Radisson Resort and Spa, Lonavala, is a luxury hotel spread across 3.5 acres, nestled in the Sahyadri Hills. A couple of hours drive from Mumbai or Pune, this newly-built destination is preferred by international business travellers as well as locals. Book your next vacation or event, from the link at the end of this article.
Radisson Lonavala was designed to resemble a fort, embracing ancient Maratha culture and the five elements. Click “play” to see the highlights:
The ceiling is made from cotton steel, which is engineered to rust, without losing any strength over time. The idea is to let guests feel the vibe of a rustic fort. The resort’s foyer is an example of a material’s natural transformation.
As you check in at the reception, you’ll notice the majestic stone walls around you. These Deccan stones are composed of Basalt and were taken from the same location, after the blasts were made by the project engineers to construct the basement.
Also, the gabion, standing at 21 meters is the tallest in India. With no concrete used, the stones placed over one another is a unique civil engineering feature of the resort.
After check-in, walk across the beautiful stone floors with metal grouting to see the all-day dining restaurant named Hirkani.
Hirkani was a lady who sold milk at a fort everyday for a living. Post sunset, no one was allowed to enter or exit the fort, but Hirkani, engrossed in her work, had not realised the time passing on a particular day. She ran to the main gate and begged the soldiers to let her go home, but they did not allow her.
The next day, while taking a head count, Hirkani was missing to everyone’s surprise. The soldiers found her at her house with her child, and was summoned to Shivaji Maharaj’s court.
Hirkani confessed that she had climbed down the hillside of the fort. When the shocked court members said even their best warriors were unable to do so, and died trying, Shivaji Maharaj asked how she managed that?
Hirkani said her baby was alone and hungry at home, which gave her the courage to go down the dangerous hill.
This exquisite diner serves buffet as well as à la carte. Pan to the right where guests can also eat outside, in the open. The architecture also includes a well in the middle of the buffet.
Next to Hirkani is Malhari – the bar with the poolside view. Malhari represents the spirit’s celebration of happiness and joy.
The black floored swimming pool is called the Kund. The black colour attracts solar energy, thereby positively energising the pool for the guests. Kund is a traditional rainwater harvesting system used typically in rural areas of India.
The name Lonavala refers to “Loni” or “resting place”, which was discovered by traveling farmers. One carries a pickaxe (Kulhadi), another a mortor pan (Ghamela) and the third farmer a water pitcher (Matki). Lonavala is referred as the ‘Jewel of Sahyadri’ owing to its scenic beauty.
A Maratha settlement used to be called as a “Wada” in the olden days. A man from a Wada used to blow a trumpet named “Tutari” at sunset to let people know that it’s time to stop work and get home.
After this, a fire torch is lit, named “Mashal” to bring light to the house and to respect the fire element. The Mashal is typically a wooden stick with a cloth tied at one end.
The walkway intersection, between the foyer and the two buildings is where the Tutari and Mashal ceremonies take place every day at Radisson Lonavala. At the lawn area, tea is served, followed by Karaoke sessions. The hotel staff and the guests have a great time listening to and singing their favorite songs. Hard to pass by without joining the group.
One of the unique to-do things in Radisson Lonavala, is to go trekking. Even 15 minutes would suffice to take in the opulence of the hills.
“Peshwas” are the fore runners of a Maratha regime, hence the lush lawns here are named Peshwa Lawns, where events and Karaoke sessions are held. The nomenclature is based on ancient Maratha traditions, with a keen inclination to nature.
The facade is made from Pine wood imported from Finland. Over time, it would change its colour to reveal a greyish hue, resembling a fort.
The atrium wing’s corridors are fierce with wind gushing, thanks to the facade in the open area. It brings about the name “Sinh” which means lion in Marathi.
The dollhouse view shows two structures – Sinhgad and Vijaygad. Sinhgad is the atrium wing with 61 rooms, the spa, recreation centre, gym, courtyard and the meeting centre – Surya Bhavan.
The other wing, Vijaygad is where the lobby, restaurant and bar is located along with pool-facing rooms. Both these buildings are names of forts. “Vijay” refers to victory.
The fifth element – space or “Akasha” or Ether is the subtle one, among all elements. As an ideal location for business events and weddings, there are two halls at both buildings – Surya Bhavan and Raj Bhavan.
Surya Bhavan, at the basement of Sinh Gad is a 2,200 sq ft acoustics hall with a Baffle pattern. Since it allows direct sunlight, it is called Surya Bhavan.
Raj Bhavan is the larger banquet hall at 4,260 sq ft area that can be split into 3 separate parts, if needed. The entire entrance wall is collapsible in order to get an open view of the Royal Bastion and waterfall, making it ideal for a wedding or a Vidhi ceremony.
Pan around to see the waterfall, the pre-function area and Raj Bhavan’s entrance. The steps on the far end makes it an ideal spot for group pictures and selfies with the Radisson logo backdrop.
The panoramic image above shows the atrium at Sinh Gad. The art on the wall, near the spa, is called the “Page Turner” which represents the first international brand that marks a new beginning in Lonavala. It is also a special symbol for the ownership and the architects.