As our anniversary was coinciding with the weekend, we took the opportunity to plan for a day out on the hills. Since my husband is not much of a camping person, I booked a room in the Hotel Hilton, Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa which is a mountain resort with luxuries on a 320 acre land bound by lush green forest and nature which is a habitat for many species of flora and fauna as well as so many different types of birds.
It is located at a distance of 110 km from Mumbai airport and 80 km from Pune airport, in the village Shillim. It is one of the best spa resorts in India and due to its close proximity to Mumbai you can find Bollywood stars unwind here too!!
So, the welcome by the staff was very warm and courteous; the view of the Sahyadris from the reception area was gorgeous.
Next we are shown to our villa where we will be staying – well I fall in love with it instantly. Since I had booked a standard room, I was surprised to be shown to an extensive space with a huge bed looking towards a balcony totally secluded from other villas and people.
The bed looks towards a terrace which again has the gorgeous view of the western ghats. This terrace is a meditative place for people who like solitude away from the hustle of the urban life. Me? I can stay there for hours reading a book or writing, with endless cups of fresh masala chai.
The bathrooms are huge with all the luxuries and the best part is the open air shower. After we settle our luggage and a bit of rest we head straight to the activity desk to inquire about the variety of activities they provide and their timings.
- Hiking Trail
- Yoga Pavilion
- Walking track
- A walk up the mountain . It is a good sunrise activity
- Swimming Pool
We took up the evening forest walk with a guide who lived in the surrounding area. He knew everything about the flora and fauna in the forest but what took me by surprise was the information about the behavioural pattern of insects like termites and ants. He went on to inform us about the peculiar patterns in which the insects made their homes; he knew exactly which leaves were edible and which weren’t, the names of each flowering plant, what flowers are used for making scented oils and which were used as medicines.
As we descend to return from our walk we get a glimpse of the beautiful Pawana lake and also the Tungi fortress.
What I love about forest walks is the high-in-oxygen air and the chirping of the birds, the serenity and the foliage in all its glory.
After 2.5 hrs of filling our lungs with pure air and listening to all that the birds had to say, we head back to our villa to freshen up and it was time for dinner.
There is a variety of different restaurants to choose from;
Here we find both international and Indian cuisine – a good variety of them both. We can enjoy the views of the mountains and have food outside or else have a cosy dinner inside.
This turned out to be my favourite as it had a good romantic feel to it and we spent nearly two hours viewing the beautiful evening go by with wine and a Chinese entrée. This place is ideal for people who want to leisurely enjoy their evenings with small talk.
Mountain Bar and Bistro:
This restaurant is the highest on the mountain resort and thus the view is exotic. You will get pastas and pizzas served here with drinks – the food is delicious. There is a swimming pool next to the restaurant, which overlooks the dense valley, thus the combinations are perfect for a complete fun evening.
The Green Table
This is next to the spa area which is located higher on the mountain in the resort area itself. It is an exclusive organic restaurant with food prepared with fresh veggies sourced from their own organic farm and the neighbouring village farms. What I loved about this place is the Pond facing this restaurant known as the Meditation Pond – tranquil and serene.
The Tea House
Since we are ardent tea lovers, this place was our next favourite place to be in this behemoth place. We made ourselves comfortable to have green chamomile tea in a place specially designed to make the tea drinking into a ceremony, with a person playing flute to add to the charm of the whole meditative atmosphere. What I noticed was that the place just slowed us down to notice the peace with just the extremely calming sound of the flute and the chirping birds.
The next morning we have our breakfast in the outdoors at the Terrazo restaurant. There was a good variety of cuisines served with live counters and the chefs who customise according to our taste buds. I liked the ways they put health before everything and it showed in their home-made variety of fruit jams, pure white butter, bread and the chutney’s.
There is still so much to explore in this place but sadly it is time for us to leave. We could have extended our stay but the resort was completely booked for the next 2 days and thus we decided to come back here with our kids some other weekend, I am sure they will love it too.