MPG’s an abbreviation for Mahabaleshwar Parsi Gymkhana; this I discover while having a little chat one misty evening with Jitendra, a member of the team who mans the reception and services guests. While flipping through the dinner menu, from the corner of my eye, I find him alone, pensively hitting the keys of his computer. A pleasant north-eastern face, calm demeanor and clad in a crisp black safari suit, Jitendra’s on his toes all day. Thus this was the only chance I had to know more about the gorgeous hotel I’ve parked myself in for the weekend.
Early September, but barely any rain. Mist settles on the grounds and trees and people and vehicles parked in this heritage property nestled in the verdant hills of Mahabaleshwar.
Hundred years ago, it was home to the British. Mahabaleshwar was their summer capital. After the Brits left India, MPG became a proud possession of an eloquent Parsi family and was then sold to the current owners. They refurbished the place, but retained the name.
Ebony furniture, vintage lamps, chequered flooring at the reception set the tone for those sepia toned days of yore. Once-upon-a-time story of the Raj still echoes from the stone-lined entrance, sky-high ceilings and dangling chandeliers of the restaurant which might have been a living room or a parlor as they called it then.
Old rooms have been refurbished with modern amenities and new and contemporary rooms have been added to the fleet. There’s construction underway for few more.
There are Standard, Deluxe and Suite categories to choose from as per one’s taste, affordability and size of the family. Deluxe room is ours for 2 nights and 3 days.
It’s a spacious abode painted in warm, off-white hues. High ceiling and soft light gives a soothing feeling whenever you’re back after soaking in the sights of Mahabaleshwar.
Electronic safe is provided so you can leave your valuables behind and wander around tension-free.
Free wi-fi keeps you connected to the wire-world; that is if you really feel the need to do so.
There’s a nice porch at the back. Order in a cuppa, sit back and unwind in this rare quietude while the sun starts its journey southward. It’s my favorite little enclosure where I don’t miss my books or phone, nor a human. Slowly, the fog starts to build, there’s a nip in the air and you can only see a couple of feet ahead. Positively eerie and perfectly mystifying!
Gazebos are strewn around, comfy cushions, coffee table, fluttering pink curtains and all. Leaning against one of the pillars that look to the garden, you conjure up a picture of how this place would have looked a century ago. Tall hatted Brits in polished shoes and neat coats, chatting away in their perfectly charming accent smoke-pipes to their lips, well-heeled and impeccably corseted Memsahibs flitting under the glow of chandeliers, medley of servants scurrying around balancing the much expensive Bone China and silverware and fresh baked goodies… So much of fodder for the imagination!
Tiger Trail Restaurant
Breakfast should be the most important and wholesome meal one should start their day with, although I’ve never followed it myself. But strolling around the buffet counters set up in the pleasant confines of Tiger Trail Restaurant, you open up the lids of each of them; awed and confused. You take a second stroll and under the pretext of each dish, end up filling your plate with bits of everything. There’s Poha, Idli, Vadas, Uttappam, Puri Bhaji, French Toast, Pancakes, Muffins, Smoked Sausages, Misal Pav, cut fruits, juices and more. Menu changes every day.
The à la carte has delicious options too, if you fancy a lunch or dinner. Or, on the front porch there’s Mix Lounge bar that serves whiskeys and ales and food as well. Sink into a comfy leathered sofa and unwind, savoring each gulp, while soft music fills the air.
Facilities are aplenty, making it difficult to decide whether to go sight-hopping or stay back and get pampered in the spa, take a dip in the pool, indulge in one of the many indoor games or rent one of their cutesy bicycles and pedal around paying no heed to the rain who decides to play spoilsport. There’s an outdoor play area for small humans too.
Or do nothing at all and waddle around the sprawling property. There’s a wee temple tucked away in a peaceful green canopy; perfect for some solitude and meditation.
You may spot something equally enchanting as what lies beyond the gates of MPG…
In a way, I’m grateful to the Brits for gifting us this serene and sublime slice of heaven; not just the property but also for the location it nestles in. 5 minutes drive away, it neighbors the main market. Distance is walkable but the craggy path makes it less conducive to do so. If you don’t mind the squelch and splosh, you’ll love the stroll. It’s like a nature trail really; offers gorgeous view of the adjoining lake.
Perhaps Regenta MPG Club might just be an excuse for another getaway. Winter’s not too far…
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