The Machan, Lonavala: Birds, Bees And All Manner Of Mating Creatures
Touted as an eco-friendly resort that’s run totally off-grid, on solar and wind energy, The Machan in Lonavala is a luxury forest getaway situated 10 to 15 minutes by car from the Bushi Dam diversion on the Amby Valley Road.
The resort resounds with the sounds of birds, bees, and trees (and sometimes couples going at it in the next room).
We went in May when temperatures were in the 30s (degrees Celsius). It was humid, but pleasant, thanks to the air cooler in the room. If you’re looking for lots of activities, you’ll be disappointed.
There’s not much to do here, except go for nature treks (ours was cancelled because of the threat of bee attacks), massages, yoga, meditation, and stargazing.
There’s no TV or music as it disturbs the forest animals. So if you feel the need to blare loud music and party, this is not the place for you. If you’re afraid of insects and bees, stay away.
If you want some quiet downtime away from the crowds and the internet, you’ll love it here. It’s the perfect romantic getaway, but the rooms are not soundproof, so it’s not as private as it seems.
While I applaud their initiative to go off-grid, an eco-friendly resort should not be using aluminium foil and plastic wrap to transport food. What’s wrong with using casseroles or the good, old, Indian dabba?
As far as food goes, it’s probably best to avoid the buffet meals. They are adequate but fall short on taste. Ask for the a la carte menu, or stick to in-room dining in the privacy of your verandah.
Also, carry some snacks and drinks along if possible. They have a small bar in the dining area, but everything is super-expensive (Sprite for Rs 150 and a pint of Sula Chenin Blanc for Rs 1000).
There is no kitchenette, but each room comes with an electric kettle, tea/coffee pouches, and a fridge. To my surprise, there was no cutlery in the room. A disposable plastic stirrer is not an eco-friendly substitute for a stainless steel spoon.
I wish they understood that disposable does not equal eco-friendly. It just ends up creating waste. It also makes me wonder how they dispose of all these disposable items (including spa slippers and underwear) so far out in the boondocks.
That said, the rooms at the resort are rustic yet beautiful, and the decor is tasteful. The antique furniture and elegant bathtub are a lovely touch.
We stayed in a Canopy room that had an enviable view of the surrounding forests. We missed the stargazing session but had a nice chat about stars and planets with Gautam, the resident astronomer, and an all-around nice guy.
Staying at The Machan Resort, Lonavala is not cheap. It will set you back INR 12,000 per night, or more. But then, you’re not paying for a vacation, you’re paying for an experience.