Exotic Staycation at Anandvan Resort, Bhandardara

By Rutuja Bhagwat - July 17, 2019


Every once a while, we feel like taking a break and go to someplace beautiful. Living in the City of Dreams can get daunting with its cut-throat competition, traffic, pollution, and lifelessness. The concept of 'Weekend Getaway' was perhaps coined by someone who desperately wanted a break and breathe fresh air with nothing but ample of nature around. 

Well, although I am not a victim of such life, sitting indoors and working on a laptop can get boring especially if one has not tasted nature in a while. I started my research on a short trip near Mumbai and finalised on staying at the Anandvan Resort, which was not very far from the city. I have been to Bhandardara thrice before – once with my family when I was in 9th grade, once with my college seniors, and once on my birthday when we camped and hiked at the Sandhan Valley. 

While on that trip to Sandhan Valley, we had passed Anandvan Resort in its highest glory. It was brimming in gold as the surrounding was dark and the area was lit with mellow lights. That night I knew I was staying here someday. And so I booked a one night stay at the extremely beautiful Anandvan Resort in Bhandardara. I don't really venture out on weekends because I hate crowd so I thought of staying here on a Friday and a Saturday to find lesser people around. 

ABOUT ANANDVAN RESORT, BHANDARDARA

Set in the hills at 2800 ft. and encompassed by forests, Anandvan Resort is a comfortable retreat with the most magnificent mountain scenery where guests can enjoy luxurious private cottages & villas, savour tasty food and experience an authentic reflection of Bhandardara. 

Anandvan Resort is a perfect family getaway to relax amidst nature. Located in the Sahyadri Hills, it overlooks the spectacular Arthur Lake. 

CHECK-IN AT THE ANANDVAN RESORT
I had understood the aura of Anandvan long back, more than a year ago, on my trip to Sandhan Valley. It was pitch dark then and the resort stood out. I remember how 'Anandvan' was shining bright and the entire region was lit with lamps. 

We can clearly estimate how luxurious or retreating a property is merely by its entrance. My first impression that day was reconfirmed when I took a right for the property. Since it was daylight, there was no lamps lit, however, the vibe remained the same. My first reaction certainly declared how happy I was to be there and how promising the property appeared. 


We parked our vehicle in the parking space and the first thing we did was walk towards the cliff. The cliff has a nice outline of shrubs and the view in front is gigantic. The Arthur Lake can be seen and we only wished we visited the resort a little later to witness the lake overflow due to monsoon and when the surrounding area is much greener than what it was in the mid of June. I guess July mid would have been a wonderful idea. 

After spending a few minutes at the cliff, marvelling at the view, we walked towards the reception, which is exactly opposite to the cliff. The reception is home to a really lovely collection of decor so whether it is ceramic turtles or antique pieces. We were given a welcome drink, which I assume was kokum sherbet. After the procedure, we were given the key to our room. We were staying in the lake view cottage suite.



THE STAY AT THE ANANDVAN RESORT
As we walked from the reception to our suite A-1, we were greeted with picturesque trees on both sides. We saw treehouses on our right and cottages to the left. The elongated path eased us out immediately and the fatigue from a 139 km journey faded over time. The staff member walked us towards our cottage and on reaching our room, guided us about the whereabouts such as the air conditioner, the tap adjustments in the bathroom, the television remote, the reception and room service contact numbers, and so on. 

I remember being absolutely delighted after seeing the interiors. The aesthetics of the place, the woody decor, and the warmth...marvelled me completely. However, what was in store next, left us with total awe. The living room of our cottage opened to a private garden. There was an outdoor seating with the view of Arthur Lake. The swaying of the bountiful bougainvillaea flowers coupled with the fresh air and lake view excited us. We knew we would be spending a lot of time in this little garden of ours!

Additionally, Anandvan Resort has a variety of room ranging from studio room to four-bedroom bungalows and from treetop houses to hill and lake view cottages. 

We had reached the resort quite late, say around 2:30 pm. Usually, lunchtime at most properties ends at 3:00 to 4:00 pm. Therefore, on reaching the room, we freshened ourselves up and went for lunch. We had asked the reception to hold lunch until we reach. 




THE FOOD AT THE ANANDVAN RESORT
After a walk down the shadowy path, right behind the reception, is the restaurant. The 'Oak' restaurant has indoor seating as well as outdoor seating. It also has a garden attached to occupy more people.

We dined at the indoor restaurant as it emitted warmth. There was a buffet for lunch and I was hungry simply looking at the delicious dishes and the number of items at our discourse. For the starters, there were fish, chicken, paneer, and veggies. For the main course, along with dal, jeera rice, there were chicken and paneer sabzis. For the dessert, we had chocolate balls, gulab jamun, and sheera. And to digest it all, we ordered buttermilk which came in a huge mason jar!

For dinner that night, there was no buffet system. I'm guessing that's because people prefer to stay indoors at night and order in instead of dining at the restro. We ordered salad, paneer and chicken starters palette, and for the main course, a paneer sabzi with naan. Honestly, we were too full from our lunch! And, for dessert, we had pineapple cake! Yum!

Breakfast the next day again was a buffet and I always vouch for buffet breakfasts since we get to eat a lot of variety plus our stomachs yearn for food. We can simply eat as much as we want in the mornings. I feasted on breakfast! There were two types of doughnuts, about three types of Danish sweets to go along with tea or coffee, eggs of your choice on demand, idli, poha, pizza, and fruits! There were juices as well but I picked coffee for some reason! 

Overall, the food at Anandvan is not to be missed, especially the starters, they're to die for!

AMENITIES AT THE ANANDVAN RESORT

To be honest, the main reason why I booked this resort was because of the pool with an infinite view! Yes! You read it right. Anandvan resort has a pool outdoors that throws a view of the mountains and valleys. I highly recommend you keep some time off for this activity. I promise you're going to enjoy here. The pool is not deep, might be around 5 ft or lesser, so it's great for floating as well as swimming. And, you can order drinks at the pool and simply enjoy the sundowner! Totally recommended.

We were at the pool for a couple of hours and had ordered some mocktails to go along. The grey clouds were coming together and we were expecting rains. We could witness the hide-and-seek of the sun and the overall experience was amazing. I felt so refreshed! 

There are a plethora of activities at Anandvan so whether it is the indoor court where one can play badminton, volleyball, basketball, cricket or games such as pool, table tennis, chess, carrom, etc. There are also special activities like folk dances, karaoke nights, bonfire, etc. on special occasions.

HOW TO REACH ANANDVAN RESORT, BHANDARDARA

- If you're taking your own vehicle, then nothing like it. You can simply follow the Maps to reach the destination.
- There are private cabs that take you from Mumbai to Bhandardara for between Rs 4000 to Rs 5000.
- If you're taking public transport, you can hop on a bus from Mumbai Central, Parel, Borivali, Andheri or Dadar and get down at Igatpuri or Ghoti. From there, catch a private taxi for the resort. (You can even pre-book your taxi.) Check MSRTC website for bus timetable – http://bit.ly/2IX5hoD

- Alternatively, you can get down at Kasara railway station and get taxis for Bhandardara.


BOOK A STAY AT ANANDVAN RESORT

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