MONSOON, MIST AND MYTH (Pt. 3) | Le Meridien, Mahabaleshwar
AN EXPLORATION OF TEXTURE
“This is a special place,” General Manager Norton Pereira confirms as we sit down for a drink. A 16-year Starwood veteran with stints at the Sheraton and the Westin, the affable Pereira has overseen this property from scratch. “There were three of us when things began, now there are over two hundred. We’re passionate about this property – we know it’s different and we’re confident it’s going to set a new benchmark for the Le Meridien brand,” he says. Pereira, who seems to be equally passionate about his bikes and vintage cars, is particularly keen on introducing new elements into the verdant landscape at his disposal. “Out of the 27 acres, we’ve used just 7 so far. There are so many things I have in mind – a floating restaurant included. I believe this is a place people are going to want to keep coming back to,” he concludes.
The always pleasant Sneh Meghlan, Associate Marketing & Communications Manager, echoes his thoughts. She has been my guide through the Unlocked journeys, and is visibly proud of the Resort & Spa she has introduced me to. “Whether it’s our Classic Forest, Classic Valley, Tranquility, Sanctuary or Serenity Suites, this is a place that makes you feel at home. The Spa only deepens the feeling. And the Recreation and Dining makes sure you never leave,” she concludes with a laugh.
Given that it’s only been officially open since April of this year, there are naturally some teething problems. Some of the staff still seem unsure about their roles while some portions of the property look like works in progress. Basking in the Limitless Facial, Hammam Exfoliation, and Chakra Art Therapies at the pretty but unfinished Explore Spa, tucking into Executive Chef Arindam Bhattacharya’s Grilled Pomfret and Galouti Kebabs at the signature Chingari restaurant, or lazing beside a boundless breakfast buffet and perpetually mellow skies at the white-accented Instant Recipe though, it appears churlish to focus on the minuses.
GOODBYE TO MAHABALESHWAR
Mahabaleshwar has been good to me. It has blessed me with mischievous mist that hasn’t thought twice before drifting into my room, it has welcomed me into its artistic and cultural treasures, it has sated my desire for a classic monsoon experience, it has left me wanting an encore by showing me its bare strawberry orchards that will spring to life once the time is right, and it has introduced me to the Le Meridien Resort & Spa property whose moss-laden trees will continue to linger for some time to come. It would appear that monsoon, mist and myth can be a nicely evocative combination after all.
Final part of a 3-part story. An alternate version of this story first appeared as a Lead Feature in Travel + Leisure (September, 2015). http://travelandleisureindia.in/meandering-in-mahabaleshwar/