Whenever a weekend closes in, we ponder where should we go? We look for an escape from our daily routine. To do something new, something different. For us in and around Mumbai, the most common getaway is Lonavala or Pune and the vicinity. Yes, we want to go to new places, but what are the options? None? Maybe we haven’t searched? Nashik! No, it isn’t just a pilgrim centre, there is much more to it. Nashik is seeing a growing importance with vineyards. The weather is just perfect for these grapes to grow. One of the premium properties which is fairly affordable by Mumbai standards is the The Gateway Hotel, Nashik. So, we planned one weekend with this property, to find out if it is worth a stay.
For this trip, we wanted to take a petrol car — as majority drive petrol today — and preferably an automatic. A mid-size sedan is something that would have an ideal choice. A car that one will drive daily. For this purpose, we chose the Toyota Corolla Altis petrol CVT. We have always loved the Altis for its size, price and comfort. Starting from Bandra, we commenced our journey when the sun was right above our head. Little did we realise that it was now time for school shifts to end. And we got stuck in the Bandra traffic with a scorching sun above us. The God of Heat was raising the temperatures, all the auto-rickshaws, school buses and bikes were honking, creating a lot of madness. None of them bothered us in the Altis. Everything seemed like a distant world as we were cocooned in cool ambience.
Soon, we hit the highway and in a while we were out of Mumbai, then Thane and on to the Expressway. Now, this road isn’t as wide as the Mumbai Pune Expressway, however the traffic too isn’t much. The road tarmac is also smooth and well laid off. Driving through a ghat is a joy. There are paddle shifters, but we didn’t feel the need for it. The petrol engine is highly refined and has more than sufficient power to cruise at speeds of 90-100km/hr. There aren’t many places to stop for food break. There is a Food Court that offers South Indian, McDonalds, Domino’s Pizzas. If you need something more like a resort or premium option, then it is Manas in Igatpuri. Else, there is not really a requirement for a break.
The four-lane highway turns into six. Then just before Nashik flyover, move the left on the service road. In a while you shall be at theThe Gateway Hotel, Nashik. From there you head into the 20+ acre property. It is a Gateway, so it isn’t very expensive. The pricing is close to INR 6,000- INR 9,000 for a room, depending on the time of the year. The only other good place we found to stay was Sula’s Soma, however it is similarly priced, and the luxury features are fairly limited. There are more room options at the Gateway, including a suite, which has a living room, bed room, bath tub and a small individual veranda to stay outside. There are four rooms in total, two are based on red wine and other two on white. Their ambience is mixed with red or white colours depending on the room one chooses. The suite’s pricing is about INR 20,000 to INR 25,000, depending on the season.
One of the interesting things to do is a wine tour. This is an exciting tour, you do not just get to have the wines but even know more about them. This vineyard tour, it was deja vu for me. All my trips to vineyards in France and Spain were so similar. We will recommend to do a vineyard tour with York and try out their wines. We love their wines more than Sula. And this is indeed a lot of fun. The best part being you get to try out different wines. The weather is pleasant and the greenery around, will make you feel as if you are in Europe.
If you want to try some authentic Maharashtrian food, then this is the place. The Ambad Hotel employees locals who stay in Nashik, to make authentic local food. This will be offered as a thali. We did try out the local Maharashtrian cuisine and it was lip smacking. Some of the elements used includes local spices, which is balanced out with other added elements. We did try the non-veg thali and we loved it. If stomach allows, do not miss out their galouti kebabs.
A special mention of The Grill. This is the newest restaurant. At the moment, it is serving majorly European grills, however what we loved the concept of Wine Flight. This is offered at an highly affordable price. A simple tray with three wine samplings, along with some cheese, olives and biscuits. The best restaurant to enjoy the Nashik winters along with some good food.
For those who are looking for adventure. If you wish to go trekking, Pandavleni caves aren’t too far. You could head there and it isn’t too far, about a kilometre and a half maybe. The 20 acre property has a good jogging track. One can run around the garden and enjoy the weather. There is also an in-house as well.
Another amazing aspect of this stay was lesser crowd. The silence and peace that we are looking for when we head for a weekend. Most of the other getaways around Mumbai are buzzing and this is something we all want to avoid. This results in more time in waiting and quality degradation. Check out Taj Ambad website for more details.
WhyThe Gateway Hotel, Nashik?
What has been clearly missing in Nashik, is the hospitality. This is what other hotels lack at the moment. We have stayed at Sula’s Soma Hotel, Ibia, Express Inn, but none make you feel comfortable. Leave aside the bells and whistles and the comfort of the rooms. We have stayed in other hotels in Nashik, but what goes missing is the comfort factor. The feel good factor, which makes it an amazing experience.
The Gateway Hotel, Nashik Image Gallery
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