I stayed with my family at the Ganpatipule Resort over the 15 August 2011 weekend.
Honestly, I would have not written a review as such, but there were some compelling reasons for me to do so.Firstly, there is very little information about the resort location, closeness to beach, which room to choose, how is the view and amongst other things a general idea of the stay there.I did a lot of research online and was able to decide then.
I went during the rainy season, which is the non-peak season of the year.Prices are lower at this time of the year, June-Sept.I did a reservation at this resort in April, almost 4 months ago, and could not get a room of my choice, so it is obviously a better idea to book earlier than this.Do not even think about going there and booking a room, with the idea of a room being available.Locals will charge you exorbitant prices, and its really not worth it. For Rs.5600, I conveniently booked a "Deluxe AC" (1300/night) and "Sea View Deluxe Room A/C"(1500/night). These two types of rooms have very little difference in the view of the sea.Reservations happen only through Nivalink.
I started on Saturday (13 August 2011) via Jan Shatabdi Express at 5:20 AM from Dadar, and reached Ratnagiri at 11:30 AM on same day.This train has Chair cars only and there is no sleeper compartments.There is a single AC coach of 103 capacity.Its highly recommended that you book in the AC chair car, as most of the local public without reservations will get in the reservation compartment.
From Ratnagiri, we took a rickshaw for Rs.450 to reach Ganpatipule, and took us about 1 hour to reach there.The views are mind blowing on the way, and do get down to click a few snaps.
The staff at the resort is friendly and helping.We checked into our rooms and here is the first look review of the rooms
- Sea view is not partial as the Nivalink folks had suggested.There is more than adequate view of the sea from these rooms.
- The room was a little less than perfect in terms of the general look.The paint was scraping and there was definite stale smell of the sea.
- Washrooms and Bathroom was very clean and looked after.
- The AC was non-functional, Phone was not working. I could not reach out to the Reception to complain about the faulty AC, the first day.
- Road leading to these rooms was frayed, and it was a trouble walking bare foot when we came back without footwear from the beach.
Sea View Deluxe Room A/C
- Sea view is little more, since it is about 40 feet ahead of the Deluxe AC room.There is a small pavement for walking around these rooms.
- These rooms have almost everything common with the Deluxe AC room.The room is of the same size and the layout is also the same.
If you cannot get a reservation to the the Sea View Rooms, then the Deluxe room will provide you the same view of the sea at a lower cost.You definitely need an AC room as the weather can be hot and humid.
On the same day, we had out lunch at a "Pure Veg" Restaurant named Bhau Joshi.If you cannot stand a mixed kitchen then this restaurant is the best value for money.A sleep inducing lunch will come to about Rs.100/person.
After visiting the Lambodar Temple for which the place is named Ganpatipule, we headed for Jaigadh Fort.If you can avoid this dilapadated fort, you should.Instead you can visit the Lighthouse which is near this fort and have a breathtaking view of the sea from the highest point in Ganpatipule.The lighthouse closes at 5:30PM sharp, so you need to be here before that.This trip cost us Rs.500 in a Rickshaw and the fort is about 25 kms from the MTDC resort.
On our return journey, we had a look at the Blue Ocean resort which has a part of the beach cordoned off for them.The starting price in this resort is Rs.10500/Night.
For Dinner, we packed food from the small restaurant just next to the Lambodar temple and had it in our room.If you plan to do this, then you need to have sufficient number of plates, spoons and other vessels.Drink only bottled water from reputed brands.
Day 2 (14 August 2011)
We had two options, staying at the hotel and have fun at the beach or visiting Marleshwar(80 kms) which has an ancient Shiva Temple and a huge waterfall .We stayed at the beach because the day was very clear and the tide was at its highest peak.
The water is not the best in terms of cleanliness.Wear adequate protection (sunscreen, shower cap) if you intend to go in the water.Keep adequate drinking water and the sea can be rough, so do not venture out deep.The part of the beach just outside the resort will be almost private so that is a sure advantage of staying at the resort.If you are allergic to anything related to the skin, wear additional protection to avoid an allergy.A sun tan is sure to happen.
We spent about 6 hours having a lot of fun at the beach and returned back by 1 PM to our rooms.I moved my belongings from the Deluxe AC room to the "Deluxe Room A/C (Super)" because of the non-functional AC.This room has the best view of the sea because it was higher than all rooms in the resort and the room is relatively large.The manager kindly agreed and got us shifted.Strongly suggest to book this room if available.
Most restaurants stop serving food after 2:30 PM, so make sure you have food by this time.We had a quick nap after our lunch.We spent most of out time at the beach in the evening, and played some card games at night, after dinner.
Day 3 (15 August 2011)
The MTDC being a government organization, there was the tricolor unfurled in the morning on Account of the Independence Day.We had heavy breakfast and starting packing as we had to checkout by 9 AM.The MTDC folks were okay to extend the time to 10:30 AM.The kids we had with us were so happy with playing at the beach that we decided to go back again to the beach.We packed all out stuff and kept it at the reception.The reception has 2-3 small cabins where you belongings can be safe, and there are open showers along the way from the beach to the resort where you can clean yourself.You can change your clothes in the washrooms/driver rooms near the reception.
The MTDC staff booked a minivan from us from our trip back to Ratnagiri station for the train Jan Shatabdi Express back to Mumbai.We reached Mumbai at 11 PM at night.
Some Tips for a pleasant stay at Ganpatipule
- It is highly recommended to stay at the MTDC resort, because it has a prime view of the sea.No other reseort in its class has that kind of view for the rate MTDC offers.
- Unlike other government servants, the staff at Ganpatipule was forthcoming and friendly,accomdating.
- Wear sunscreen
- The rickshaw drivers have a habit of enforcing decision on other rickshaw drivers if you haggle a lot with them.We wasted about 1 hour because one of the rickshaw driver we haggled with, made others deny us ferrying to Jaigadh fort.We walked about 2 kms to the rickshaw stand and then found a rickshaw.It is higly recommended that you book a minivan or a car for your entire trip to save time.Better still, it will work out to be the same in terms of time and money to travel from Mumbai by road.
- Its best to avoid direct confrontation with the local public who will escalate issue unnecessary and give it a communal twist.
- Expect drunk folks on the beach and in most public places.
- Wear proper clothing as the place has a religious sentiment attached to it.
- Prices in the MTDC restaurant are almost double the prices outside the restaurant.A little walk to the two restaurants behind the Lambodar temple will save you some serious money.Do not venture out after 8 PM if you are alone.
Pros for the MTDC resort
- Friendly services
- Clean bathrooms and toilets.
- Prompt service
- Little wear and tear, rooms leak water in moderate to heavy rain.
- Be sure to check all AC and other equipment before you check in.
- Restaurant is expensive as compared to all other restaurants.
- Roads leading to rooms are not paved well and can create pain in the foot if walking bare foot.
- At night, there is not enough ambient lighting outside along the roads that lead to the main gate.Be sure to carry a bright torch.
- Water Heaters in the rooms could have been better.
- Toilets need health faucets.
What to eat
- Misal Pav
- Usal Pav
- Puri Bhaji
- Shrikhand and Mango pulp at Bhau Joshi Restaurant.
- Poha and Idli at Swati Restaurant.These two were so good that we repeated them for breakfast the next day as well.
- Tea from the MTDC Restaurant.
Generally, the Maharastrian food is highly recommended.
For readers to make a decision on which rooms to book, here is an location map of the rooms in the resort.