Travelogue: The Ark Wellness Retreat

If you are looking for a place to go and relax; kind of de-toxicate, then Ark Wellness Retreat, off Paud, on Paud Lonavala road, is the right place to be. 

Our daily chores keeps us busy all week long, so when we planned our vacation, we wanted to go to a place, where we will not have to get up and go visit echo point, or lovers point or suicide point etc. All we wanted was a nice and cozy place to go and relax. We would be fine to not go out of the resort at all and just stay put in the room or roam around the resort and literally do nothing.

Ark’s website looked promising and so did the rooms. The place is just about a year old and extremely well maintained, so looks the same as you would see in the pictures. I called the resort and the person on the other side was very patient to explain the various options and the facilities available. They have only 8 rooms of which 4 of Deluxe and 4 Standard. Both rooms are good, well maintained and with good interiors. The deluxe rooms are bigger in size and have a sitting area to sit and watch TV comfortably. Also the additional space allows any extra mattress to also be easily placed in the room. Since our plans were to spend most time in the room, we decided to go for the bigger one so that it would be more comfortable. The package includes room charges, breakfast, lunch, evening tea and snacks and dinner.

The place is about 30 km from my place (in Wakad). We took the road from Hinjewadi going to Pirangut via Maan village, past Kumar Megapolis and touches the Mulshi road in Pirangut, opposite the road leading to Lavasa. Need to take a right on Mulshi road and drive towards Paud. At Paud, just after the ST bus stand, take a right going towards Nanegaon, Kolvan etc. Girivan is a pretty well landmarked resort on this road and if you reach its diversion then you have gone a bit too far. Unfortunately there no sign boards for this resort on this road, all the way till when you need to actually take a right turn. The board is bang on the turn and if you are not cautious, you can miss it. If you reach Chinmaya Vibhooti then you have missed the turn. The turn is about 10 km from Paud and after you take the turn, you drive about 1 km on kaccha road.

Driving on this road, we were wondering if we were really going to right place and how the place really will be. Going past a few local villager’s homes, we finally saw a parking board and immediately next to it the resort gate. You can drive into the compound and get your things out at reception and then need to get your car back outside and park in this parking area. Don’t worry. The place is pretty safe and they lock the gate outside the parking at night (though it offers only a little protection). The first view of the resort and the reception area was pretty grand and immediately the fear of this place receded. As you enter the resort, the entire ground floor is all kinds of sitting area with reception in one corner, the kitchen and dining area in another and the tea lounge in another. In the center is the swimming pool. All the 8 rooms are on the first floor, but don’t worry, If you need, there is a small lift as well (mostly for use by those who cannot climb up to first floor).

I have never seen a resort structure like this one. Most places try to maximize the # rooms they can build apart from the open area outside of the resort building. But here apart from the entire ground floor, which was just open sitting area, even on the first floor, between the rooms there were places for sitting and maybe having a cup of tea. Tea maker and relevant material was placed in these areas as well. Our room, D1 overlooked their fish pond area, which is a big pond at the back. Didn't see too many fishes in in though. Both inside and outside of the first floor are big inclined iron rods, on which the roof rests and in between at regular intervals, there are seats built into the structure. So looks like the place has been designed to visitors to just go and sit anywhere and enjoy.

They have a big herbal garden right at the entrance, and this results in some really nice fragrance all around this place. We had a walk in their herbal garden and one of their staff members explained it all to us. They have over 20 different types of herbs and it was really amazing to get to know about them. We even tasted many of these, and probably that helped us disinfect ourselves in the process. At side is a big fish pond (that we could see from our room as well) and all around it is a walking/jogging path. There is good amount of plantation all around. Some is already grown well and some is in its early stages. They have a big kitchen garden as well which is used to get some of their daily needs, though they do purchase daily fresh vegetables from Pirangut.

So as you relax at this place, you can additionally explore the various spa options that they have. They have separate men and women sections and a good option of what you may want to get done. There is a small library, which is also the tea lounge. Near the dining area there is a typical Jhoola that you can sit on and just outside at the back is a small setup that has a TT table and a carom board and doubles up a conference room, if required.

The place is pretty laid back and all work gets done in a relaxed environment. The breakfast starts roughly by 9 am and apart from the servings for the day, there is always eggs to order. The lunch can start anytime between 1.30 pm to 2.00 pm. It has a dal, 2 veg sabzis, roti, rice option and 1 non-veg dish. So nothing like your regular lavish buffet, but very good taste (homelike) and at least we found this better than having some 50 option to try and eat from. Evening tea is from 5.30 pm and has some snacks like pakodas, finger chips etc. You can request for herbal tea, which mostly results in him serving you green tea, but that is still good. We had it mostly and enjoyed it. Even my kid loved it. Dinner is almost after 9 pm and is similar to lunch, but is usually a bit more interesting, with soup and multiple starters and whatever we had in our days there, we loved it all. All very different kind of starters and just awesome.

Though the place is pretty isolated and you would mostly spend your time at the resort itself, but still if you want to venture out, you can visit Hadshi temple, which is about 10 km from the resort or go to Pawna dam, which is 20 kms. The drive to Pawna is pretty straight (after coming back to the main road from the resort, go to your right and continue on the same road) and good in bits and places, especially when you are on the hill top and can see Pawna river on one side and the dam right in front. There isn't a place to really stop and look at the dam. From the hill top on the way, there is a diversion (towards left) which goes to Tung fort, in case you are the trekking kind. We had been to Hadshi in an earlier trip, so just drove to Pawna and took some pictures on the way and were back in time for lunch.

The hotel didn't seem to have any cold drinks to offer. The weather was still on the cooler side so this wasn't an issue and at night the temperature dipped further. I guess this place is easily 3-4 oC lower than Pune city's temperature. Some of the guests seemed to have brought their own helping of drinks that they put in the resorts fridge to chill them.

There are 1-2 issues also with this place. The first is that every deluxe room has an internal door sharing with the standard room. If it is the same family, it is good to have, but if different, while the lock the door, it still doesn't provide a sound proof separation. Unfortunately for us, we had a couple next to us, that strongly believed in their singing skills and I must credit them for their stamina for singing. The first day they started to sing sometime in the afternoon and kept on singing till 11.30 pm (with relevant breaks in between), when I had finally knock on the door and ask them to kindly reduce their volume. We might have better tolerated this had they shown some basic ability in singing. The next day, we were spared of their singing, but that was only because they were hooked onto the cricket match.

The other issue is that while the food is good and we liked the limited choice menu, but they don’t have hot plates. So if you get delayed a bit or if the weather is cold, as it was during out stay, the food also gets cold pretty fast.

Apart from these two small items, everything about this place is good and I will re-iterate that it is a prefect getaway for a pure leisure weekend trip. 

Comments

  1. Hello..Nice blog post. :) Lonavala is a scenic hill station offering picturesque views. Some of the popular places to visit in Lonavala are Pawna Lake, Karla Caves, Lonavala Lake and Duke’s Nose. Also for reasonable staying options, check out these hotels in Lonavala.

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  2. Hi admin do you know there is an amazing Wellness Retreat in Goa, India. And you know its Right on the Beach.

    ReplyDelete

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