THE STORY dates back to the pre-independence era. Ashok Jatia, chairman, Rhythm Resorts and Spa, bought this piece of land in Lonavla, Maharashtra, from Jawahar Mulraj, the grandson of Kersondas Mulraj, an unsung freedom fighter of India. Interestingly, he was named after Jawaharlal Nehru—this was revealed in a letter, now in the safe custody of Jatia. The Jatia family is also the custodian of authentic documents and letters of that era, and this triggered their decision to build a resort that wouldn’t just be a luxury abode, but a place that would reflect the heritage and character of the bygone era, while being in sync with nature.
The property has been built around a family of trees that is over 70 years old. “While surveying the property before its purchase, my father (Ashok Jatia) felt a calming vibe, which he attributed to these trees. He promised himself that whatever development he may undertake on the land, the trees would remain in their place. At the design stage of the project, we undertook a massive tree-mapping exercise and planned the entire flow of the structure around the trees. We paid close attention to the location, girth of each tree, height and also the spread of the branches. Even after taking these into account it was very difficult to judge the spread of the roots. We had to keep improvising during the execution stage to adjust for the spread of the roots. This natural legacy is the ethos behind our ‘tree of life’ logo and our efforts to reunite with nature,” says Vaibhav Jatia, managing director, Rhythm Resorts and Spa.
Handpicked design elements
Apart from nature and heritage, the resort has its own distinct style in terms of the architecture and the facade. Though located close to the old Mumbai-Pune highway NH 4, the resort is designed in a way that ensures a tranquil experience. The logo of the property is a well-rooted tree, which is rather distinct, as it welcomes you to a property that is simplistic and uncluttered. The elements of nature seem to be well balanced with light and water, and the space is rightly utilised. The entrance and lobby area lead you into a tastefully-designed lounge or library room, which serves as a meet-and-greet enclosure as well.
However, what catches the eye in the lobby zone is a large decorative unique boat structure that has been handcrafted by tribal artisans from Timor Islands of Indonesia. This rare artefact is unique since the entire piece is made from one single bark of wood. The element of nature is also carried forward in other rooms. Round wooden artefacts adorn the walls of the bedrooms—remains of a huge tree within the property that fell during heavy rains. Ashish Jatia, director, Rhythm Resorts and Spa, adds, “In spite of our best efforts, this tree could not be saved. However, we felt it would be right to give it a new life and meaning by using slices of the bark as decorative artefacts in all the rooms. Each section is from a different height of the tree trunk and is our tribute to the beauty of mother nature.”
Apart from the walls, the floors, too, have a story to share. All the tiles in the lobby and rooms are custom-made heritage pattern tiles. The designs, pattern and colours were all handpicked personally by Ashok Jatia.
As per Ashish Jatia, “These type of tiles can still be found in old bungalows and some heritage properties today. The origin of these tiles dates back to 1920s’ India when they were used as part of the Swadeshi movement—a contribution to India’s economic independence, these international-quality tiles were produced to replace imports. After installation, the tiles are required to be polished seven times to bring out the unique pigmented colours that give them a natural feel.”
Food and facilities
When it comes to the palate, the team at Rhythm is ready to offer their clientele a satisfying gourmet experience. Treehouse Cafe offers guests an all-day dining experience. Courtyard Poolside Bistro has its own charm amidst a natural setting, while those who like to relax over a drink and some music, may want to head to Cedar Lounge & Restaurant.
For your pampering ritual, the resort has an in-house spa facility and a small spa outlet around the pool. The resort is also well-equipped to cater to corporate meetings, conferences, events, etc. It offers a pillarless banquet facility called Grand Oak, with around
4,000-sq-ft space. This can be further divided into three smaller conference rooms. Apart from this, the resort can hosts weddings too, as it has big, open lawns. With 42 Cypress and 42 Banyan suites, it is ready to give its clientele a novel experience in Lonavla.