It had been two months since my last outing to Goa, and in between then and now I have already started feeling stressed out. Due to the hectic working hours and constant travel to work and back, I needed a break. For people who live on the central lined (railways) suburbs beyond Thane, Lonavala and Igatpuri are often the quick break spot. I have been struggling to decide between the expensive Lonavala (yep, demand was higher during Diwali) and scarce Igatpuri/Bhandardara belt.
The idea was to get to a place and relax with nothing to be done actually. And if it was closer to nature, it will be a bonus. I was constantly seeing the option for Herb Farm in Igatpuri for quite a while, with no rooms available for booking on online sites. I prefer Cleartrip to book hotels more often than not, unless the place isnt listed there.
So when I was just scanning for hotels on Friday, suddenly the Herb Farm came up as available at I booked it immediately. I will be traveling with my family to the farm for a quite one-night outing the very next day. Look for the video review below, if you want to skip reading. 🙂
Igatpuri has been my frequently visited place, be it for breakfast rides or office outings. And every time I had been there, I have enjoyed my time. So much so that I feel that Igatpuri as a place to travel is often not weighted in its worth. In a way, better for people like me who frequent the place.
Igatpuri is approachable via the Mumbai-Nashik highway from Mumbai, and is a hill station in itself. Surrounded by lush Western Ghats and highest peaks of Sahiyadri range, it is best visited during the monsoons. The approach can be tricky due to heavy rain the region witnesses, however it is experience that you must not miss.
I prefer going to Igatpuri because it close, and it is not as crowded as Lonavala, the closest Hill Station to Mumbai. Be it the lush green or the golden brown mountains as the season changes, this place has always lived up to my expectations.
The Herb Farm at Igatpuri
Situated just near the highway, Herb Farm is an eco-conscious resort / hotel. If you are traveling from Mumbai, travel about 11 kms after you cross Ghoti junction (you will need to take a U-turn and travel 500 meters towards Ghoti) and the resort is on your left side. The place is visible from far, thanks to the large board. Parking space is ample for the number of rooms available – eight.
What is really likable about this place is the it offers exclusivity, closeness to the nature and yet be remarkable at their service. The service was really spot on, something that I would expect from a niche hotel provider. The one thing that may irk a lot of you is – this place is vegetarian only. Yep, you heard that right. So all those non-veg aficionados, you may want to change your taste for the weekend.
Having said that, the food is good and tasty. Overall, the look and feel of this place is a nice fusion between old-world-charm and modern amenities. The place is thoughtfully designed, and does not show any signs of overdoing.
I really liked the swimming pool though it is only approx. 5 feet at its deepest and not very big. The quality of water was something I found to be much better than similar sized hotels I have seen around Igatpuri. It is best enjoyed with the kids!
The swimming pool is lit at night with lights and it is a nice setting if you want to spend the night time near the pool area. You can also lie down and go a star gaze.
River and surrounding
The other things that are close by to this place is a dry lake and a river. I know it sounds a bit odd, however the dry lake is something of a bummer that is played right in due to the changing climate. The river though, is accessible but way is through mud and grass. I did try going there, however decided to stop and come back as it was too slippery.
The hotel is situated right at the highway, so you tend to hear the typical highway noise. Truck and car tires screeching through the road day and night. Add to that, there is the Mumbai-Nashik rail route passing through right next to the highway. You need to be a deep sleeper to be sure, as the sleep quality I felt will not be that great for very light sleeping folks.
Rooms at the Herb Farm, Igatpuri
Rooms at The Herb Farm are limited to eight – yes it is a small property. However, they are tastefully designed and named after the herbs. Oregano and Cilantro are the furthest rooms and should be preferred if you are light sleeper. Other rooms are named Dill, Thyme, etc. so you get the drift.
All rooms are built on rails, and have beach sand play area beneath them. And you have hammocks for each room, if you prefer to lie down outside. You need to climb up the stairs to get to your room and greeted by the faux grass mats, couple of chairs and a tea table.
Inside, you have one king size bed, and a tea-coffee maker. All rooms offer air-conditioning, and are very neat and clean. The interior design is subtle and a perfectly mixed fusion of old-world-charm with modern fixtures. French windows double up as door. You can lie down and absorb in the view that you can see from your bed. It is the best view to wake up and see in the morning, right from your bed.
One thing that I might have to put out as a warning though, is mosquitoes. Given it is located near a river and a lake, dry at that, with patches of puddles across, it is bound to be mosquito prone. It is advised that you carry a mosquito repelling creme with you.
The washroom is small, however the ceiling is made of glass giving the near open-air experience. Of course, the dried leaves and dust on top do give away the glass surface. It still is a welcome change to a typical small bathroom and experience you may well like.
The overall experience has left a positive impact on me and my family, and it is definitely a place I will consider to stay at, again. The thing is, very rarely you find a place that is neat and modern, yet has the old-world charm blend into a perfect fusion. In my view, the Herb farm at Igatpuri does this to great effect.
PS: This is not a paid/sponsored post, as it may look like with my generous praise for this place. It is purely my heart felt thoughts after I visited this place.