Just back from a short weekend stay at Lonavala where we put up at Citrus after going through the reviews on TA. Let me say that we were not disappointed and quite enjoyed our brief stay for 2 days and one night. True to the reviews, the staff are extremely polite and courteous and the hotel is quite neat, clean and well maintained. Yes, we did meet the affable and now quite famous Mr. Biswas at the hotel reception. He was extremely polite and helpful. Every one including the chef was eager to serve with a smile. Now for all my fellow travellers, let me list down the plus and minus for your benefit :
First the good points :
1. As mentioned earlier, extremely polite and helpful staff. Be sure to be well taken care of when you stay here.
2. Neat and clean ambience.
3. The hotel has a nice small lawn where you can relax in the evening and enjoy your dinner or snacks. Good place for kids to just run around too !
4. A very nice and inviting swimming pool with extremely alert and helpful hotel staff who'll ensure there are enough towels for you. Small kiddy pool for your kids too. Also for the uninitiated in swimming, the pool is shallow enough for you to enjoy even if you do not know how to swim. In fact you can walk across the pool.
5. In room mini bar is quite reasonable and room service is quite fast and prompt.
6. There's also an in house mini theatre for you to enjoy a movie with family. But most of the movies are in Hindi, hence might not be enjoyed if you are unaware of the language.
7. Located within a quiet residential area of Lonavala.
Now the few but concerning areas :
1. If you book your stay on phone, the lady asks for your credit card number and expiry date. The card gets charged only of you do not turn up. But to me its a constant threat of probable misuse.
2. The room fresheners need to be upgraded or changed. As I never got the proverbial "citrus" aroma inside the room or the lobby. In fact the room smelt of stale air.
3. Do confirm well in advance on the view that you'll get from your room. All premier rooms are facing a building under construction right next door. In fact your window panes if opened can almost touch that building.
4. The hotel is currently undergoing a huge expansion plan. The lawn and your dinner / breakfast area is hence right next to the area of dusty construction ( although the area under renovation has been quite cleverly covered up. )
5. Extremely small bathroom with average quality of toiletries. In fact you do expect much better stuff from a four star hotel. The shower enclosure had a drainage problem causing water to accumulate for a long time after bath.
6. I was warned earlier on this forum and am warning others too......BEWARE OF THE TWIN BEDS ! Yes, they join two beds in a room to make one. Tough for a family of two adults and one small kid to have a great sleep unless you specifically ask them to change the two mattresses for a big single one ( no charge ) else order for an additional single mattress ( Rs 500) for a bed on the floor !. The website speaks of rollaway bed facility for Premier Rooms, but the same doesn't seem to exist.
7. Food is quite reasonable but quality may be questionable. High on spices, color and tomatoes and extremely low on variety. Did not try the famous pizzas. Hence can't comment on them. The dinner buffet had no chicken item. The overall quality and appeal was average at the most. The breakfast spread was again just about average with oily parathas and aloo ( potato ) sabzi ( curry ). The parathas smelt of recycled oil and were too greasy.
However, you can choose what to have and enjoy a decent breakfast if you avoid certain items on the menu altogether. But, for a Four Star hotel, FOOD WAS A CERTAIN DISAPPOINTMENT.
To summarise, I felt that the overall experience was nice and comfortable and could certainly be better if the above concern points are also taken care of.
For the future travellers who might get confused locating the hotel, just remember to reach the LONAVALA TELEPHONE EXCHANGE. Then keeping the telephone exchange on your left , go straight and you'll reach a cross road. Take the diagonal ( north west ) road ahead. You'll pass through landmarks like MATRU CHHAYA Guest House and TEACHERS AND STUDENTS HOLIDAY HOME on your left. The hotel is just ahead on the right.
All the best !
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