Lonavla Under The Over – A Review By Punam Mohandas
Lonavla Under The Over was an existing property that has been leased by the Sterling Group of Resorts since April this year. The hotel re-opened with the somewhat quaint name of ‘Under The Over’ after months of a near-total make-over and refurbishment by the Group. The rooms and restaurant areas have been completely redone, and the next phase includes the lobby, parking and the surrounding outside area which is slated for when the monsoons cease and the weather improves.
A small and charming property, there are 45 rooms and one grand suite with Jacuzzi. The rooms come equipped with mini bars, tea/coffee makers and a sofa-cum-bed that can be pulled out for a child or accompanying third adult. All rooms at Lonavla Under The Over have been renovated with the addition of LCD televisions, luggage racks and so on. Additionally, the interiors have been worked on as well.
F&B options at Lonavla Under The Over include the 50-cover Juniper restaurant that serves Indian, Chinese and continental cuisine. The Rooftop Dhaba follows a rustic décor theme as its name suggests, and serves vegetarian snacks only, from 4-7pm daily. This is a 40-cover outlet and will soon be expanding its culinary repertoire to include Gujarati or Jain thaalis. Room service is also possible.
Conference facilities include two large halls that can seat a 100 pax theatre style, besides two smaller halls that can take 25 pax each.
Recreational facilities include a swimming pool and lawn area. Located toward the side and rear of the property, this area is quieter and more peaceful, conducive to lazy weekends spent in the sun. Indoor activities are plenty, with a holiday activity zone with karaoke and tambola facilities, and indoor games such as chess, carrom, table tennis and a huge Ludo board. The Little People can enjoy playing with a variety of soft toys, while for the older children computer usage is provided free of charge. Further, every weekend from Fri-Sun, the resort organises Ghazal Nites for its residents.
Post its takeover by the Sterling Group of Resorts, the hotel is witnessing an average annual occupancy of 90% so far, with priority given to the members. Member bookings count for almost 70% while external reservations and walk-in guests comprise the remaining 30%.
The food is good, for the large part, with a young and enthusiastic chef on board. F&B service in the restaurant can get a little chaotic, particularly with large groups around. However, it must be said that the staff are very helpful and quick to be of service. The front desk is manned almost 24-hours and therefore, any guest requirement or complaint is attended to fairly instantly.
As one can perhaps guess from the name, the hotel is located just under the Mumbai-Pune expressway. While it may be a positive point for the hotel to be so strategically located where visitors do not need to drive into the horribly crowded chaos that Lonavla has sadly been reduced to, it can be a drawback from the guest’s perspective, given the almost incessant traffic noise.
For outside excusrions, the Valvan Dam and a beautiful temple are within close distance of the hotel and so is the lake. The Karla Caves are about 10-kilometres away and the picturesque hill station of Khandala is just about 20-minutes away. A day well spent would be in exploring the cool green expanses of the Western Ghats. The little hill town is also home to INS Shivaji, which is the Indian Navy’s premier training institute. As regards shopping, the hard candy known as “chikki” that comes in a variety of flavours is famous throughout India as proudly originating from Lonavala.
Lonavala Under the Over is about four kilometres from the Lonavala railway station and bus stand and about 100-kilometres from Pune airport. The hotel can organise airport shuttle services at a charge and given prior information.
STERLING LONAVALA UNDER THE OVER RESORT
Tel: +91 2114 279502/3/4
Fax: +91 8412985050