Saturday, June 04, 2016

Weekend Stay: Review of Jakson Inns, Phaltan

When Google Maps shows that the hotel you are invited to is set amidst acres of barren farm land with a few industries here and there, the nearest big city is at least 60 kilometres away, water is scarce and the place sees about 12 days of rainfall in the whole year, and at the same time the itinerary includes some experiences which you can just not say no to, what do you do?

It didn’t take me long to say yes to the trip to Phaltan for a 3 day-2 night stay at Jakson Inns to review the property and to experience some unforgettable moments.

Early one morning this summer, along with some bloggers and travel writers, I was headed to Phaltan (270 kms from Mumbai), a small town located in the Satara district of Maharashtra.

An overcast sky allowed me to click this beautiful picture of the property one evening. Jakson Inns, Phaltan

Welcome

After crossing acres of barren land which our driver Rajuji informed us ‘is filled up with water to the brim in the rainy season’, we arrived at Jakson Inns in the afternoon. We were welcomed with the traditional aarti thali and tikka into the reception. Cold towels and a glass of sugarcane juice immediately regulated our body temperature. The juice tasted different, and if I might say ‘little too pure’. We later got to know that it was sourced from the sugarcane farms nearby. No wonder, it hadn’t tasted the pollution yet and hence the purity.

Acres of dried up barren land. Can you see that jeep parked close to the river? (On the way to Phaltan)

The Room and Facilities

We were then headed to our rooms to freshen up before it was time for lunch. The rooms on all floors of the hotel are divided by a corridor, one side facing the front and the highway, the other facing the agricultural lands on the back. My room was on the front side as I discovered. The double-bed room looked quite classy and I took the moment to click a few pictures of the interiors before I spoiled it with my footprints.

Take a seat. Make a call. I like the design of the lamp. Jakson Inns, Phaltan

The bed was comfortable and inviting; the room well-lit and cool. Jakson Inns, Phaltan

View from my room; nothing very beautiful, but pleasant. Jakson Inns, Phaltan
There were three phones in the room- one on the study, one on the bedside table and one in the bathroom, making it quite convenient to take calls or call room service no matter where in the room you are. My preference for an English newspaper had been taken in advance and the TOI was delivered to my room early in the morning.

There was 24 hours hot water supply in the bathroom, a ready-to-make tea and coffee set along with a fridge and locker, Dish TV connections and a really amusing how-to-use for the remotes caught my attention. (How many times a new remote actually confuses us?)

Amusing..eh? Jakson Inns, Phaltan
The bed was comfortable and with the regulated air-conditioning I surely had a good night’s sleep, before being woken up by the alarm that got me out of the bed in one go in anticipation of the activities lined up for the day. (Read in the next post)

Wifi and other services

A welcome letter addressed to me sat on the study and had basic information about the hotel’s services. The most important service probably was the ‘free wifi’ that the hotel’s website and reviews prominently featured and it was time for a test. I did hear from one of our co-travelers that the she faced some issue with the wifi in her room which was on the back facing side of the hotel. But during my entire 48 hour stay at the property, the wifi worked wonderfully in my room as well as in the restaurants and corridors. The good speed allowed me to finish some long-pending work and blog posts during my stay.

I didn’t make use of the laundry services nor did I get a chance to ask for room-service during my stay, but going by the kind of service and hospitality the hotel provided, I am sure these would have been great too.

The welcome letter in the room. They did a mistake with the salutation on my name.
It was corrected by the time I returned to the room post-lunch. Jakson Inns, Phaltan

The Property

On our last day, we were taken on a guided tour of the entire property by Gautam Banerjee, the General Manager of Jakson Inns, Phaltan. We went through the various suites, disabled friendly rooms, solo-women traveller rooms, the gym and spa, the banquet halls, the huge laundry and the usually-non-accessible backend area of the hotel, the restaurant ‘Green Bean’ and the bar ‘Fulltoon’.

The solar panels set on the rooftop account for nearly a quarter of the electricity requirements of the hotel, which is huge. They have the capacity to produce 8000 meals a day for the nearby industries. They currently are preparing 2200 meals a day. The details of the rooms, services and facilities can be found on their website here.

Jakson Inns, Phaltan is India's first LEED certified 3 star hotel building with disability access.

The corridor was lined up with amusing quotes. Jakson Inns, Phaltan

Gautam showing us around the hotel property. Viewed here is the backside of the hotel. Jakson Inns, Phaltan

Solar panels on the rooftop of Jakson Inns, Phaltan account for a quarter of electricity needs of the hotel.

The heat was intense but that didn't dampen our spirits, not for a moment. Jakson Inns, Phaltan
‘Why a star hotel at this desolate location?’ I asked Gautam one evening. It was perhaps the most intriguing question all of us had. Gautam told us very frankly about how the place had been projected as an industrial zone a few years ago, and the hotel had been constructed keeping business tourists in mind. There are no luxury hotels in perhaps a 100 km radius of the place and hence there was a growing demand for the same. But the industrial growth had slowed down and it was then that the management decided to promote the place as a tourist destination.

‘But there is absolutely nothing here apart from barren lands.’

‘Exactly. That is why we thought about the ‘unique experiences that we can provide that would attract tourists here’.

Well, the ‘unique experiences’ did attract me to Phaltan and I wasn’t disappointed for a bit. Having breakfast on the river banks, sitting right under huge wind mills and staring at the sunset, getting access to the not-open-to-public palace of the royal family, having sugarcane in a farm and riding a tractor, among other things were just a few to name.

I shall write about these unique experiences and why a stay at Jakson Inns, with its hospitality, is worth it, in my next posts. Keep an eye!

Jakson Inns, Phaltan invited me for a weekend stay. Opinions on the blog, as always, are mine.

Read: 
1. Why a visit to this rural Indian town will leave you spellbound
2. The 'Wow' Hospitality at Jakson Inns, Phaltan

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