We went to Mahabaleshwar in May 2011 and unlike what we heard, it was hot. During the evenings it would get chilly but during the day it was so very hot. I guess the best time to go there is during winters.
If you are in Mumbai, then it is best to drive to Mahabaleshwar. It is about 260 kms from Navi Mumbai. The roads are in good condition and the route is simple. Before we started our journey, I read some travelogues claiming they reached there in 3- 3.5 hrs. But we took 5 hrs to reach Mahabaleshwar. I am not sure how realistic the 3 hrs target is.
We started out at around 9 am from home. We stopped in between for breakfast and to fill up fuel. We faced traffic on the Pune road. We also had a flat tire which took us 30 minutes to fix. Of course we had our little Avishi with us so we weren’t driving crazy. Speed varied from 80-120 km/hr. We reached Mahabaleshwar around 2 pm.
It was so hot by then, that all we wanted to do was check-in to our hotel. We made reservations with Citrus Chambers, Mahabaleshwar. It is a very nice hotel, with lovely greenery around. It is a heritage property and therefore there is a ground floor and an upper floor. The rooms were well maintained and clean. The room was also very well done mainly in earthy tones thereby emitting a calming effect. It is apparently ranked the best hotel in Mahabaleshwar by TripAdvisor and I cannot vouch for that, but we were very happy with the hotel.
The food in the hotel was vegetarian which was a little disappointing. But the staff was very cordial and friendly with Avishi. They even prepared baby food for her and helped me whenever I needed assistance with the kitchen staff.
Around the hotel you will find cabanas, a play area for children, a huge chess board (like in harry potter) to keep you busy while in the hotel. They also have a spa in the hotel.
We spent most of our time in the hotel. They arranged some puppet show for the kids as well.
As for the places worth seeing, in Mahabaleshwar, you should visit the venna lake. There are boating facilities at the lake, but choose the right time or else be prepared for a long line for the tickets. During the day it is too hot and in the evenings it is too crowded. I reckon mornings are a good time. It opens by 8 a.m.
You can skip all the points that the tourist departments market. They are not that worthy to see. Just visit one point. Kate’s point is good for a great valley view. You can visit the market if you want to shop, but you won’t find anything specific to Mahabeleshwar, except for strawberries.
There is a place called Tapola which it seems looks like Mini Kashmir, but we didn’t go there. All the waterfalls were dried up. You can visit the temples there as well.
The city is famous for its strawberries and mulberries. You will find many people selling strawberries and mulberries on the streets of Mahabaleshwar.
As for the food – you must try the fresh strawberry and cream at Bagicha’s corner at the main high way. It is just mind boggling. You can visit the garden there and buy some fresh strawberries as well. Another good place to eat is an Italian corner called Piazza Vienna. They have an interesting menu for breakfast and dinner.
All in all it was a great holiday because we felt rejuvenated and relaxed at the end of it. Avishi enjoyed it a lot and therefore we were happy parents.