Resort review: Varun Beach Bheemili Resort in Bheemili is all about luxurious rooms and its wellness centre, The Ayurbay
After several months of continued lockdowns, travel enthusiasts were elated as the domestic tourism industry slowly and steadily began picking up pace. We were quite glad too when we received an invitation from the first-ever resort and wellness centre in Bheemunipatnam, a small town in Andhra Pradesh. Varun Beach Bheemili Resort managed by Accor Hotels is situated away from the hustle and bustle of Visakhapatnam city, and fortunately for us, is close to the beach. We visited the property after New Year, and this twoday staycation away from the city was luxurious and much-needed. Located about 42 kilometers away from the Visakhapatnam International Airport, it took us around 90 minutes to reach the property. The drive from the airport was gorgeous, with lush green fields, coconut tree plantations, beaches, and temples on both sides of the road.
On the bay
After our ride, we finally reached the resort, which is spread across 2,000 square yards. We were first taken to the sanitisation counter, and even our luggage was sanitised thoroughly. At the time of check-in, we were also required to sign a COVID-19 declaration form, stating that we were negative. Then, we were welcomed with an orange mocktail and a delicate neckpiece made with sea-shells. The drink was citrusy and refreshing.
After a quick check-in, we were guided to our beach-facing deluxe room with an attached balcony. The room with its breathtaking Bheemili beach view comes fully furnished with a king-size bed, a television set, a refrigerator and a sitting area. Smaller amenities like a tea kettle, fruits, and almonds are also provided. All the 28 rooms in the resort face the sea and open to the beach.
The property’s diner is where we were next headed too. The Square offers buffet lunches and dinners with global and local options. Since we had a late lunch, we decided to keep it light. Hence, we opted for the Tortilla Soup loaded with veggies and shredded chicken. For starters, we tried the Fish Tikka and regional special Mirchi Bajji. For the main course, we tried the Hakka Noodles.
Where wellness meets luxury
Before settling in for High-Tea, we were given a quick tour by the resort’s operations manager, Ramesh Patnaik. On the ground floor, beside the reception and The Square, they also have a play area for the kids, a library filled with kids’ books and a mini-theater. The mini-theater is a 19-seater and laden with comfortable couches and you can watch movies or TV shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. They also have two conference rooms — Gostani and Kalinga, which can is free for in-house guests. What we thought was the best part of the resort was their roof-top area. A gigantic pool facing the waters of Bheemili beach is what you can expect there. You can also dine at their Japanese restaurant, Teppanyaki. The resort also hosts a fitness center called Inbalance with professional trainers.
After the tour of the resort, we stepped outside only to find ourselves making our way to their wellness centre, Ayurbay (which offers various Ayurvedic treatments) through a connecting bridge. The property also has two yoga centers, one indoors and the other on the outdoors, facing a huge Buddha statue. We then visited their cricket ground, which has an outdoor gym comprising state-of-the-art equipment. The property also boasts two vegetable farms. “All the vegetables that we use are organically grown in these farms. Our aim is to provide healthy and nutritious food to our guests,” shares Ramesh.
After our trip around the property, we sat down to have some coffee and snacks on their lawns. Freshly prepared regional fritters and pakoras served with a freshly-brewed cup of coffee were served to us. The property tour did tire us out and we headed back for a quick nap.
After the nap, we enjoyed a lavish dinner in the lawns. A dhaba-themed set-up, with a live counter, was prepared for us along with a bonfire. We started our meal with an assortment of Indian starters such as Pepper Chicken, Paneer and Fish Tikka, Veg Croquettes, Veg Spring Rolls and Chilli Fish. For mains, we were served Butter Naan with Andhra-Style-Chicken Curry and Chicken Dum Biryani. We completed our dinner with the classic combination of Chocolate Brownie and Vanilla Ice Cream
In the world of Ayurveda
Our second day started early as we headed out for our first Ayurbay session early at eight in morning. The Ayurveda specialty in-house doctor, Dr Vishnu Sivan first performed the Nadi Parikshan, which roughly translates to pulse examination. The first session was engaging and informative. After examining our pulse, the doctor followed up with a few questions about our personality and lifestyle. He also suggested a few remedies best suited to our needs. The wellness center has a designated list of possible treatments that you can explore. Sushanthi is what you should go for if destressing, relaxation, and rejuvenation are on your mind. For those who need a skincare or haircare makeover, can pick something from Keshakalpa. Beauty enthusiasts must check the Soundaryam section, which happens to be home to two soothing Takradhara and Ksheeradhara facial massages. After this brief consultation with the doctor, we headed to The Square for our breakfast buffet.
We chose to keep the breakfast light. But if you wish to go all heavy on breakfast, then their spread is a delight. From desi dishes to international flavours, the options are unlimited. The light breakfast was followed by a walk on the lawns before we visited Ayurbay for our next session. Dr Vishnu recommended Abhyanga from the Sushanthi section that comes with a full-body massage and a steam bath. The wellness centre accommodates three spa rooms named after elements of the earth. Inside the room, we were instantly takenby the rustic and vintage atmosphere. The ambience was set perfectly and it looked like a scene from a movie. Our session included a full body massage with warm oil — a concoction of Ayurvedic herbs that are believed to reduce bodily stress. The massage continued for 45 minutes and we felt the soreness loosening up. We then rushed for a quick steam bath, followed by a shower.
Since we could not get enough of the Ayurbay’s goodness, we decided to go for a quick herbal facial. And this experience, hands down has to be the most relaxing part of our staycation. The products used on our hands were purely organic and preservative-free, making the spa session wholesome.
What truly impressed us about Ayurbay was that it was a chemical-free experience. Dr Vishnu understands what our skin and body need and suggests treatments accordingly. Our allergies, food habits, skin type, hair problems, everything was taken into account. All the treatments have different prices, but the starting price is Rs. 1,000. Also, all the Bheemili resort guests get a 15-minute head or foot massages complimentary. A prior appointment or booking is required. The two sessions at The Ayurbay, built up our appetite. So, we quickly headed back to The Square. We didn’t hold back this time and chose the chicken noodle soup, broccoli salad, and cheesy chicken salad served with boiled green gram, for appetisers. For main course, we opted for a local delicacy. The spicy and flavourful Konaseema Kodi Pulao, cooked with succulent and juicy chicken, was our favourite part of the lunch.
After a leisurely afternoon, we took a quick nap and were ready for the evening. For an upscale dining experience, we headed to the resort’s private Japanese dining area, Teppanyaki. With a live-cooking counter, Chef Kona Gangadhar helped us choose interesting options from the menu. The restaurant is the perfect setting for a romantic date-night. We picked Horenso Gomaae, a blanched spinach salad with sesame dressing, Akka Miso Chicken Soup, Maki Zushi Sushi, stuffed with fish and spinach, Tori Shio-Yaki, a teppan seared chicken with sesame teriyaki sauce served with Mongolian Egg Rice. A traditional Jasmine Tea is served along with the food. While the food was heavenly, our favourite part was frying our own ice cream. The pan-fried ice cream had a generous coconut garnishing. The chef impressed us with this delectable dessert. The Teppanyaki menu starts from Rs. 1,499.
“Varun Beach Bheemili Resort, by Novotel, can easily qualify for your next luxurious vacay spot. The resort and The Ayurbay provide for a holistic experience you mustn't miss out,” says Ravi Rai, the cluster general manager at Novotel. The property also offers customised outdoor adventure activities like scuba diving and trekking. If rejuvenation is on your mind, then head out to Bheemili’s famous Rushikonda beach, which is just a few metres from the resort. In the blink of an eye, we had reached the end of our vacation and were on the way back to Hyderabad. Our minds were calmer and happier.
Stay at Varun Beach Bheemili Resort costs `7,999 + taxes per night
(The writer was at The Bheemili Resort by invitation.)