Unique, pristine but WIP…
We stayed in November 2012 for 3 nights and 4 days in this beautifully thought-out holiday place (for the lack of better word). I am neither calling it a resort nor a retreat because many standard facilities that are available with a resort or a retreat are absent here. But it is no way a hotel. With that introduction, let me start with the positives and then, move on to negatives.
We stayed in a canopy with a beautiful view of the valley and the forest. The early morning sunrise and the late night star gazing are just super! The canopy is an 800 sq. feet room perched at a height (it is not a tree house by the way). There is a large living room with a large bed, one air cooler, one fan and a small ipod dock, if you want to some music watching nature, which I suggest everyone must have a go at. It is not the living room that is impressive, but the bathroom with its cute little accessories and premium toiletries. Worth it! I have put some pics. By the way, no TV here, which is fantastic. My 5.5 year old daughter did not remember TV for 3 days, without any exaggeration.
Location – This place (watch out for the white-washed stones) is around 12-15 kms from Lonavla, which really works for us. Since this place is inside agri and forest area, there are limitation on how much concretization they are allowed to do and therefore, they have left a large portion of the 25 acres land untouched. The eco-friendly tag that this resort claims, in my view, is part by choice and part-forced. But we loved the location and the calmness. We drove around in the 15 kms radius along the club Mahindra route and Pavna lake and we met many interesting villagers. It was like a field trip for my daughter on agriculture, nature and birding.
Food – Just amazing. We had lunch for just one day (two adults and one child and vegetarians). We were surprised with the choices and how well cooked they were. The morning breakfast near the hammocks is superb. Room service was surprisingly efficient, just not what I had read in some other reviews.
People – Very warm and friendly people. They take great efforts during breakfast and dinner. We asked for bonfire twice and they did not hesitate. Loved it.
Website: It is a misleading website with its photographs of animals, birds (one page is dedicated to birding) and wildlife. Since I am into birding, the answers were like it is better to see from the canopy than otherwise. I sincere hope they make the website more realistic. You have to see the website of Jungle Lodges & Resorts or other wildlife resorts and they are more sober than this one. Or put some disclaimers upfront.
Front gate: Before you go out with your car, please take the phone number of the guys working there, as the front gate will definitely be closed when you come back. You have to honk or someone has to walk down half a km and ask them to open the gate. When we checked-in, we were not told about this and my wife had to walk twice down to get someone to open the main gate.
Room interiors: I have posted some pics of the furniture and interiors here. The furniture and fixtures are very old, broken in some cases and make creaking noises when you sit. The tent is not clean in some places like bathroom door (if I may call that). Beware of the extra bed – you may need a back message when you wake up. For a place that charges more than US$ 300 per night, I think they should renovate or refurbish. One can be eco-friendly, which we totally support but not short-change customers with shabby stuff.
Overall, we loved the resort but still think there is a need to refurbish a lot. Will we come again? Yes but I do sincerely hope they clean-up interiors and offer a better staying room.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- An award-winning eco-resort in Lonavala. The Machan is a story of dwellings that rise above the forest floor and form a symbiotic relationship with their natural surroundings. All of its individual accommodations are floating in the air, with enchanting views and elegant rustic interiors. Its carbon footprint is minimal - with its energy generated solely through solar and wind. Located in Jambulne, one of 25 biological hotspots of the world and a mere 2.5 Drive from Mumbai (1.5 Hours from Pune), the Machan makes for an accessible weekend getaway. We invite you to take some time away from work and immerse yourself in this one of a kind experience. Reconnect with family, friends and loved ones in the comfort and privacy of this truly exclusive retreat. ... more less
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