If you are thinking of a weekend getaways from Mumbai, Delhi, Bhopal or any other place easily accessible to Udaipur then it is worth heading towards the historic city of Kumbhalgarh which is around 90 kilometre away for Udaipur airport. Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India has placed their flag firmly in the region by offering its members a well defined property loaded with activities both indoors and outdoors. The drive from the airport to the resort itself is truly scenic. The landscape offers a unique panoramic view of the Aravallis which overwhelms you. This explains the ancient history of the region that speaks of courage, valour and honour. The entire region looks like a well guarded secret and the geographic positioning of the place adds to its character. The drive also reveals a new colour palette of Rajasthan that is visibly green rather than the predictable earthy brown that is synonymous with the state. Adding to the experience, Club Mahindra resort’s driver who drove me to the property was a local and he provided me with some interesting folklore associated with the place. En route we passed through the historic region of Haldighati, which proudly reflects the valour and courage of the famous warrior Maharana Pratap and his equally famous house Chetak. Those interested in stories of bravery, loyalty and courage of the bygone era, this place is a must visit on the way to Club Mahindra Kumbhalgarh Resort.
After an approximately two hour drive, we reached the resort, a structure and architecture that is a reflection of Rajasthani art and style. The property is spread over an area of around two acres which houses 68 rooms and eight tents. The Club Mahindra Kumbhalgarh Resort was a greenfield project, which was developed in line with the Club Mahindra philosophy of opening up regions for hospitality and tourism that are reasonably off-beat and unexplored, while keeping the commercials and profitability in mind. After a traditional welcome, I was ushered into a lobby area which had its own charm. A small sit out tucked away on one side works as a mini reception, with its striking turquoise facade. After the initial formalities, I was given two options, either head to my room and order for room service or savour some flavours at the eating outlet – Jeeman. I opted for the later to get to experience of dining at Jeeman, an interesting name which Dinesh Gupta from the F&B department explained, that it was more to do with the local culture of sitting and eating together as a family. The food offered was elaborate similar to any resort like cuisine experience but what broke the monotony of the pasta, pizza and Punjabi food fare was the distinct local cuisine on the menu as well as the traditional Rajasthani sweets along with the Tiramisu and cheese cakes. Vishal Purohit from the Club Mahindra team shared some interesting notes on the Club Mahindra experience and the time share business in general. The concept had shown growth over the years and even a place such as Kumbhalgarh, which is not traditionally known for tourism, looked active and buzzing even on a weekday during the non-peak season. I was informed that all the rooms, apartments and tents were occupied and they were going full house. The family buzz across the property was proof enough. Purohit also informed me that they make a conscious effort to cater to most tastes, as the very concept of Club Mahindra is to cater to the Indian traveller who travels with the family, along with senior citizens. Kids and special food requests are catered to with ease. This kind of a demand is quite regular in the time share business as one avails room nights as active members, which comes with an apartment providing the member to even cook as per individual tastes and preference. While dining at Jeeman, Purohit also pointed out to a terrace setup, which they use for guests who have special requests and demands like that of a princely dining experience. My lunch experience was reasonably elaborate and which does lead you to a siesta but I decided to give that a slip and opted for a walk around the property instead. While on my walk, I discovered a mini super market within the premise, which stocks up all kinds of quick food and ready to make options for guests who have opted to cook within their own space.
The resort is definitely a treat for members who have children as there is a plethora of activities to choose from. From indoor sports and creative activities to that of soft adventure, the club has a list for children to explore and experience. From swimming in the pool to playing cricket on its lawns, from enjoying pottery making to witnessing some Rajasthani art and cultural performances in the evening, there are all these and more for the live-in guests. For spa lovers, Svaastha spa, can help you relax your tired feet after walking around the visually appealing Kumbhalgarh Fort, the walls of which is claimed to be the second longest continuous wall after the Great Wall of China. As a suggestion do not miss out on the dramatic light and sound show at the fort during dusk and after. Come back for a moonlit dinner at the open air dining venue called the Gazebo. If you are lucky, you will experience surreal view of the moonrise. I did get to see that breathtaking sight unfold. Match that up with some ‘Ker Sangri’ and other local cuisine offerings and the experience gets all the more memorable. Another interesting detour from the property is the Ranakpur Jain Temple. It is worth taking the spiral drive down the mountain to view the architectural splendour of the temple in white marble.
Club Mahindra is scripting a story of its own in the timeshare space and is confident of opening up more hospitality offerings in the future, giving the time share business increased recognition in India.