Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Hotel Gautam @ Mahabaleshwar - Review

For a hill station that has so many visitors and tourists during the peak season, there are surprisingly few online reviews available on hotels and resorts at Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra.

During the peak season, almost every single hotel and resort goes full barring perhaps the most expensive. We had to do an extensive search online and talk to friends and acquaintances for hotels to stay in based on our tastes and budgets.

Cutting the rant short, we searched on and for reviews and of the few we found, we hit upon Hotel Gautam ( for its consistently good reviews. This was going to be a shot in the dark and we took it.

The booking was made by calling Mr. Deepak at Pune who was willing to listen and answer all queries. I troubled him quite a bit demanding all sorts of answers about room size, hotel location, refund policy in case of cancellations etc. Hotel Gautam does not give you a refund but instead holds the amount for you to visit any time within a year of booking. This didn’t seem too bad. Besides, I booked a poolside room first, then cancelled and booked a Super Deluxe room, again cancelled and booked a family room since it was 3 adults and a child. Each time, Mr. Deepak never complained and patiently accommodated my request.

We traveled on 7-Jun-09 from Hyderabad and reached Pune on 8-Jun-09 at 9.00 am. Went to a friend’s place to have breakfast and a rest for my daughter and continued to Mahabaleshwar by the MSRTC bus. The bus started at 11.15 am and reached Mahabaleshwar at exactly 3.15 pm after which we took a taxi to Hotel Gautam. With some trepidation, we entered the hotel:


This is perhaps the second best reason to take a room here. On entering the hotel, you are treated to a fantastic view of the Koyna valley. The clouds lazily move along the mountain side for a good part of the day. The garden faces the valley and one can sit here and admire the valley for as long as one wishes (or until you checkout). The hotel is 2 kms from the market place and very close to Wilson Point.

Wilson Point is the highest point in Mahabaleshwar. The hotel is situated just around a kilometer from here. The walk is fantastic and you get treated to a cool/cold fast breeze at the top. If you’re up at 5.45 am, you get to see a most glorious sunrise.

The word "Serenity" would aptly describe the atmosphere of the hotel.


We chose the Family room as we were 3 adults and a child. The family room has 2 double beds, 2 bathrooms, 2 single beds, one mini-refrigerator, an air conditioner and two LCD TVs with some important channels showing. The entrance is through either of two doors which is particularly useful if someone wants to leave or stay. One side can be locked and the key taken.

The standard utilities provided are towels, shampoo sachets and medimix soaps. The bedsheets were neat and devoid of stains. There were no bed bugs, mosquitoes, cockroaches or ants in the room which proved how well maintained it was.

The photos of the room are attached for a better view. And talking of room view and placement, you pay more for the a valley facing room but frankly, it does not matter. All the rooms are in the same compound. So you can save a bit by taking a pool facing room and just walking up into the garden to enjoy the valley. The valley facing rooms make sense if you really love to admire the view as soon as you wake up or if the torrential rains are forcing you to stay indoors. Mahabaleshwar is simply too romantic in the monsoons.

There is a nice garden with play items for children like slides, a swing etc. My daughter enjoyed playing for hours. Enough space is given and the toys are all on grass making it a comfortable play area too. There are games too such as Table Tennis and Badminton. The swimming pool had clean water and we found many people taking a dip and having fun.

NOTE: The rice cooker seen in the photo is not a hotel provided accessory. We took it along just in case my daughter wanted to eat plain boiled dal.

The other rooms are quite spacious too and come with one double bed and an extra single bed/diwan. Photos were taken by me courtesy permission of Hotel Gautam.


This is where the hotel shines. The staff is always courteous. Right from the time we had to check in all the time till we checked out. Check-in was a polite no-nonsense affair and we were shown our rooms immediately. The room attendants do NOT wait or linger around for a tip from you. They do their job and keep moving.

We arrived at 3.30 pm at the hotel on 8-Jun-09 which was past lunch time. We were famished after the bus ride and requested some food at the front desk. The front desk is manned by Mr. Ramesh (also the Hotel Manager) and Mr. Suresh who very professional people. We were ushered into the restaurant and the manager and staff was serving us everything that was available. We asked for some rice, dal and curd and they served us without a moment wasted. Since we were close to snack time, we were also served snacks with tea/coffee with/without sugar.

The staff is responsive and carries out every request with a smile no matter what the time. Room service too is very quick. The staff did not bother us for anything. Snacks and tea were served in the garden when we asked for it as it was lovely to eat hot pakodas and sip a cup of hot tea while gazing at the lush mountains.

The most amazing level of service was extended to us after we actually checked out!

We booked a Neeta Volvo at 11.30 am on 13-Jun to take us back to Pune. Mr Ramesh had earlier quietly warned us against taking this bus because of the motion sickness experienced by people. We ignored his warning and booked it anyway.

The bus broke down at Susoor at 1.00 pm after traveling about 45 kms from Mahabaleshwar. We were stranded in the middle of nowhere with no other alternate transport and our train leaving from Pune at 4.30 pm. The bus driver called up his office and it was obvious that there was not going to be a replacement for another 1.5 hours. We were certainly going to miss the train.

In desperation, I called Mr. Ramesh and explained that we had just checked out and that the bus had broken down. He immediately barked a few orders to a taxi driver and made sure that the taxi reached us within an hour by 2.10 pm. He coordinated with us and the taxi driver and ensured that we got to Pune station on time. This was perhaps the most satisfying and justifying reason for staying at Hotel Gautam. Mr. Ramesh sent the taxi purely on the faith that we will still be at Susoor waiting for it. We could’ve left with the next bus itself and nothing could’ve been done.

The above paragraph is my way of thanking him and Hotel Gautam for the unequaled service extended to us before, during and after our stay at Hotel Gautam. Everyone is similarly helpful.


Perhaps the most ridiculous level of pampering would be in this department. The food is pure vegetarian and is impossibly good. We stayed for 5 days, stuffed ourselves, couldn’t complain anywhere and left the hotel with a relief because it was becoming an eating fetish. Good Lord! The food’s so good with so much variety that one can’t even sample everything. Even the Chinese and Continental dishes were above average. Do not expect a Mainland China or a Ritz. But the non-Indian dishes were made with passion and affection.

The Indian dishes were all outstanding. Being south Indians, we didn’t find the sambar upto our benchmark but it was good all the same. North Indian dishes are something to die for over here. The two sample menus can be viewed below. We never once felt like going out and eating anything else. The spread here ensured that we sinned properly and gained weight.

When we checked out, we requested a simple parcel for the journey. We were given a royal parcel consisting of sandwiches, pickles and curd. The manager offered us more dishes but we had to deny it.

Value for money?

Without doubt, especially during the off season. Those staying in Pune and Mumbai are really lucky as they can just drive up here within a few hours.

The only thing lacking is a WiFi connection. But when you go to stay and unwind, perhaps it is best not to have any link with the workplace.


I would be hard pressed to state any competition to Hotel Gautam as this hotel offers a perfect blend of food, location and outstanding service. We did try Ramsukh resorts which incidentally have excellent reviews but the rates were more than double of hotel Gautam.

Among the other hotels we called during the booking period, we found Hotel Pratap Heritage very courteous. Same for Lake view resort. But after having seen this hotels, the location offered by Gautam was simply too good. For non-vegetarians, Hotel Brightland would be the best but the rates are much higher there.


Rashmi said...

We have planned a trip to Mahabaleshwar in May and booked Hotel Gautam.
Thanks so much for your review, we are looking fwd to our stay all the more!

Anonymous said...


Very Well written review and after reading your review we too visited the resort and found out what you mentioned is right and now the rooms are changed for better after your visit thank you for helping us decide and we enjoyed our small vacation.