Sula Vineyards

Weekend Getaways!, Aug 2010
Location: Jambulne, 17km from Lonavla
Best for: Couples looking for a little arboreal romance.
A tree house in Mumbai is an impossible fantasy, but The Machan, a luxury tree house resort, exists for real a mere 2.5 hour drive away from the city. Nestled in the isolated forest of Jambulne in the Sahayadri Hills, the sustainable 2,400 sq ft structure is made of wood, has four levels, three rooms, two bathrooms and is fitted with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and viewing decks that overlook the valley. The tree house was built as a weekend home for a Mumbai-based family, but when friends and relatives made frequent trips, they thought it best to make the eco hotspot, located 85 ft above ground level, available to the public. This year The Machan introduced Camp Canopy, a series of 800 sq ft luxury tents, each with a master bedroom, bathroom and viewing deck.
Rates: The Machan is priced at Rs20,000 per night (accommodates up to six adults) from Monday to Thursday and at Rs25,000 per night from Friday to Sunday. Camp Canopy is priced at Rs10,000 per night (accommodates two adults) from Monday to Thursday and at Rs 12,000 per night from Friday to Saturday. All prices are inclusive of breakfast and dinner. Prices are inclusive of tax.
Address: Jambulne is a 2.5 hour drive away from Mumbai, towards Lonavla. Tel: 3066 8011, 080 8087 7420. Email
Location: Sula Vineyards, Nashik
Best for: Wine enthusiasts seeking a taste of Italy closer to home.
In 2007, Indian wine brand, Sula constructed Beyond, a luxury villa, within a short distance from their Nashik vineyard. The two-storey minimalist but tasteful property has three spacious bedrooms, an indoor swing, wooden lounge decks with hammocks, a pool, and is surrounded by a wide expanse of undulating countryside. Nearby, is a lake, where those up for a little adventure, can go kayaking. The stay includes a complimentary tour of the vineyard, followed by a wine tasting session.
Rates: Rs18,000 per night from Monday to Thursday and Rs22,000 per night from Friday to Sunday. The villa has to be rented as a single unit and can accommodate up to nine people. Prices are inclusive of three meals, winery tour and tasting session. An additional 10.3 per cent service tax will be levied.
Address: Survey 36/2, Govardhan, off Gangapur-Savargaon Road, Nashik. Tel: 025 3223 1663, 99700 90010. Email
Location: Matheran
Best for: Familes who like their vacation pads to feel like home.
A colonial-style cottage located on Matheran’s scenic One Tree Hill, Fleetwood was built in 1871 and today, is still maintained as a heritage structure by its proprietor Deepesh Nihalani. It’s a pet-friendly house with four simply appointed bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room and two adjoining cottage suites that look more like a lived-in home rather than hotel rooms. The property opens out to a canopy of trees and gets shrouded in mist during the monsoon and winter, making it the perfect venue for board game challenges.
Rates: Fleetwood is priced at Rs1,750 per night per person. Prices are inclusive of three meals and tax.
Address: Fleetwood House, One Tree Hill Point, Shivaji Road, Matheran. Tel: 98205 02326. Email
Location: Kamshet, Maharashtra
Best for: Adventure junkies willing to forgo luxury for natural beauty.
When Mumbai became too much of an eyesore for Astrid and Sanjay Rao, they set out to find a patch of green, away from other hill station retreats, which felt “too commercial”. After setting up a paragliding and adventure company Nirvana Adventures in Kamshet, they followed up with a guesthouse, which they built on an acre of terrace land. Native Place is a no-fuss, functional bungalow with breezy corridors, plenty of natural light and greenery. Though the 12 rooms, four with bunking facilities for  a total of 26 people, are simply done, the location more than makes up for the fancy-free digs. The property is fringed by the lush Sahayadri range and overlooks the placid Vadivali Lake, which is the focal point of this retreat. You can opt for rooms with a lake view, set out for evening strolls in the direction of the lake or station yourself atop the guesthouse terrace to watch the sunset.
Rates: Prices range from Rs1,100 per night per person for tents to Rs1,700 per night per person for lake-front rooms. Inclusive of three meals and tax.
Address: Native Place, Golden Glades, Uksan Village, Taluka Maval, District Pune. It’s a 2.5 hour drive from Bombay and 30 minutes away from Kamshet village. There are daily trains and buses to Kamshet. Tel: 93237 08809. Email
Location: Siolim, Goa
Best for: Old Goa hands who wish to re-discover the city.
If there’s one place in Goa that can make you forget the beach, it’s the 300-year-old Siolim House, a palatial white mansion, which was once the residence of the Goan-Portuguese governor of Macau. When Varun Sood bought Siolim House in 1996, it was in a state of disrepair; by 2001, however, the private, seven-room restored property was a finalist for the UNESCO Heritage prize. Despite its heritage status, the boutique villa has 21st century amenities like an Ayurvedic spa, a pool, wifi and Play Stations. A short distance from the hotel is Little Siolim, the hotel’s sister property. It’s a smaller villa with three bedrooms, a pool and kitchen that can also be rented as a whole unit.
Rates: For Siolim House, prices range from Rs4,500 per night in non-peak season to Rs14,000 per night during peak season. For Little Siolim, prices range from Rs2,500 per night in non-peak season to Rs12,000 per night during peak season. All rates apply to two persons per night. An additional 10 per cent luxury tax will be levied.
Address: Siolim House, Siolim, Bardez, Goa. Tel: 0832 227 2138/2272941, 098225 84560. Email
Location: Alibag
Best for: Groups of friends and families who want a taste of owning a holiday home.
The lack of accomodations in Alibag is partly what prompted champion yachtsman Nitin Mongia to turn his family holiday home—named after his father who was a commodore in the navy—into a boutique villa in 2009. Located just five minutes from the jetty in Mandwa, Ccaza Ccomodore, situated in a leafy plot with a bougainvilla-lined pathway, has two bedrooms plus a junior suite (bigger than a double-room but not as fancy as a suite) which sleeps four.
Mongia oversees the menu, usually a mix of Italian and Continental, though specific food requirements and requests can be accomodated. An on-site spa manned by trained Balinese therapists provides further incentive to come here. Currently closed, the spa will resume service at the end of September once the monsoons abate. In the meantime, there are plenty of board games and enough time to do absolutely nothing while laying by the pool.
Rates: Until August 8, Ccaza Ccomodore is offering a special rate: six adults can stay at Rs3,500 per night per person; or four adults can stay at Rs3,750 per person per night. The prices cover the cost of all meals but are exclusive of tax.
Address: Mandwa is 115km away from Mumbai and can be reached by ferry, boat and rail. The villa is 3km away from Mandwa Jetty.