La Petit Maison, Lonavla

Caution! This page is loaded with irresistible pictures that can entice you to pack your bags and head off to Lonavla the immediate week-end.
Gosh! This place is infectious!

La Petit Maison, as different as it sounds, is a dainty bungalow clandestined on the slopes in the picturesque location of Lonavla. The exteriors are guaranteed to get you ricocheting into the black and white days when the fairy-tale movies ruled our hearts and our summer vacays.

The rustic, old-style iron gate opens to this world of bliss and tranquility, the bright bougainvilleas festooning the already divine environs.
The Bungalow
The wrought iron swirling staircase in this picture is redolent of Rapunzel peeping out of her window. This actually opens into the kitchen.
Stars
Accommodation – We booked the Glass Room (Rs. 3800 per night) where the walls are made of glass and the view is breathtaking. The room is big enough to accommodate 3 people. Extra bed is chargeable.
Glass Room
Mirror mirror on the wall – The middle one actually slides open to the toilet.Table
The view – Isn’t that relaxing…
Room View
Toilet – Big vintage mirror adorning the cobblestoned wall and a glass bath cabin. Everything so tastefully done! There’s hot and cold water throughout the day. The bath products, you need to carry.

Glass toilet
Dining – The bungalow has a common dining area. The caretakers, Mr. Dagdu and his wife live in a petite out-house along with their little girl and are here whole day.
Breakfast menu is fixed – poha / upma / omlette, toasted bread, butter and jam and a cup of tea/coffee.
Although there are many dining options outside, Mrs. Dagdu can cook you a homemade meal (veg or non-veg) if you wish. But that comes at a cost. Rs. 50 per head as the cooking charges. Ingredients – you can either buy all the essentials on your own, or pay Rs. 150 as autofare and Dagdu will source them for you, the cost of which you have to pay later.
We dined out.
Dining
Oh the sopophoric Verandah! – Just sit down, soak in the sun and do your best at doing nothing at all…or may be just sip a cuppa and let the nature take over you.
Verandah
Garden – Give your weary feet a chance to meditate. Toss away those shoes for a therapeutic walk on the greens while the birds sing for you. Can anything be more relaxing!
Garden

The Bungalow has two other rooms which are also rented out. But this weekend we were lucky to have the entire place to ourselves. No other guests had checked in.

Lounge Room – The main door opens to a huge lounge room, equipped with old-style wooden furniture, sofas and a television. The paintings adorning the walls ooze the warmth of the bygone era. I specially loved the one of the villagers dating back to 17th century…the days when Konkan was spelled as Concan.
Living Room
Suite Rooms – Two suites (each Rs. 5000 per night) are located inside the main part of the bungalow and can easily accommodate 3 – 4 people.
Each of them is tastefully done with light pastel colours, matching upholstery and vintage furniture. Both are connected to the lounge, kitchen and balcony.

Suite 1 –
Room2
Bath2
Suite 2 –

Room3

Bath3
Amenities – Ample parking space, 24 hours hot water, garden, kitchen, common television (only in the lounge room), in-house library, care taker at your service.

Commuting – The resort being tucked in the interior and at a considerable distance from the main road, its good to have your own vehicle for commuting. Auto-rickshaws are another option.
Market is just a couple of kilometres away.

My Say – Adults, specially couples, will love the place. It offers all that you need to unwind and rejuvenate – peace and tranquility amidst nature.
There’s too little for children to do here.

We enjoyed the silent weekend before heading back to the cacophonous city for another busy week.
(http://www.lapetitemaisonlonavala.com)

GS Resorts, Velankanni, Tamil Nadu

Away from the clattering of vehicles yet situated on the main road, your search for peace and tranquility ends here. Wake up to the chirping of some rare winged-fauna and see the sun rise in its full glory from straight across the road. Squirrels prance and chameleons cavort, giving your eyes a lovely visual treat.
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Reception: Mr. Bose, is a kind gentleman. He helped us with our early check-in.
Reception2
Villas: There are around seven villas, strategically spaced out with around five rooms in each villa.
Villas1There’s ample parking space.
Villas2
Multicuisine Restaurant: Amutham Restaurant serves buffet meals. A la carte option is supposedly available for lunch and dinner. However, it was stopped for that weekend during our stay. Long weekend could be the reason.
Breakfast has the traditional South Indian favorites – Uttappam, Upma, Puri Bhaji, etc.
They charge Rs. 300/- pp for buffet lunch which comprised of veg and chicken soup, mutton  curry, a paneer vegetable, Chettinad fish curry, rice, chapattis and payassam for dessert. Most of the items were cold and bland. A total turn-off even for a humble gastronome!

Thumbs up for their coffee which makes up for all the drawbacks above. Its fabulous and a must-have!
Restaurant The top right corner area near the bricked wall is the buffet area.

Rooms: Categories are Deluxe, Superior, Executive and Suite. All the rooms are AC.
We’d booked Deluxe Double AC with an extra chargeable mattress for two nights. The room was pleasant with view of lush green fields and swaying coconut trees. Sole relief from the sweltering heat outside!
Room1
The satellite LCD TV plays mostly all the South Indian channels.
Room2
Toilet was spacious. Toothpaste, toothbrush and hair oil were provided apart from the bath linen. Attention to detail, must say!
Room3
View from the room:
Balcony view
Amenities:
Ample parking space, 24 hours water, hot water during specified hours, generator backup, laundry, children’s park, STD/ISD facility, free accommodation for drivers, auto/cab on request.

Commuting:
The sole purpose of  our trip was to visit the Velankanni Church, a holy basilica, which according to the website is just 2 kms away from the resort.
It was when we actually traveled in the auto and spoke to the auto-drivers that we realized, its around 4-5 kms. Autos charge Rs. 150/- one way and cabs Rs. 200/-. That make commuting expensive unless you have your own vehicle. The reception can reserve them for you on request.

Summing Up:
Rooms are cool and pleasant. Room service is excellent, staff is friendly, prompt and helpful. Amenities are adequate. Food is pathetic. Commuting expensive (not if you have your own vehicle).

Ocean Palms, Goa

Ocean Palms is a 4 star eco-friendly resort that’s situated off the main Calangute road. Being in the midst of the hustle-bustle yet away from the noise, this resort is a perfect getaway for a comfortable, affordable and leisure stay.
Its just a few minutes walk from the Calangute beach, 45 kms from the airport, 16 kms from the nearest railway station and around 12 kms from the capital city, Panaji.
We’d been here in the month of February for our anniversary which collides with the Valentines Day. So got to be a part of the wonderful celebrations that the hotel had planned to celebrate love!

HotelExterior
We had booked the Palm Room for 3 nights. The rooms are spacious with ceiling to floor windows promising a view of the lush green trees in the hotel compound. The intention is to welcome more of natural light inside the room and thus save electricity. You can spend hours lounging on the sit-out, doing nothing but enjoying the view with a cuppa coffee.
PalmRoom1
Rooms are painted in pale colours that add to the brightness. The golden-brown upholstery gives a regal look to the rooms. The rooms are well-equipped with AC, mini-fridge, wardrobe, ironing board with iron, LCD TV, tea-coffee maker, electronic safe and complimentary bottled water.
PalmRoom2
The toilets are done up well and squeeze in as much natural light as they can. We were told that the soap and shampoo provided here were all herbal, a produce of the local market. That’s what I call, an eye to every minute detail of eco-friendliness!
Washroom
Amenities include Nautilus, a multi-cuisine restaurant with attached bar and lounge area. There is also a fitness centre, kids corner and a spa.

This spa room has my story to tell. I befriended Marie who had attended to me. She was a native of Kerala and was employed here. In that 2 hour spa session, I learnt a lot about Marie and her background. She used to visit her family in Kerala only once a year for only  for couple of weeks. That’s a major commitment to work, isn’t it!
The next day, I looked out for her, but she was on leave. So I left her the Valentines gift that I’d received from the hotel – a chocolate hamper, something I otherwise wouldn’t part with 🙂 . I also wrote her a letter and left her my mail-id.
Couple of days after returning to Mumbai, I received a mail from Marie acknowledging my letter and the gift. She loved the chocolates and also shared them with her colleagues.  Such things are my way of finding true happiness 🙂
SpaRoom
If this ain’t enough relaxation, there’s the swimming pool to laze around or have a dip in its clear blue waters.
SwimmingPool
The hotel, specially the pool area was all decked up with red, heart-shaped balloons for Valentines celebrations and red-dress code to match.  A DJ and emcee completed the do. There was also a lavish spread of a multi-cuisine buffet. Para, Goan-style pickle made of sun-dried, salted mackerel with some exotic spices, was the one I relished the most. You wont believe, but even now, while writing this, my mouth is watering already with the memory of its hot and tangy flavour.
Love was all around in the air. I wished my hubby had proposed to me again. Here’s a pic of me at the do….
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The hotel has 24 hour in-room dining facility. The staff are very courteous and helpful.

I loved all the three days of my stay here. The room, amenities, food, accessibility, staff and last but not the least…the Valentines party… everything here was super-amazing.

Thank you Team Ocean Palms! 🙂