Monsoon and road trip compliment each other really well. It gets even better when you decide to explore the natural beauty hidden behind the hustle and bustle of cities. The anxiety of finding a hidden gem at the end of the travel , makes the journey exciting.
Everyone is looking to explore new roads, new destinations, new resorts, and all this to get away from the regular work and to enjoy the time with family and friends.
The search for such a new experience ended with finding a resort named Kondan The Retreat. This is a 2 year old resort situated in the interiors of Pune district.
The drive from Mumbai to the resort is picturesque. Once you cross Lonavala and exit the express way then you have to drive through NH48 highway for approx 2 hours. There are some patches of road near Kanhe which will help you digest all that you have eaten. But when you are planning to visit the interiors then you need to be prepared accordingly. The greenery on either side of the road will nullify the trouble taken to wade through the potholes.
The scenic beauty gets better and better as you keep driving towards the destination. The road less taken will always have something special in store for you. Similarly the drive spanning 30 kms through a small road carved across the nature’s green blanket makes the drive interesting. The steep roads with the effect of rains make them look like waterfalls. So your heart will skip a beat when you actually get a glimpse of a natural waterfall flowing straight from the sky (as the fog covers the origin of the waterfall). I was awe stuck with the scenic beauty which kept unfolding in front of my eyes after each turn of the road.
Kondan The Retreat is a resort amidst the nature. The name ‘Kondan’ in Marathi language means a gem carved from stone. The place is majorly built from the stones excavated while creating the space for the resort. It is situated at Malegaon and right adjacent to a valley. It is a small resort with just 10 rooms. The first thing that you notice when you enter Kondan is the rustic charm of the resort.
The rooms are the highlight of Kondan. The moment you get inside the Tarangan category room (which is suitable for a couple or a family of 3) , I am sure you will walk past the room and enter the balcony. Unique styled balcony facing the valley has an antique style cloth chair and a hammock which is in built to the floor of the balcony. The room itself, as part of the cantilever structure, is protruding towards the valley , so when you lie on the hammock it is like lying in the nature’s lap. The flooring of the balcony is covered with artificial turf to make you feel that you are part of the green nature outside.
The brain behind this gem is Prashant Padwal. The Melbourne educated Talegoan based Prashant quit his corporate job in Australia and came back to India to build his dad’s dream project. He has patiently built this place with utmost care. It took him 6.5 years to construct the resort and another 3 years to get the infrastructure, road , etc ready. So 10 years of patience and perseverance has helped him and his family to present Kondan to the customers. The resort has already starting getting lot of accolades and has won an international award for being one of the best ‘Green Resort’.
The room has a cosy low floor double bed, a small coffee table and an attached bathroom. The rooms are also made with big stones and beautified with wooden interiors. So no painting is done inside the room. The flooring of the room is a mix of wood and concrete. The whole place will give the nostalgic feeling of childhood or younger days spent at your ancestral house. Lot of detailing has gone behind the designing of the room, interiors, accessories, etc. Even the cloth hangers are made of bamboo and you will find a small layer of marble pebbles attached to the floor at the entrance of the room. There is a bluetooth speaker in built in the room. It has all the basic amenities required like AC, small refrigerator, TV , kettle in the room and the bathroom is equipped with required toiletries, warm water, shower, etc.
Amrai is the second category of rooms. This category of room opens up to a completely new type of design. The one I have never seen in any hotels or resorts. Multi layered room with lot of steps in between the two floors. Perfect room for a family get together or a friends’ meet up. The steps add up as an amphitheatre. The room is equipped with a huge jacuzzi as well. You need to be careful about the steps while walking around in the room. The room has a double bed and can take upto 4~5 people in case you want to stay in a group. This set of rooms are pet friendly as well. Amrai doesn’t have a valley facing balcony.
The restaurant design is synonymous to the terrace/step irrigation. Five steps of open space is converted in to a restaurant with good ambience. It has an open view of the valley and has lot of small plants placed in the pathways. It is a great experience to relish your food , which is served hot, by watching the rain and the greenery.
The chef is from Rajasthan but he makes sure that you get a variety of cuisines from across the country. The live counter put up in the evening for dinner gives you lot of options as well. The restaurant serves buffet – breakfast, lunch, hi tea and dinner which are all part of the package. I am sure that you will be content with the taste of the food served here.
Most of staff are from the neighbourhood which is a Win Win situation for Prashant as well as the locals. Prashant helped in creating job and livelihood for them and in turn he gains the respect and support of the local people.
Kondan The Retreat is truly an Abode in the midst of nature. A great place to visit if you like to enjoy the nature and its surroundings. If you are lucky then you can spot peacocks in the valley. The infinity pool adds to the beauty of this place.
The resort will soon be in expansion mode and as per Prashant if everything goes as per plan then Kondan will have 35 rooms by the end of 2020. This will include honeymoon suites, family rooms, etc.
“Two roads diverged in a wood and – I took the one less travelled by.” – Robert Frost
Some points to remember to make your stay trouble free :-
– Be prepared to see small flies , insects near your room.
– Close the curtains and use dim lights in the evening so that you don’t attract the insects from the Valley.
– Carry anti insect repellent and even a mosquito bat though it may not be required.
– No or minimal network connectivity. So inform your near and dear ones not to worry for couple of days even in case they cannot contact you.
– Carry a jacket , evenings tend to get cold
– The place mostly runs on generator due to constant power outage. But you will not face any problems.
– Don’t expect services similar to a five star hotel but there are enough courteous manpower to take care of your requirements.
– In case of any concern or help required, reach out to Shrikant. He is always around to take care of your needs.
Malegaon , Pimpri, Maval Taluka, Pune
Navigation : Follow Google maps instructions
Other Amenities include a table tennis board, carrom, single basketball board, ‘backyard tennis -the game with ball tied to a vertical stand’, taboo card game.
Contact Details : firstname.lastname@example.org , +919881121118
Tip for room selection : Tarangan rooms have better view. Amrai is meant for bigger families or group of friends.