By Sumita Chakraborty
Seven reasons why people who love nature, animals, and travelling, will connect deeply with Forest Hills Tala Resort in Raigad.
1. How Green Was My Valley
This isn’t just the name of a movie, it can aptly describe the picturesque, eco-friendly luxury bouquet resort Forest Hills Tala in Tala, Raigad. 160 km away from Mumbai and Pune – a four-hour drive; this place is nestled in the womb of nature and dotted with trees and verdant rich greenery. Way up on the forest hill road, the picture-perfect Forest Hills Tala Resort overlooks the craggy hills and the backwaters of the Arabian Sea.
2. Invigorating air and amazing views
In fact, if you walk by its Valley Cafe alongside the picturesque swimming pool nestled high up on the hills, not only is the bracing air extremely rejuvenating, the view overlooking the hills and a narrow river is mind-blowing.The villas – starting from the Hermitage Villas to the many villas on different levels overlook a picture-perfect postcard-like scenery.
The first night, we are put up at Blue Indigo villa and as we clamber up the speckled brown cobbled steps, there is a sprawling emerald carpet-like lawn interspersed by trees and shrubs. The next day, we move into the beautiful Hermitage Zinnia Villa which has its own little swimming pool with a tiny diving board on the balcony veranda along with a table and chairs to lounge around as your lil ones swim in this tiny pool. The room is spacious and the walls have huge sprays of zinnias painted on them.
Fun fact: Each Hermitage villa is named after a particular flower, example Hermitage Zinnia – because the interiors are designed with zinnia flower theme. Hermitage has three flower-themed categories – Jasmine, Zinnia and Marigold.
3.“Let’s Go Green to Get Our Globe Clean”
“Let’s Go Green to Get Our Globe Clean” is the mantra Forest Hill Tala resorts follow. So, the decor of the resort is eco-friendly. The gorgeous reception had a high log ceiling roof reminiscent of Thai décor. They had luxury hut-like villas amid the verdant greenery. Though we had a luxury Blue Indigo villa with its floor done up in indigo blue. The huge suite had a large master bedroom, a small dining table with chairs, blue settees, a fabulous floor-to-wall leaning mirror, and a luxe bathroom. The windows with drapes opened up to the greenery all around and right outside the door was a pretty veranda. The Hermitage Zinnia was an experience by itself. It looked like a thatched hut with your swimming pool on the balcony.
4. It’s pet friendly
Not only did our little dog enjoy gambolling up and down on the open space in the resort, they served him a bowl of hot food. He managed to gulp it down in minutes. For animal lovers, there is a wonderful petting zone where you have rabbits, goats and emus residing. It’s the most relaxing section of the resort.
5. Organic food
There is a lovely organic farm at this eco-friendly place and the resort follows a farm to fork system. So you are sure to get the freshest and most delicious organic veggies from papayas to cherry tomatoes right from the farm to your plate.
Lunch at the Valley Café included a sumptuous buffet spread. There is a la carte too if you want to choose your own menu. My dog too got a bowl of wholesome food from the chef.
6. Connecting with nature
There is a deep sense of peace, sitting in silence, ensconced between the hills, dells, and the blue backwaters of the Arabian Sea. The hours slide by, watching the setting sun as we treated ourselves to platefuls of pakoras and samosas.
7. For the love of sports!
You have archery, rifle shooting and ATV biking down the serpentine turns on the hill road. And if you want to be pampered, there is a spa right in the middle of the resort. There are many activities too. For instance it was International Yoga Day and the resort organised eminent yoga expert Bhakti Mody to have a session with us. Yoga with Bhakti was rejuvenating – she made us go through some elementary yoga asanas. The session ended with nariyal pani, fresh from the organic farm.
Nestled within nature, Forest Hills Tala is absolutely delightful. Definitely recommended!
Sumita Chakraborty is Editor-in-Chief, Stardust magazine.