Even as I sit to write this post, I wish I could go back to last saturday, where at precisely this moment, hubby and I were relaxing in the awesome jacuzzi in the balcony of the Burmese Chalet at Aamby Valley City. Beautiful landscapes, luxurious accomodations, fine dine restaurants to rival even the best in Bombay and so many things to do that a weekend is simply not enough! And best of all, this isn’t just a “hotel” or a “resort” – it is actually a little town where you stay at one end, go for your meals to another and activities elsewhere. Read on to know more about this fabulous weekend getaway destination…..
About Aamby Valley City
“Aamby Valley City – Created for the love of life – is a township developed by the Sahara India Parivar 120km from the city of Mumbai in the hills above the popular hill station, Lonavala. It is spread over 10,600 acres of hilly terrain. It is one of Indias best planned city and has been a trendsetter in urban planning and environmental and landscape design . 3 large man made lakes have been created by constructing dams . The largest lake is 1.5 km in length . It also boasts of a PGA 18 hole golf course . This city was designed and master planned by Gruen -Bobby Mukherji & Associates in the year 2003.”
In May, since we couldn’t take a longer holiday due to home renovations and mom-in-law’s health, we took a small break in Aamby Valley City – a holiday there that happened after a gap of a few years. And loved it so much that in July, for my hubby’s 40th birthday, I planned another holiday there; but an even more luxurious one this time round.
Since this is a township, all the accomodations are spread out across the city in little clusters. From the Spanish Cottages to the uber-luxurious Hermitage, space is the one thing that is in abundance here and the decor in all the rooms / cottages / chalets reflect refined elegance.
When we went to Aamby Valley in May, we stayed in the Aussie Room – spacious rooms in pinewood chalets that offer an extremely cosy ambience and a lovely balcony to relax and enjoy the view. Those of you who follow me on Snapchat (handle indianshringar) would have seen videos of the Aussie Room. It is perfect for two adults and two kids because the sofa in the room opens up to make a comfortable double bed for the brats.
In July, since it was hubby’s birthday, I wanted something more lavish, more luxurious and decided to book the Cabana (cottages on stilts with a private plunge pool). All the Cabanas were under refurbishment, however, so I opted for the Burmese Chalet. And it was one of the bestest holidays I’ve ever had. The Burmese Chalet has a large patio with a sit-out area and a jacuzzi overlooking the lush, verdant hills. The bathroom was equally gorgeous with a shower cubicle, bath tub and an outdoor rain shower. Bathing under the outdoor shower with warm water while cool raindrops fall all around you is an incredibly sensual experience.
Besides these, you also have the option of staying in a Spanish Cottage (which is the entry-level room at Aamby Valley), the Aussie Suite (similar to the Aussie Room but with a separate living room and a jacuzzi) or the uber-luxe Hermitage (lavish two-bedroom pinewood chalets).
Since all these cottages and chalets are spread out over the Aamby Valley City, you have to call for a golf-cart / car (depending on where you are staying) to take you to the restaurants / reception / pool or anywhere else you might want to go. This means that during peak season you do have to wait a while for the cart/car to arrive. You could also drive your own car but you can’t take it beyond certain points. For short distances, like from the Aussie Room to the pool / reception walking is a good option since you get to enjoy the beautiful landscape around you and get a bit of exercise too.
“From the rich culinary heritage of the subcontinent to the continental and oriental dishes, spanning Indian (Hyderabadi, South Indian, Punjabi, Awadhi, Goan, Maharashtrian, Mughlai, Bengali, Gujarati, Rajasthani and more), Continental, Oriental and Mediterranean (Lebanese, Spanish, Moroccan & Greek), the award-winning restaurants serve you delectable creations that tickle your gastronomic experience.”
Two days aren’t enough to sample all the gastronomy that Aamby Valley City has to offer. And no matter where you choose to dine, your tastebuds are in for a treat.
With a relaxed and warm vibe, Woodpecker is the all-day restaurant at Aamby Valley City. It serves lavish, multi-cuisine buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch and has a la carte options as well. This is the only restaurant that serves breakfast so be prepared for long queues in the morning as you wait for a table. I hope that Aamby Valley City offers another option for visitors to have their breakfast because during high occupancy days, the seating capacity of this otherwise spacious restaurant is extremely inadequate.
The food is delicious and there is something for everyone here – various salads, Indian dishes, Continental, Oriental and a fab dessert spread. They also have live counters ranging from Dosa and egg preparations during breakfast time to pasta and the like during dinner. Needless to say, the kids love eating at Woodpecker.
If your love Gujarati / Rajasthani cuisine, then you simply MUST dine at Manuhaar. Mind you the restaurant is small so be prepared to wait a bit before you get a table. But trust me, the wait is worth it. I’m not a fan of Thali since that is essentially everyday gujju food for me but I loved the Thali here. There is something very important missing in this picture and that is the Daal Baati. If you like this typical Rajasthani dish (which I don’t) then Manuhaar is the place for you. Hubby said it was the best Daal Baati he had in years!
When you enter Mabruk, the Mediterranean fine dining restaurant that offers delectable Lebanese, Turkish, Moroccan and Greek dishes, you would perhaps want to take a minute (or ten) to simply admire the stunning decor. It is beautifully done up with a Shamiana-style draped ceiling, carved wooden panels, brightly coloured velvet cushions and Morrocan lamps. And when the food arrives, you will find that it is just as fabulous as the decor. I can’t wait to go back to Aamby Valley and dine here in winter when they open up the al-fresco area to accomodate several private dining tents. How incredibly romantic!
I had to save the best for the last; Namak is not just mine, but even hubby’s and the kids’ favourite restaurant at Aamby Valley City! Yes, even the boys who love junk food. This is Indian food, the likes of which was served in royal courts of yore. Bursting with flavour and yet not overly spiced, our lunch here tantalised our taste buds to such an extent that my kids ask me when next would we be dining at Namak!
The kabab platter, the vegetable, the flaky, aromatic zafraani paratha and saunfiya biryani – just remembering our lunch there makes my mouth water. We didn’t feel like driving back to Bombay after that meal – we just felt like going back to the chalet for a bit of siesta. Oh, and let me not forget the gulab jaamun – that soft, sweet, melt-in-the-mouth jaamun garnished with slivers of roasted almond – each bite of it made me go mmmmm. It would actually be a sin to go to Aamby Valley and not dine here at least once!
As I said, two days here aren’t enough since we didn’t have an opportunity to dine at Aafrein (the Kabab speciality restaurant) or Curry Coast (Coastal Cuisine) nor did we have time to unwind at Seven Sports Bar or The Legend (the English Pub)(since the kids were with us). Not that I am complaining since that simply gives me an excuse to holiday at this beautiful place once more.
And talking about kids – especially those who crave their weekly quota of pizza and garlic bread, you have MIA (Made In Aamby) sumptous pizzas and mozerella breads delivered hot to your room to satiate the kids’ hunger pangs.
This has turned out to be a massive post so I shall do another one on things to do in Aamby Valley City. Do let me know in the comments if you have been to Aamby and which is your favourite restaurant there.