Madhubhan Resort & Spa: A mix of traditional and contemporary Gujarati lifestyle

Madhubhan Resort & Spa: A mix of traditional and contemporary Gujarati lifestyle

Located on the outskirts of Anand, Gujarat, the hotel not only offers luxurious accommodation but also multiple dining options and a wellness spa

Teja Lele Desai
November 27 , 2014
06 Min Read

To me, a holiday’s not a holiday till it involves some form of longish travel — air, rail or road. Which is why it was somewhat disconcerting to arrive at Madhubhan just half an hour after we set out from home. But once there, I forgot to complain.

A luxury resort and spa set over 22 green acres in the rich Charotar belt of Gujarat, Madhubhan Resort & Spa promises “tradition soaked in luxury”. I’m always a bit wary of fancy proclamations, but have to admit that the huge property is a mix of the old and the new — archaic charm and swanky touches, old-style attention and Internet-age amenities. Even the name has its roots in the tradition where parents are revered above gods — the resort’s name is a fusion of the names of the mother (Madhu) and father (Bhanu) of Prayasvin Patel, who owns the property.

The check-in formalities are dealt with super fast and we decide to take a peek at our room. The rooms are spaced around the acreage and the way there is extremely inviting — small streets built to resemble old Gujarati pols, complete with signposts, meander through the property; folksy music plays gently on invisible speakers; and copious amounts of greenery create a blanket that screens rooms and guests from each other. I spot a little outdoorsy café — the attendant reveals that the Madhubhan Chai Bar serves eleven varieties of teas along with a selection of snacks, including the ubiquitous pakora. “Ah,” I tell myself, “It’s time to make time for chai and piping hot pakoras after a long, long time.”

We step into our room, a Mandavdi Gom Cottage built in traditional Gujarati style. The traditional feel stops at the threshold; inside, everything is modern and swanky — wall-mounted flatscreen, soundproof French windows, high-speed Internet through Wi-Fi and climate control. I check out the bathroom, which is what makes or breaks a room deal for me, to be pleasantly shocked and awed. The humongous room, apart from a shower stall and other essentials, has a huge sunken bathtub that overlooks the outside and promises a wonderful soak. The toddler says what I want to: “Ma, bubble bath abhi (now)!”

Madhubhan offers a variety of rooms in various sizes — guests can choose from rooms, cottages, tents and suites.

The resort is calling out to be explored, but matters of the stomach must be dealt with before tackling issues of the mind and heart. We find 24Seven the perfect place for a quick bite. Nestling amidst waterbodies and manicured lawns, the coffee shop offers a sumptuous buffet, the variety enough to satisfy even the most discerning among us. We’re kind of peckish and do the salad counter justice!

As we walk through the substantial grounds, the swimming pool seems to accompany us everywhere. Said to be the largest swimming facility in Gujarat, the free-form pool meanders through the resort. The blue water lapping at the edges creates frilly waves — an invitation not many can resist. There’s even a postcard-pretty bridge spanning the pool, offering honeymooners the perfect opportunity to go click-and-share crazy on social media. There’s no going anyplace else once the toddler sees the pool, so we goodnaturedly don swim gear and hit the water.

Elsewhere on the property a variety of restaurants offers a smorgasbord of choices. The Banyan Tree, open only for dinner, offers world cuisine with options ranging from Hyderabadi and Rajasthani to Thai and Lebanese. Tapas, overlooking the infinity pool, offers a Mexican culinary experience.

We settle on Kouzina, the Mediterranean Bistro, where we learn that apart from the pastas and raviolis, the signature wood-fired chilli cheese pizza is a must-have. We acquiesce, and don’t regret it. Cheese, chillies and thin crust combine to create a pleasantly spiced toasty kind of pizza. It may not be authentic Italian, but it serves Indian tastebuds extremely well. We round off the meal with the sinful tiramisu. After this, all one needs is a comfy bed and a long snooze.

An appointment at Sohum Spa, the resort’s signature wellness station, ensures that I’m up in a reasonable while. Set over an expansive 10,000 sq ft, the luxurious spa is sectioned off from the rest of the resort by waterbodies and landscaping. Warm colours and soft music create a welcoming ambience. I decide to do what the brochure suggests: surrender to the therapist. A cool fruit juice, freshly made, is followed by a relaxing foot bath ritual — this is said to chase stress away. City-slicker stress doesn’t vanish so easily, though, and I’m still a little wary as the therapist skillfully manipulates pressure points on my head and neck to help me relax. The Native American hot stone therapy feels like pure bliss, though, leading to a feeling of complete relaxation. Once I’m supple and supine, my therapist says she’ll follow up the “body work” with a “body envelopment”, essentially a body scrub and mask to exfoliate dead cells and stimulate circulation. The rich marine-mud mask seems cooling and antiseptic — I lie there, content in the knowledge that I’m in good hands. A quick facial therapy is also on the cards. Three hours later, I emerge feeling brand new!

Walking by the activity centre, I spot a bunch of youngsters facing off over a board game. As a child, I spent a lot of my summer holidays playing carom and cards with the cousins. The husband helps me relive those childhood memories at a carom board-mounted table surrounded by plush sofas. We play for a while, while the toddler wonders whether Ma and Papa are regressing into childhood as she grows up. We decide to catch a movie at the home theatre, if we can. Other activities to try include water polo, a nature walk or a game of cricket, tennis, badminton or volleyball.

Madhubhan places you perfectly to explore nearby areas too — Baroda (40km) and Ahmedabad (65km), as well as Lothal (87km), one of the most prominent sites of the Indus Valley civilization, and the temple of Krishna at Dakor (37km).

But to me, the charm of this place lies in its inward-looking nature. Unlike most hotels that let you loose on the city with exploratory agendas, this resort invites you to dawdle and dilly-dally, to procrastinate and drag your heels, to simply be.

The information
Madhubhan Resort & Spa, Anand-Sojitra Road, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat
83 rooms, including 30 deluxe rooms, 38 Mandavdi Gom cottages, 10 Mandavdi Gom deluxe cottages, 2 tents, Zanzariyu, the deluxe suite, Zulaniya, the bridal suite, and Madhubhan, the presidential suite
Rs 9,000 (deluxe rooms), Rs 10,000 (Mandavdi Gom cottages), Rs 11,000 (Mandavdi Gom deluxe cottages), Rs 11,000 (tents), Rs 35,000 (deluxe and bridal suites), and Rs 55,000 (presidential suite)

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