This is my second stay at Brightland. I celebrated my birthday here on both occasions. My experience was wonderful last year and could not resist going there again. The overall experience has been wonderful and amazing, to say the least! I am lazy when it comes to writing reviews and look at the smallest of things, but I am glad to say that Brightland lives upto its reputation.
Booking - Book from the Mumbai office and ask for discounts. The details are mentioned on the Brightland site and the staff is very courteous, helpful and prompt. I paid 50% advance last time, but this time I paid 100% advance. Room cost from Monday-Thursday is a lot cheaper than Friday-Sunday. Only buffet breakfast is included.
Travel - The journey is pleasant if you start early. I started from Thane city at 4am and took Pune Expressway. Last time I started at 6am and got stuck on the expressway for 2 hours, due to some vehicle breaking down. Some of my friends have had the same experience, probably because all holiday-goers start by Saturday morning. Once you cross Pune Expressway, its a relatively traffic-free ride. If you reach Mahabaleshwar earlier than expected, stop at Mapro gardens(on the way to hotel) or a nice restaurant like Garden or Bageecha(close to Brightland) for a nice breakfast of strawberry cream/milkshake.
Stay - The check-in time is 2pm. You get a welcome drink and it takes hardly a few mins for them to allocate a room. Parking is ample and free, they arrange for someone to wash your car for free. The lower tulip rooms are amazing, with a bathtub! The best part about the rooms - very well maintained. I did not find a single insect or any other problem with the room decor. Linen, curtains, furniture, electronic items such as TV, DVD player, hair dryer(yes, they have that too!) and fridge - all look like brand new. Room service is prompt and polite. They have some games like TT, carrom, badminton, and a nice library. The swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna are free to use, clean, and well maintained. Go to the village pavilion restaurant in the evening for a beautiful view of the valley. The gardens are well maintained too.
Restaurants - Initially, I thought it was overpriced. I've tried their Italian cuisine - Risotto and pizza, and it was really good. They also serve some good BBQ, don't forget to try the masala crispy roomali roti - goes wel with drinks! Chinese dishes were ok, rest everything was nice! Oh yes, they also give you a 10% discount on food bill.
Places to visit - Table land, Mini Kashmir and Pratapgarh - it takes some time to travel and enjoy these places. Get a guide at Pratapgarh - the guy I hired was not from MTDC, he charged INR 200/- and showed all the points including Punishment point. At Table land, they charge INR 500/- pp for horse rides to cover all points. My recommendation - its very overpriced, and do not share a horse among two people. Go early morning or early evening so you can walk around, there are no trees and it gets hot. Visit the Mapro gardens, Mala factory outlet and check out the strawberry farms at brightland or garden hotel. Try the veg food at garden restaurant if you don't want to spend too much. Avoid the small hotel next to Brightland - its not good.
By the way, my birthday celebration was great! They arranged a pineapple cake with candles and everything - it was really memorable.
1. It would be a nice to have babysitting service for kids, along with a play area, gives parents some time to themselves.
2. Lack of entertainment/games on weekends - Last year, they had a magic show, housie and a few other fun events. This year it was only housie, nothing for kids.
3. The lady at guest relations rarely smiles, does not come across as helpful. The fellow who was taking care of guest relations last year was a wonderful and helpful gentleman. Ask for Mr. Menon(General Manager) if reception folks cannot help.
4. They charged INR 20 for a map of mahabaleshwar. Surely they can give this complimentary to guests!
Lower Tulip or valley view rooms.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.