As soon as school holiday list comes in, the first thing I do is check all the long weekends and planmy weekend breaks. A four day weekend like the one we had in March for Holi and Good Friday is a golden opportunity that I would hate to miss. However, since we had shifted back home and the renovation work was still not complete, I had nothing planned for the long weekend. Hubby however, felt that I really needed and deserved a break but by then almost all the resorts that we usually go to were all fully booked. That’s when I remembered a resort that we had been thinking of going to since quite a while but hadn’t…..the Upper Deck Resort which is situated at the highest point in Lonavala, and I decided to see if there were rooms available there. They did and so, off we went, with some friends, for a weekend of rest and relaxation. Read on to know more about this resort…..
Review of The Upper Deck Resort Lonanvala
The Upper Deck Resort is truly situated away from the hustle and bustle of Lonavala town – away from all the bunglows and hotels where you will inevitably bump into so many people you know that you will wonder if you ever left Bombay at all. At the Upper Deck, you are far from the maddening crowd and you can enjoy the hill station for what it really entails – hills, valleys and the lake. Since it is at a height, the mobile networks too, are very dicey here with barely any coverage in the rooms to some connectivity in the open areas. It is a good way to escape from the daily digital noise of sms, whatsapp, twitter, fb, snapchat and all the other apps that form a part of our daily grind. To our disappointment, however, a large part of the resort was under renovation and we had to bear the drilling noise that quite disturbed the peace and serenity of the resort.
Once you exit the Express Highway and enter Lonavala, the route up to the resort would take you about 20-25 minutes. I had read several reviews mentioning the terrible condition of the access road (the last 5km to the resort) but thankfully, the roads were in pretty good condition. Well, pretty much the same as Bombay roads that we are so used to. However, you need to be careful during that last 3-4 km since there are several hutments on the the side of the road and the children there play on the roads.
The Upper Deck Resort is a boutique property with 58 rooms (Delux Rooms, Cottage and Pavillion rooms) and no matter which room you choose, you will get a fabulous view – either of the hills or the Rajmachi fort or of the Valvan dam. The Cottages that we had chosen had balconies overlooking the gardens and the pool and beyond those, the surrounding hills. I can only imagine how beautiful the green hills would look in the monsoons with the clouds playing peek-a-boo with them.
The rooms are done up with very simple furniture in shades of beige and brown. The balconies of the cottage are a great place to unwind with a cup of coffee and soak in the beautiful views. The balconies, however, aren’t individual ones but a long, continuous one connecting all the rooms with just a carved wooden partition to give each room a bit of privacy. However, if there is a big group of people in any of the rooms, then the privacy is affected. One afternoon, while hubby and I were sitting in the balcony we saw a father-son duo peacefully playing chess in the balcony of their room – such a delightful sight.
All you feel like doing in this summer heat is to splash around in the pool. The Upper Deck has quite a big swimming pool overlooking the valley and an outdoor jacuzzi too. However, both were closed for refurbishment when we went. The health club too, was undergoing renovation as was the recreation center. All the other recreational facilities like Table Tennis, Foosball and carom had been shifted to a banquet hall and the children had fun playing there.
There is also an outdoor play area for the kids and wide open lawns where they can run around and just have a good time. On weekends, the resort also arranges for entertainment such as a magic show or karaoke or even call a DJ over. They also arrange for Nature Walks for the guests when requested in advance.
The Upper Deck has a multi-cuisine restaurant called Quarterdeck, with an amazing view. It is, in fact, the only restaurant in the resort and this is where all the buffet meals are laid out as well. The buffet spreads are quite nice offering a good selection for vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians with one live station during each meal.
When visiting the Upper Deck Resort, the best option is to opt for the all-meals plan (especially if you don’t intend to leave the resort at all) since the a la carte prices are quite exorbitant for the kind of property this is.
This is one area where the Upper Deck needs to improve a bit. While most of the staff is experienced and very courteous and polite, the same can’t be said for the trainees who look confused when asked for something. A couple of times, I had to repeat my request twice before they understood it or had to tell them in Hindi. Not a very major thing and I guess the new staff is being trained now so that things run smoothly once the peak season starts (which for Lonavala is the monsoons) and once the entire resort is fully refurbished.
The Upper Deck Lonavala is a beautiful property which would look even prettier in the monsoons and once all the refurbishment of the facilities is complete. The location of the pool and the views from the rooms, restaurant and lawns are simply fabulous. The food is good too with quite a nice spread during all meals. I would certainly love to go back once the pool and the jaccuzzi and all other refurbishments are completed and when the hills are lush and verdant after the rains. If you want some peace and quite, want to escape the crowds and incessant phone calls and messages, then this is the place to go to.