Our offsite at Ekaant The Retreat,Lavasa

As soon as #monsoon hits Mumbai City, we #Mumbaikars look for an opportunity to get away from the city on the weekend. Our off-site, which generally used to be in the month of May was luckily postponed to July ( ideal for a lovely drive ) After looking through several options , Lavasa was finalized.

Quick Summary

  1. Why – One of the ideal getaways from Mumbai and especially Pune in Monsoon. Not as close as Lonavala but definitely better.

  2. Stay – Ekaant – The Retreat is perfect for those who love nature, solitude and are okay to spend a little extra ( Tariff was approx 10K per room per night )

  3. Eat – Restaurant at Ekaant could do with faster service. Room service is excellent though.

For those who haven’t heard much about Lavasa, here’s your guide.

Located in Western Ghats near Pune (about 200 km ) , Lavasa is one of its kind. It is spread over 7 hills making it extremely scenic in the month of monsoon. It is supposed to be India’s Largest Planned Hill City which is inspired by an Italian Town called Portofino. It has everything from Residential Projects, Schools ,  Professional Courses Colleges to Restaurants, Hotels, Resorts and other recreational facilities.

We started our day by 7 AM in the morning , ideally we should have started a little early to get there on time considering monsoon and traffic on weekends. Within 1 hr of starting our travel we were stuck near Vashi due to bad traffic. Also, there was bad traffic due to bad roads near Khalapur. However, listening to music and having some fun conversation we went on with our journey.

Mc Donalds v/s Datta Vada Pav was a debate but ultimately we settled for breakfast at Food Plaza , Lonavala.

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Vada Pav Wins 😉

On an empty stomach, Vada Pav can be a bad idea and that’s what happened. Soon we had to pull over at a CCD for a cup of cold coffee. We stopped at one of the outlets in Pimpri. The server was having a bad day I guess. In-spite of trying to explain several times and wasting almost half an hour we still got our order wrong!  Nevertheless, the time taken for getting our coffee was utilized in having some great conversations.

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Savior

After leaving Pune city, the drive only got more beautiful. Narrow winding roads with greenery and waterfalls wherever you lay your eyes. By the time we reached Lavasa City it was almost 2 PM.

A strange thing they have started is parking fees. I can understand if they collect parking fees from the day visitors. But we were staying in the resort and our cars were to be parked in resort premises then why pay parking fee. After discussing / arguing with those chaps , we later confirmed with the resort that everyone HAD TO PAY RS. 500 , we had no choice left.

We moved on to get to our resort – Ekaant the retreat . Unlike other properties, this one is uphill. The lobby itself gives a beautiful panoramic view of the surroundings. A decent common sitting area with carom etc , children play area with swing is also provided.

A 20 room boutique property has all rooms with a private sit out area. Rooms are on the ground level and on one level up. Upper floor rooms offer a better view but lower ones open into a lawn. We chose the lower ones. All rooms are with a king bed. Decent space and a gorgeous mountain view.

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Our Room

After checking in we headed for lunch at their one and only restaurant – Vyanjan. Buffet spread was decent. From vegetarian food, I chose – all four salads. Spinach and Feta cheese salad and Papdi chaat were the favourite. Vyanjan is a small restaurant that seats about 40 people. Offers a gorgeous view. Service is a little slow however they all are courteous and serve with a smile.

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Vyanjan – The Restaurant

A heavy lunch was followed by some team building activity. What could be better than Cricket that unites the nation!

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Cricket in this weather – Bliss !

We played for good 2 hours that resulted in exhausted bodies and mucky clothes. We wrapped up!  (our team lost this time ) It was not just cricket. The weather was so blissful. There was either drizzle or a heavy downpour. But, it was constantly raining. The clouds almost touching town with the wind or moving swiftly over our heads while we played. It was a beautiful site. People generally have Chai (tea ) in such weather , we opted for beers 😉

Another important point. Once you hit Lavasa, there aren’t many wine shops around hence you are left with no choice when it comes to booze. Its take it or leave it. We didn’t pick it up earlier in Mumbai or in Pune and hence had to go to Tuborg ( my least favourite )

By 6ish, we freshened up and then happened the Chai session with a game of cards and housie etc. Whether you agree or not, I think board games or these kind of card games definitely bring people together. There is also a possibility of fights 😉

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Teen Patti

For the evening, we ordered a few starters. For Veg – Paneer Chilly, Spring roll and Onion Pakodas. I feel one gets the best of onion pakodas ( Kanda Bhaji ) only in Maharashtra! These were even better they were batter fried with Spinach I guess which made it amazing. Paneer Chilly was good. However, Spring roll could have been fried better as it wasn’t crispy.  These starters were had with litres of alcohol (Okay, I am exaggerating here ) The weather outside got much colder. The games went on till 4 in the morning. What a lovely day it was!

We couldn’t get up next day till 10, just when breakfast time was about to get over , we got to the restaurant. Breakfast spread was not bad. It should have been kept for a little longer considering Sunday, people want to have a late breakfast. There were no eggs. Dosa was made to order but it was too greasy. Rest everything was decent.

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After breakfast we sat outside our room watching the rain, sipping on green tea and listening to some lounge music. That’s it no conversation needed , simply solitude !

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Check out at Ekaant was smooth. The Journey downhill wasn’t ! Our colleague who was in a complete road racer mood left us with a sick sensation in our stomach with one person vomiting twice. Word for the wise, go slow on your return journey till you reach Pune City.

In a nutshell , I’m glad we chose Lavasa for a getaway. It was quaint and beautiful. The Resort made all worth it. Do visit till the monsoon lasts.

P.S. As we were there for our offsite we were on a schedule. Couldn’t see town hall area and other restaurants. This shall be covered in my next trip to Lavasa 😊

Feature Image Courtesy – http://www.ekaant.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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