If you’re looking for inspiration to guide your next weekend getaway (especially one that’s driving distance from Bombay / Pune), there’s lots to unravel and explore in Nashik. The wine capital of India also happens to be a bastion of timeless culture and heritage, whilst offering plenty by way of outdoor adventures too. Of course, if you know, you’ll know that the recently-opened Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Nashik is a reason in itself to visit as a luxury bolthole promising all the indulgent pleasures you’d seek of your next staycation. Chronicled here is a timeline of our memorable visit to this immersive destination, shared with plenty of cues to help you plan and curate your own sojourn!
We drive up on a Friday morning, leaving as early as we can to beat the inevitable traffic and roadblocks. With highways that stretch into the horizon, the journey turns into a scenic one just as soon as we’ve left the city and started our foray into the agricultural belt of the country. A surprisingly short three and a half hours later, we roll into Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, which is situated just off the Nashik-Mumbai highway.
The lobby makes a striking first impression with symmetrical design details that would make Wes Anderson blush; and high mirrored ceilings reflecting the patterned marble flooring. The rooms have a capacious sense of space too, with many extending to balconies looking out onto the pristine pool or the Trirashmi Hills. The highlight of our suite are stylised interiors that would not be out of place in a chic modern apartment in any cosmopolitan city from London to New York.
I bookmark the gargantuan bathtub for a leisurely soak later in the evening; but for now, we hasten down for lunch at The Smoked Vine – the all-day restaurant celebrating local and seasonal produce, alongside beautifully-blistered pizzas baked amidst dancing flames in an impressive Beech Oven. There’s a lot to feast on visually here too. The bright and vibrant setting is peppered with a colourful palette that is comfortably consonant with the clean lines and polished brass touches characteristic of a more modern design philosophy.
With Jr nestled back in the room for a nap post lunch, I settle in with a coffee and deliciously-engrossing book (Kevin Kwan’s latest, in case you’re wondering) at Le Bistro. Tucked away at the far end of the lobby – with bar-style seating encircling the domed-counter – the Indo-French inspirations behind this cafe are belied by a luxuriously languid tone. Here is a cafe where time stands still, long enough for you to savour your sip of single-origin coffees and nibble on exquisite patisserie.
The region’s boutique wineries are a focal point of our visit and we head out by 4pm to Vallonné, a sprawling estate ensconced in the Sahyadri Range, with picture-postcard views of Mukhne Lake. Jr enjoys pottering around the lush vineyards as much as we do, led by the winery’s impassioned winemaker Sanket who also walks us (minus Jr) through a tasting of Vallonné’s quality French-style wines. We are astonished to discover that the deliciously-dry rosé with its mellow hints of berries, is actually made from Cabernet Sauvignon, as this grape is more traditionally used for red wines. Our appetite is further whet by the South-East Asian plates at Malaka Spice and we round off our evening with an early dinner at the famed Pune-based restaurant which also has an outpost within the iconic yellow French-style house at the heart of the premises.
We wake up recharged (oh the wonders of a soft hotel bed!) and ready to seize the day, starting with the extensive in-house fitness facilities. Jr finds enough outdoor terraces and lush lawns to run through, whilst R.R.M. and I joust on the internationally-acclaimed ASB squash court. I even fit in a quick personal training session in the state-of-the-art Gymkhana, before balancing any calorie burn with a breakfast spread that can only be best described as sumptuous.
With plenty of local attractions nearby, R.R.M and Jr head out for a cultural excursion to the Coin Museum (incidentally founded by my grandparents in honour of my great-grandparents!), whilst I indulge in a mani-pedi at the shiny Salon before escaping into an oasis by way of Atman Spa, an inviting enclave buttressed with stone walls in tribute to the rich heritage of the Pandav Caves (a hike to this ancient site is a must-visit on any exhaustive Nashik bucket-list).
Come evening, we squeeze in a quick visit to the newly-opened Boat Club which is wildly-exciting with its expansive offering of water sports, aquatic activities and lake cruises. We make our way back to the hotel in time for a special candle-lit pool-side supper curated by Chef Anirban Dasgupta. The surreal setting is a natural canvas for experimenting with thoughtfully-sourced local ingredients and the evening slips by in a delicious haze soothed by the tranquil waters.
We while away the first half of the day at a leisurely pace, retreating to our favourite corners of the property. I gleefully manage to sneak in yet another spa treatment (following up yesterday’s deep tissue massage with hot stone therapy this time!).
On our main agenda today is a visit to Chandon in nearby Dindori. Helmed by Moët Hennessy, the elegant and architecturally-striking winery is the sixth of its kind in the world, harnessing the LVMH-owned brand’s winemaking expertise. The proof is in a behind-the-scenes tour of the impeccable facilities, after which we plonk ourselves down in the chic terrace-lounge looking out onto the manicured gardens and vineyards. The other-worldly experience is brought to life with the satisfying pop of Chandon’s signature Rose, as the brand ambassador Amrut deftly uncorks the bottle with one fell swoop of a saber! The affable team of Le Bistro back at the hotel have thoughtfully remembered to pack a picnic for our outing, brimming with sandwiches, cheese and more grazing bites.
As they say, a Sunday well spent brings a week of content and it is with happy hearts that we return to Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, having made the most of a memorable sojourn to Nashik.
Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, CTS No 289, 2, Vikrikar Bhavan Rd, Pathardi Phata, Nashik, Maharashtra 422010 | website: https://www.radissonhotels.com/en-us/hotels/radisson-blu-spa-nashik
Watch the mini vlogs from our visit on Instagram
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