slow, enjoy the view of the jungle birds, the valleys and the mist rolling in and you won’t be disappointed.
The resort currently has about 84 rooms spread across the meandering property with different blocks connected by pathways. The reception block is an oasis of calm and the first place where you will definitely exclaim, “Oh wow!” when you look out of the large windows and see nothing but the lake and hills. The reception is also one of the few places you will probably not see again until you are ready to leave. However, if you want to enjoy the view at sunset with just your family, stroll down to the reception deck. As it is located away from the restaurant and Fun Zone very few people actually head that side at all.
Our car was taken to a parking lot while we were driven to our lake facing studio in a van. The route is lined with flowering trees and the short Gulmohur trees covered with flowers is an amazing sight. A welcome letter provided us all the information we required about facilities, activities and even timings for the train shuttle – a guest pick and drop facility on a route that starts and ends at the Ripples restaurant.
As with all Club Mahindra properties, attention to detail has gone into every aspect of the resort. What we found most charming was the fact that each block is named after a bird. Ours was Golden Plover. Additionally, above the main entrance to the block, is a grill that has the bird incorporated into the ironwork. This makes a spectacular sight at night when the grill is backlit. Every room has been designed to afford complete privacy. So while you might hear your neighbours once in a while, you are not likely to see them even when seated in your private balcony. We also liked the idea of the television incorporated into a swivel mechanism that makes viewing possible in the living room as well as the bedroom just by rotating the housing.
What struck us about the property was the silence that is only interrupted by the sound of birds chirping and the patter of the first rainfall for the season. As the property is located in the heart of a green belt, we knew the first showers were likely to bring out the snakes and were careful to stick to the rough stone pathways especially after dark. Our six year old son had the pool and the Fun Zone on his agenda and so we explored the property to find the lap pool, the baby pool which has a slide and the infinity pool. As the lap pool was under maintenance, we decided to try the baby pool first. To my horror as our son was splashing around, I saw a striped Keelback get into the pool, swim across and get out the other side. Post that exciting but scary sighting, in spite of my husband assuring us that the snake is non-poisonous; we spent all our pool time at the infinity pool that overlooks the lake.
The Fun Zone was the next hot spot. Fun is spread over a large area around a courtyard and comes in the form of a trampoline; a table tennis, air hockey and snooker room; a complete zone with Wii games, Xbox, chess, carom, board games, badminton rackets, Karaoke, foosball, activity area, a library; a separate colourful room specially for toddlers; a basketball court; and a horse or camel ride. The library has a number of interesting books on birds taking the overall theme of the property further which is a great touch. The attendants are extremely helpful and get involved with all the activities without tiring of the questions and queries from children and often adults throughout the day. Every evening the Fun Zone turns into the venue for a dance class, magic show, group games and even a disco. If all this is not enough, they also have planned excursions in the form of treks to the lake and forts, and a camping night out under the stars. For those who would rather unwind and de stress completely, the Svaastha Spa is designed to pamper. Just strolling around the serene spa makes you slow down your pace and feel at peace.
Ripples restaurant serves an excellent range of multi cuisine vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. They have a separate counter for Jain food and the Kid’s section was a big hit with our son who enjoyed the pasta and butter naans. We had planned our in-studio lunches and so sampled the breakfast and dinner at Ripples. The breakfast was exactly the same on both days but the dinner did have variations to the menu with the highlight being the lamb chop prepared in an Indian style gravy.
It is a pity that Pavna Resort can only be booked once in the year to ensure all members get an opportunity to visit. So if you haven’t yet clocked your visit, plan ahead and go. The monsoons are the ideal time to be at this resort where the temperature is cool, the views are breathtaking, the birds and flowers abundant, the mist temperamental and the fireflies outside your window a sight for sore city eyes.