Come summers, one constant that hits every single family is the dreaded school vacations. The heat and the ever increasing travelling costs often jeopardizes our best laid plans and we find ourselves brooding over the ever increasing holes in our wallets a bit too frequently.
The most dreaded day of this lot is usually the first day of summers, and this time it was no different, when, over the morning cup of coffee (and smartly hidden under the fresh-off-the-press newspaper), I was served a long list of destinations and summer workshops which varied annoyingly on different levels of usefulness (or their lack thereof)…and then I notice among the long list of jazz, Zumba, puppet making, bakery, ballet classes….two sweet magical words – Novotel iMagica.
Over the years Adlab´s Imagica has not only established itself as one of the most popular amusement parks in the country but also added to its kitty, a water park -Aquamagica and the recently opened Snow World – Snowmagica. Novotel Imagica is the only hotel resort in the vicinity that caters to the guests wanting to cover all the three properties over a couple of days.
To top it all, we were informed that Novotel would be showcasing their summer menu during this weekend, which, to the foodie in me, proved to be the proverbial icing on the cake.
The chaos and cacophony of an outgoing offsite corporate group greeted us as we entered the hotel and it seemed as if too much was happening at the same time. There were jugglers juggling, mascots roaming around clicking pictures with kids, other kids on stuffed horses riding along, a guy on Segway moving about, welcome drinks being served, people playing foosball and table tennis, an MC making the outgoing group dance. The carnival like atmosphere in the lobby itself was a bit too much for the ageing old me to handle but worked well for the kids because before I could set my bag on the floor, I lost the two of them trailing Pinocchio and the Segway man, or somewhere between them two!
Despite the crowd, check in was quick and the rooms were clean, spacious and apt. If you have stayed at amusement park resorts you would concur that aesthetically, the hotel seems like any other simple hotel everywhere, but what it lacks in aesthetics, its makes up in the range of activities it provides.
All our main meals (Breakfast, Lunch and dinner) were served at their main rectangular shaped restaurant called the “Square” (perhaps naming it after the colloquial term used for a meeting place, but the irony is too funny for me to ignore). The food spread here is decent, but a bit run of the mill. The summer menu was quite interesting at it used many water vegetables in its spread thereby living up to the freshness of the summers. I also liked the fact that the portions in the buffet were small and apt which helped retained the moisture in many of their dishes. The South Indian, Pizza, paratha and egg live stations are apt, but need faster service. The stand outs from all our meals and the lavish high tea spreads were most definitely the cookies with some unusual frostings like sundried tomatoes and the Ghosht Dum biryani. My compliments to the chef for these.
Post lunch, the hotel had organized a short trek in a nearby pre-independence era village where I got some very interesting portrait shots on our way to a lake. The sunset views from this vantage point were simply spectacular. You can see those interesting shots on my travel blog shortly.
This was followed by our visit to the newly opened Snow World at Imagica. People can buy the tickets to this indoor snow arena separately from Imagica or may choose to club it with it as well. The indoor snow park has a small snow dance area, igloo, regular artificial snow falls and ski slides. My kids had a blast sliding down these slides (as did I). the only downside of the entire experience was the horrible stinky snow jackets that the park lends out to its guests. Either a sanitizing mechanism needs to be brought in place or I highly recommend visitors to carry their own.
We ended our eventful day by the open pool side lawns of the hotel which serves as a perfect setting for evening barbecues and live screenings of matches and/or movies as per the season. The gentle valley breeze, a very good DJ and a steady flow of drinks and snacks ensured that we all had a lovely time and called it a night.
The same poolside lawn doubles up as a fun activity arena in the morning where we enjoyed a healthy round of Zorbing, Cross bowing, archery and Air gun shooting.
Every morning, the hotel has a characters parade where all the characters from Imagica come down to dance along with the patrons in a flash mob style dance routine which engages both children and adults alike. This definitely adds to the carnival like atmosphere of the place.
This whirlwind trip ended up with a daylong fun-filled excursion at Imagica where the kids had their heartful of indoor and outdoor rides. We adults, too, had a great time, laughing ourselves crazy watching each other freaking out on the scarier rides.
Novotel Imagica, may aesthetically look like any regular hotel property (vizaviz. Any other amusement part resort/hotels) but what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in its activities. Round the clock characters, sport activities, gala parade, pool side barbecues, live singer, spa….the hotel has it all to make your summer weekends all the more fun. So what are you waiting for, go grab your phone and make your reservations!
Address: 30/31, Sangdewadi, Off Mumbai Pune Express Way, Khopoli Pali Road, Khalapur, Khopoli, Maharashtra 410203 | Phone: 02192 662 666