This place surely doesn't disappoint. Before going here I read a lot of reviews, many were positive and some were downright bad. However, now that I have been there I feel I need to write a review that really makes justice to the place. We booked the canopy machan for 10th September, however 2 weeks before our stay our dog fell critically ill, we had to cancel and thought our money is surely down the drain, however upon learning that our dog is so I'll they gave us an extension which we gladly accepted, however once again our dog hadn't recovered. They graciously gave us an extension on the condition that it would be the final one. We were really grateful because rarely any resorts make such exceptions. We were staying in Canopy 1. The room was clean and the view was simply mind-blowing. Coming to food I read many reviews that the food was very expensive. I had both their set menu and al carte menu. The food was filling and extremely tasty. Considering the cost, one has to understand that it's in the middle of jungle and the cost of getting fresh produce daily is expensive, moreover most high end restaurants in Lonavala would charge you same if not more. The best thing I liked about this place was no cell reception. I and my husband have been married for over a decade. Having the phone out the way allowed us to have long conversations with each other, which also bought us closer emotionally, spiritually and physically. I would highly recommend anyone who can afford this place to come here, atleast once. This place is truly worth the money. I know I will be back here, maybe not so soon, but surely in a couple of years."
We went in mid November and the location looked very beautiful with cool weather and greenery everywhere. Even the trip from Lonavala main city to the Atvan village itself is very scenic. The property is surrounded by jungle and is part of jungle itself with fences ensuring that no unwanted wild life enters the property.
We took a starlight machan. This machan has a two bedrooms with decks/balconies. The upper deck has a single person bathtub. There feels little privacy though to use the bathtub as your neighboring two machans will be visible from the deck. You could use it with swimsuit on though. The upper room has an open roof bath with commode and the washbasin indoors. A nice setup so that you don't have to worry about bugs creeping into the washroom. We mostly used the second washroom and bath on below room as we saw a big spider and a tiny frog in our upper room bath. The Machan also has a good plunge pool with water above waist level we swam a lot and had great fun here. The pool is good for 4 people and the water was warm and clean as well.
They have maintained a good garden and walkable paths through it with a few seating areas and hammocks. The also have a very small butterfly garden. If you are lucky best visit it in the early morning. The rest of the property is a jungle of various different kind of trees and there is walking path through it where the guided nature walk takes place. Be sure that this is a jungle and you will find wild life at some or the other point. We saw a snake about 3 foot long casually gliding across the property garden when we were roaming around. When we asked the surrounding staff they said that there are bigger snakes too.
Things to do:
We had gone for a night stay and after the lunch we straight away went for a swim in our pool. We had booked a nature walk by 5pm for a nominal fees of 100 per person plus taxes. The walk is a bit of mini excursion as it involves climbing up and down a lot and the path takes you across multiple streams, through some dense jungle part and finally to a sunset point. We missed the sunset though as the walk started a bit late. Do carry a water bottle though as you will sweat a lot. We found the nature walk worth it. They also offer free yoga session and documentary screening which we opted out of.
The Machan felt to be short staffed and pretty unprofessional in service. The inhouse dining took about an hour to deliver food as they were bogged down by orders. Also when asked to take away our plates we were instructed to keep our empty plates outside besides our door and they would take it away - which was still lying around our door till the time we were checking out.
Our Machan had a retractable roof but the mechanism didn't work when we tried to open it (somewhere around 10.30-11.00 pm). we called the reception and they sent out someone to check on it. The Technician checked the rooftop mechanism and informed as that some major issue was there and that they would only be able to fix it in the morning. When we asked at the reception to have us a room change or for any other solution they just said that the reception is closed and nobody will be able to respond to us till the next morning. Now the starlight is the most expensive accommodation of the machan and it is called starlight because you are able to retract the roof at night and see the night sky. Imagine how worst it is when the management is unavailable when such a major issue is present. So we had to sleep off disappointed that the thing we payed for is not available. But this is not even the worst of the experience. The worst happened the next day.
As we went for our breakfast next day we met with Vikrant Jharia the General Manager at the property and the conversation that transpired was really the worst hospitality we have seen till date. When we tried to tell him about the issue all he had to say was how unfortunate it was. When we tried telling him that we are very disappointed in the service he ranted on the N number of decades of the Machan and the efforts they put into maintaining the forest and all. But what he would not listen is how that didn't matter if we have paid for the service which we did not get. He was so blatant as to say that "the machan is about the good vibes and not about the lodging" - now why would you charge such an exorbitant price for the starlight if it wasn't about the lodging, could have charged the same as any other machan(which is about 10k less). He continued on to say how we were the ones who were having a negative vide and to leave the negativity and enjoy the stay. He also went on saying that they have worked decades on the property and we just merely go there and pay some amount for the stay in the property. What he doesn't get is that we have worked hard to earn the money we are spending in the Machan and that the arrogance he has for the Machan is not going to make do with loss we faced. He then went ahead saying that we should have opened the roof sooner in the day and that insect would come at night - When we checked in, the staff that showed us the room explicitly specified that to open the roof after 9pm as insects would not come in. To which he went on saying why even open the roof at night. When we said "to sleep under the open sky", he started laughing. I don't see the humor there, how you could laugh at your customer for the very thing you are selling. After this humiliating bit he went ahead saying that they could have opened the roof manually us - Yes for each of our want to open/close the roof we would then have to call the technician all the way from wherever he is and wait and dump the privacy you get at night - no thanks.
For all the disappointment, humiliation, frustration that we had to go through they dropped all the pending charges for food and activity which was less than 4K - Not much considering the cost of THE LODGING.
All I have to say about the upper management is that they are very rude, arrogant and no sense of responsibility. Their attitude is "sorry for your loss but we didn't do any mistake". They will rant away with all the long history of the Machan without a care that there customers hard earned money.
Food & Beverages:
We had non veg lunch buffet over at Machan. The food was good but definitely overpriced. I have stayed at places where they prepare locally sourced food. And local sourcing actually reduces price not increase it. We had in-house dining for dinner which was also way overpriced. If ever you want to visit this place the best thing would be to carry your own food if you can. The dining area also is smaller and you would have to struggle to find seats.
I will not visit this property again. It does not have much to offer. There are properties which would offer a great deal more for the same price - nature, tranquility as well as service. I have lived in 5 star hotels and have lived in the most nature exposed camps. This property tries to have a take on both but fails due to bad service.
My suggestions to The Machan:
Value each customer. Things go wrong - I get it - but that's what management is for - to handle the situation when things go wrong. We are not expecting a 5 star service but you are not a small camping establishment either.
Try to increase the staffing - mostly the reception ones who are directly in connect with customers.
Replace the cloth hammocks in the Machan with rope ones as the cloth ones accumulate a lot of dust and leaves. - if they are not present still its okay.
The machaan makes a poor effort at being a luxurious resort and no effort at being a tree house resort which it claims to be one. We stayed at the forest plus machaan number 5, and lucky us that we chose to stay just one night. The beds were squeaky, bathtubs unclean, bathrooms unclean (the one at the reception so bad that I had to wait until we got ours which wasn't clean too), kettle broken, unclean cups, and the list goes on. Forget covid protocols, wonder how they even do their basic cleaning if bathtubs bathrooms and cups themselves are so poorly maintained.
The reception being poor in responding to crisis that one can call them to fix something as basic as providing a functioning kettle, and be assured that after numerous calls and false promises like give me seven minutes, the problem will be fixed, hopefully, 2 hours later. The food quality poor except for the tandoori naan being exceptionally good. And yes, you need not pay for the internet because if you find the right spot in the machaan, you could get internet connection too (so much drama for digital detox!). At the time of booking, we were told that first machaan plus is the tallest machaan's only to be told at the reception at the time of check in that the plus resembles an extra bed in the room. At the property, no one knows where what is. When asked for directions for lunch, we were told just walk down and ask someone, and there was no one to be found to ask someone. We asked how do we go on the trail, we were told just walk towards forest machaan and ask someone. But who do we ask? Other guests. Forest machaan plus shares a wall with forest machaan 4 and lucky you if you have same guests as your neighbors as we did not. So much for quietness, and privacy, the machaan promises that you can hear your neighbors talk and walk in the next room, and jump about on the roof as well (forest plus machaan 5 has another forest machaan on top of it!). Haha! Yes, so much for being a tree house that you share spaces with others too! And to top it all, there is constant construction noise even on a mighty Sunday! Yes you read it right, there is an executive room being constructed whose construction noise is surely something you wouldn't miss (so much for running away from Mumbai construction!). They take a 3000 security deposit (which one is not informed to carry at the time of booking) for incidental damages. However, on reaching the room, a "piece of advice" says that if you do not vacate the room at 11am, late charges would be deducted from security deposit. Threatening works I guess. All in all. For 25000/night (inclusive of all meals) you can visit much more luxurious properties who do not falsely advertise and pretend to be what they are not.
We had very bad experience staying @ The machan , food spread and quantity vanished and no courtesy to refill and very thing is chargeable.
Reception called and forced us to checkout otherwise, they will charge Inr 3500 . Whereas they allowed us room @3.00 pm
Worst place and no Internet . Complete cut off from outside world .
Bad , worst experience @The Machan.
Ambience & location was splendid. Traveling towards Resort in not much difficult. Resort interior & it's elevated room's location is really like MACHAN.
We would love to re-visit the Resort along my family and friends.