Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani are small hill stations nearest to Pune and then Mumbai. It takes three and a half hour drive from pune and five and a half hour drive from Mumbai to reach here. These places are specially known for its strawberry and also good to refresh oneself from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Let me first list down the points to discuss
- Hotels to Stay
- SightSeeing Places
Hotels to stay
In Mahabaleshwar the hotels like dreamland and fountain serve good gujarati meal in the afternoon and a good buffet breakfast and dinner which can be inclusive with the Hotel Room Package. Saj resort also has delicious food (only gujarati thalis may not be available in off season).
Hotel Le Meridien
Saj Holiday Resort
Well since I am a frequent visitor at this place, can elaborate more on the hotels. I had a very good time in Saj resort, the service and amenities of the hotel are very good. They have a very good play area for kids and the playground is safely built so that they can play freely and do not hurt themselves. They also have a toddler room for the babies. The club house too have games for adults like carom, pool table, table tennis etc. The food too is delicious. They also serve a la carte if you do not have meal inclusive package. But then Gujarati thali may be an issue because they serve thali only if they have enough guests for meals or else they ask you to order food a la carte even if you have a meal inclusive package. Food is only vegetarian here. All the rooms in the hotel are very good. Overall I had a pleasant stay.
Dreamland hotel; also very good specially the location is near the mahabaleshwar market and opposite bus depot. So the local taxis for sightseeing are also easily accessible if you do not have your own vehicle. They serve authentic gujarati thali for lunch and the breakfast and dinner buffet is a mix of fast food and other cuisines but only vegetarian. Well they too have lot of amenities like on the weekend they have entertainment programmes like music ghazal night, magic show or housie. They also have a small farmers market in the hotel where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables which they grow in their own farm located in the hotel. They also have a club room where there are games for kids like snakes and ladders, carom, T.T. table etc.. They do not have any play area for kids. The rooms are also good. The best room is the classic room which has a balcony with seating and magnificent mountain view. Even the economy room which is the super deluxe category is good. Overall it’s a pleasant stay except for that there is no play area or toddler room in the hotel.
Well since all the hotels do provide good food in their own kitchen, there are not many restaurants to explore,
Mapro Garden restaurant is very good. The grill Sandwich here is a must try. You also get mini grill sandwich if you are not too hungry or do not have the appetite for a bigger one. The Pizzas and Strawberry cream with ice cream too are famous here.
The only place to shop here is Mahabaleshwar market. This is a big market where you get lot of local stuff such as leather shoes, wooden articles, jute bags and purses, woolen shawls, sweaters and many more items to buy. Its real fun shopping here.
Sight Seeing Places
Well as a frequent visitor I do not go to see all the points such as echo point, sunset point etc. But if you are interested you can take a local taxi with a guide from mahabaleshwar market. There are also men who take you to the points on horses. Its great fun to go on horses if you like horse riding. The other places are
Panch Ganga Mandir: This is a temple in old Mahabaleshwar where 5 rivers meet at one point.
Sher Baug: Water Park for Children
On Wheelz and Velocity are amusement Parks for kids