Looking for a short break in Lonavala? Check out this luxury property near Pawan Lake
Designed to offer a rich experience, Hilton ShillimEstate Retreat has a host of activities, apart from some luxurious villas and rooms
Lonavala, the hill station near Mumbai is such a popular destination that often there are big crowds from the city flocking to it for a weekend getaway. It's like, if you've been Delhi, you ought to visit Agra. So if you are a Mumbaikar, you would have visited this picturesque destination at least once in your life. Obviously, what could be better than heading out of the city on a long, scenic drive to Lonavala. But if you are a luxury traveller or someone who is difficult to please, then Lonavala may not be the first destination on your list of local travel escapades.
But now there's a reason to head to this tiny hill station. It's the newly opened Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa that offers not just a comfortable stay but also stunning views of the verdurous ghat section.
Nestled in the deep jungles of Lonavala, in the Shilimb district, and in close proximity to the gorgeous Pawna lake, this 320-acre property is a popular destination among the who’s who of the entertainment industry. If you are a Netflix addict, then you will be surprised to know that the trailer of Raveena Tandon’s web series Aranyak was launched here. This is also one of Sara Ali Khan's favourite spot, and while we were here for our shot vacay, we ran into Mirzapur actor Divyenndu Sharma who was here for a break. Here's a report of how we spent an unforgettable weekend.
After a swift check-in, we were driven to our pool villa in one of their Nano cars pool villa. Spread across 210 sq mt, it features an expansive leaving area, a cosy bedroom and an elaborate bathing area alongside a private pool and a garden.
Designed to offer a rich experience, it had plenty of spots for one to relax and indulge in a host of activities, whether you want to ‘Netflix and chill’ and call in for a dine-in service in the drawing-room or have a drink by the pool. There is also a quaint corner overlooking the valley right next to the living room that ended up becoming our spot to have a hot cup of tea the next morning.
While the room has a lot to indulge guests, they are plenty of outdoor activities as well. The reception desk hands over a schedule at the time of check-in, which lists all of them. While some of them like Shillim Forest Walk, Lake View Trek, Wellness Talk and Yoga are complementary. There are activities like Pilates, Shillim Peak Trek and Tibetan Bowl, which are available on a chargeable basis.
When it comes to the food, the property has three options - Terrazo, a multi-cuisine restaurant; Mountain Bar and Resort, an Italian bistro; and The Green Table (currently shut for renovation), a spa restaurant that serves Mediterranean and Indian delights made using their own produces. Since wellness is an integral part of Hilton Shillim, we ended up ordering a wellness Thali for ourselves (need prior booking). Featuring cucumber-tomato koshimbir (salad), a paneer sabzi, a bowl of mix veg, a bowl of dal, a portion of rice served with one jowar (sorghum) and one ragi chapati were neatly served in a thali. We rounded up the meal with shira (halwa) made using jaggery. It ended up satiating us fully, without making us feel stuffed. For evening, we explored their Italian restaurant, which offers alfresco seating and is ideal during sunset and afterwards. We ordered for bruschetta, their signature thin-crust pizza, Tiramisu but the one dish that impressed us the most was their Kale salad. A warm salad comprising of quinoa, dried cranberries, pecan and kale with balsamic vinegar on the side, it had the right amount of crunch and flavours, and we would recommend you to try it too.
Another thing one must check out is their personalised Dharana wellness programmes that offer meditation, yoga, award-winning spa among other activities/services (The Green Table is where guests enrolled in their wellness programmes have their meals). At Dharana, we tried their vanoushadi therapy, a 60-minute spa service. Prior to the spa, guests have to fill a form mentioning their aches or illness if any and areas they want their masseuse to focus on. After this, the message, given using their in-house oil, is customised. It was so relaxing that this writer ended up passing out every then and now. The only negative point is that there is no shower room so one has to dress up and go back to their own room for the post-massage shower. That bit apart, it was relaxing, allowing us to sleep like a baby, waking up after good nine hours, feeling energised and ready to face the damn-Monday and the rest of the weekdays.
Since the property is so expansive and the roads the steep and narrow, the only mode of commute apart from walking is by the in-house car, which is Tata’s once-an-ambitious-project, Nano car. The hotel has about 20 cars for travel within the premises, and irrespective of your room category, this is the only car at your disposal.
Apart from the pool villa, the property has four other kinds of rooms - The Presidential Villa, which has three bedrooms and can accommodate up to 6 guests, The Forest Villa, which gives one obstruction-free forest view and Valley and Deluxe Valley rooms.
While you can book a stay at Hilton Shillim at Rs 17,000+ taxes per night, their pool villa costs Rs 37,000+ taxes per night and the prices of their Presidential Villa can go up to Rs 1.6 lakh+ taxes per night.