Visited: December 2020. Stayed for 3 days.
For us, a dream destination for a long weekend would be where both of us can keep our feet up & relax. Forget all about office deliveries and deadlines. Where the accommodation is nestled comfortably in the natural environment and not the other way around. Beautiful birds singing, feeding and dancing around us (tempting us to get our cameras out!). Weather, ‘just perfect’ – some sunshine with occasional cloud cover and a chill in the breeze, just enough for a light jacket. Food items and beverages, delicious and abundant. A team of staff members who host us as their own guests at home. Where we feel at home minus all the house work! 😀
We found this to be true in Anandvan resort located in Shendi village, Bhandardara. A town along the shores of Arthur Lake in Ahmednagar district, in the foothills of Kalsubai Mountain range (highest range and peak in Maharashtra). Its location keeps it cool all year round.
The advantage of sharing its borders with Kalsubai Harishchandra nature reserve is the ability to attract a large number of different bird species. Built on a hill, plantation of trees and shrubs is carefully planned in the resort which invites mixed avian hunting parties all throughout the day. Best part, we were able to watch rare birds and click their photographs from the comfort of our cottage and it’s garden. Flowering plants get large number of butterflies, bees and macro wild life. Lush green trees are full of fruits and other edibles for squirrels and other usual garden dwellers. There is no need to go anywhere once you check in! It’s a perfect example of a healthy ecosystem.
The placement of cottages in this resort is planned very well with enough privacy and luxury. They are very spacious & view from each room (and private garden) is exclusive. They are furnished with all amenities and are very clean/well sanitised. We stayed in lake view series of cottages. However they have tree houses overlooking the valley also. As stated earlier, this resort is built on a hill so accessing the higher rooms/cottages can be difficult for physically handicapped persons.
We had opted for the package with set buffet meals. The buffet menu is carefully picked with good number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes for all the meals. Dishes were prepared with care and were very delicious. Waiting staff was always ready to help with any food requirements and were very prompt and professional. Chef comes to each table to greet the guests and to take their feedback. The food here kept our taste buds working and enjoying the whole day. I suspect, there is an al LA cart menu and although all meals can be served in the room they appreciate guests coming to the restaurant for dinner at-least to enjoy the live music. We had all our meals in the restaurant and only asked for evening tea and pakodas (inclusive in the meal package) to be served in the room’s garden. We enjoyed them thoroughly along with a light drizzle and passing by clouds in the wind.
Staff was just perfect. Hospitable, polite, ever-smiling & helpful. COVID-19 prevention precautions were being followed by each one of them diligently & we felt very safe all throughout our stay. Mr Raj Patankar, although always busy with managing the resort, never failed to chat with us cheerfully and help us with information regarding the sights around the lake. Every single staff member from the chef to the waiter to housekeeper and to the lady sweeping the pathways and keeping the garden made us feel at home.
There is a well-marked trail from the back (or top) of the resort which can be taken for a hike till the top of the hill. It’s an outstanding vantage point to see the panorama of the valley and the lake in the centre. It’s not a very strenuous hike and only takes 20 mins or so to reach the top. Guide is available at the reception if informed beforehand. Ours was a spontaneous decision, so we did it without a guide. Watching the sunrise from here with coffee is a great start of the day.
Other amenities include a spa, a swimming pool and a club house with indoor games, usage of them was prohibited due to COVID-19 restrictions. Phone signal is low (BSNL & Airtel work best, Vodafone in patches) and wifi works when it works. It was fortunate for us, these restrictions almost forced us to do nothing. We took this opportunity to have conversations while enjoying the view, feeling the breeze on our faces, relaxing and unwinding.
Final verdict : We enjoyed each moment of our stay here at Anandvan resort & spa and will keep coming back for sure!
Essential information for booking stay in Anandvan resort, Bhandardara.
Website : www.anandvanresorts.com
Location link : https://g.page/AnandvanResort?share
Contact for current packages & costs : 074 000 50216
Special mention : It’s a pet friendly resort.
When to go : We went during winter months and it was pretty awesome. Looking at the location of this resort, monsoons will be good too. Summers, hard to say. It won’t be too bad – I suppose.
What to wear : It’s an upscale place, semi formal/smart casual would be great. Slightly warm jacket/shawl/sweater is a must.
How to reach: (from Mumbai) : Head on the road to Nashik (NH160) but turn towards Bhavli dam road from Pimpri phata, Igatpuri. Although it passes through villages and fields and winds/unwinds on the ghats, the quality of road is very good and scenic. There are multiple streams, waterfalls and rivers on the way which are great for breaks. If you are a birder, keep your eyes open!! There is another road from Ghoti, but it’s broken, it’s better to avoid that one. It takes close to 5 hours to reach the resort from Mumbai ( excluding the time you would spend on Bhavli dam picnicking! ).