Monday, August 25, 2014

Peaceful luxury weekend break at Hilton Shillim, Pawana

This review first appeared on TripAdvisor but this blog has more photos and a little more detail. TripAdvisor informed me last week that i'm in their Top 5% reviewers from Mumbai so am quite pleased!

Obviously i try to tell it like it is - following a fellow blogger & foodies advice - if its a tiny family-run place be somewhat lenient and if its a huge brand, dont!

View from our villa sit-out ( gushing stream cant be seen)

This is an amazing property with a lot of potential. I’d been wanting to visit it for a while but the high rates had put me off. Finally, on a recent weekend, with visiting cousins in tow, we checked in.

One of the viillas

View of four poster bed from the expansive sit-out

The hardware is amazing – great villas, just one or two adjacent buildings by themselves so a lot of natural forested expanse between villas. Dry inside and not damp either despite the incessant rain.
My cousin’s family booked a King Spa Pool Villa and we booked a King Delux Valley Villa.

The outdoor shower

Our villa was luxurious in terms of space:
The bedroom had a 42” TV with all the channels that we could want. The doors opened onto a large sized covered sit-out/balcony. It had a day bed for lounging and a small dining table with chairs.
We enjoyed our morning & afternoon tea/coffee sitting there looking out at the greenery, the misty hills beyond and even better – the sounds of a busy stream gushing, birdsong including the call of peacocks!
The bathroom consisted of separate WC, twin sinks, huge shower and bathing unit (as big as my bedroom at home) and a huge outdoor shower space enclosed by bamboo for privacy.
The property has some 60 odd villas in 300 acres of space. An extensive spa complex which includes hydrotherapy and has a lovely outdoor spa pool. A Yoga cave where my cousin did an hour-long session.

Enroute to Spa complex

Spa pool

Spa complex surroundings - nature at its best 

Spa Complex

Pool view 

Guests don’t have to walk if they don’t want to – call “Magic” from your room a golf cart/buggy arrives to take you to your destination! On checking in, guests are given a map of the property so you get a perspective of the scale of the Hilton Shillim Estate.
Great room service – fast despite the distance from the kitchen
The swimming pool – infinity of course

The big let down was the food – very disappointing:
The lunch and dinner buffet were completely unacceptable. Vegetarian salads only, an un-appetising looking selection offering only 2 non-veg dishes per meal, tired un-appealing dessert spread. Not upto Hilton standards! Even hotels like Ekaant Lavasa, The Retreat Malad and Radisson Blu Alibaug – all at one-third the Hilton rate (if not less), offer better food!!
The breakfast was at Hilton standard  offering smoked salmon, hams, pancakes, luxury fruit preserves in addition to the standard fare but it just didn’t make up for the 2 below average meals.
We expressed our disappointment  -t the chef sent us a chili chicken for dinner - complimentary. Later on, we were offered a special meal but as we were about to check it we couldn’t partake of it!

Activities & Amenities
Apart from yoga in The Cave (how cool), extensive spa treatments, there is horse riding, an activity centre with TT and lots of kiddie activities including a soft play area. Cycles available too!
Swimming – in a glorious infinity pool at the top of a hill overlooking the next hill. The pool bar was also nice – we swam despite the rain and enjoyed it
To start soon is pottery and other interesting activities
Many of the other F&B outlets aren’t fully operational as yet
We booked our chauffeur for the boarding and lodging package so knew he was fine (Rs 1500/++ per day all meals)




It took us a good 3.5 hour drive and part of the road from Bushy Dam to the Club Mahindra turnoff was awful

Go if you love to be in natural surroundings while enjoying the luxe life!
Don’t book the all meal package yet – take a package inclusive of  breakfast and eat lunch and dinner ala carte


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