After referring to ‘52 Weekend Getaways from Mumbai’, I shortlisted Lavasa as our holiday destination in the winters of 2012. And since then, I have visited this place thrice. Not for Lavasa per se, but because of my experience at Ekaant – the retreat. Ekaant is a small 20 room holiday resort perched on one of the seven hills which surround the city of Lavasa. In my post on Lavasa Women’s Drive, I did mention that the city is designed on the same lines as Italian city Portofino and gives you a feeling that you are in some part of Europe.
Lavasa is itself ideal for people who want to do nothing on a holiday. No site seeing, no trekking, no activity at all. It is meant for those who need to slow down their pace from the busy lives in Mumbai. It is for those who just want to relax! It has a man-made lake which supports water sports and a club which has a restaurant right at the pier. The promenade alongside the water front is a pleasant walk and the shops and multi-cuisine restaurants along the promenade are ideally suited for such chilled-out vacation. Lavasa is 240 Kms away from Mumbai and takes around 4 hours’ drive to reach the city centre. It has very steep climbs and the faint hearted shouldn’t try driving down there.
Ekaant is away from the main Lavasa city centre/waterfront (10 minutes’ drive). It is right at the entrance of the city on the hill top and has some breathtaking views of the Warasgaon lake. It has ample of (open) parking space and you can witness the best sunset view right from their parking. All the rooms open to the lake view, though rooms on the first floor are better as they have attached balcony. In the monsoons, don’t keep the French windows of your room open, lest you want the clouds to float inside your room and drench it in frost. The rooms have excellent décor, are clean and well-maintained. The rooms are airy and have sufficient natural light. The bathrooms are well-equipped, but don’t have bathtubs. Ekaant has been decorated on the lines of old-colonial bungalows with high roof, wooden panels and stone finish to their walls. The reception area is massive and has enough waiting area. The landscaping done around the property is beautiful, though not exceptional. There is a children’s play area at the back of the property. The best part is the man-made Nature’s Trail which is adjoining the property. You can simply walk up the trail and wander around amidst trees, chirping birds, croaking frogs and sneaky chameleons. The best time to visit this place is during monsoons (not late monsoons as the lake water gets muddy) or in the winters. A dam controls the lake water and the lake is usually full around this time.
Ekaant booking is easy and has two options. One includes stay with breakfast and the other includes stay with all meals. Meals are arranged in their restaurant called Vyanjan which serves buffet meals throughout the day. We always go for stay with breakfast, as we like to try out restaurants at the waterfront and in Lavasa club at other meal times. The club restaurant serves Chinese and Continental cuisine and it’s an experience in itself to sip a glass of wine, eat a good meal right at the pier and watch water sports enthusiasts zip around in the lake on water scooters. Vyanjan also serves buffet lunch and dinner. The breakfast in Vyanjan has a lavish spread which includes cold cuts, eggs to order as well as Indian options like Idli, Wada, etc. The food is decent but the best part about this restaurant is the view. Vyanjan has glass walls and because of its location, it provides a panorama of the surrounding natural beauty.
Room service is a little sluggish, especially in the early morning. It is costly; Rs 5500-6000 per night for a room with breakfast. There is not much activity in the resort where you can indulge. (No spa, swimming, etc.) It sells out fast especially during weekends, so you need to book much in advance.
All said and done, it is a favorite place to stay in Lavasa with many, not only us mortals but the stars also like to stay here than the waterfront area. Recently, Salman Khan stayed at Ekaant when he came to shoot a song for his movie ‘Jai Ho’. Other than him, celebs like Diya Mirza, yester year star Waheeda Rahman, Vivek Oberoi and many others keep on frequenting this beautiful resort.
My verdict: Ideal place to chill out, look into nothingness, and rest your body, soul and mind. A must visit, if you are heading to Lavasa.