About 50 Km and 90 Min drive away from the chaos,mad rush, choked potholed roads of Bangalore lies a bit of paradise. Shreyas Retreat is an amazing 25 acre property located at Nelamangala on the Tumkur road. (You will have the last mile problem in locating it – so keep the phone number handy to call. Google Maps identifies the place but does not work)
I am always on the lookout for these unique classy nature resorts and I am surprised that Shreyas has never come up in any search or has been mentioned by anyone till date – like they say the worlds best things are not advertised. It was purely by chance after I had made my booking at Ananda that I came to know of this place from a Yoga Instructor at my gym – one look at the website and I cancelled Ananda – No Regrets.
Shreyas is a sprawling property spread across 25 acres. Its verdant and green, well maintained, lots of trees , a touch of rustiness – its natural and alive. The minute you walk in and spend a few minutes you realise that this place has the right energy balance – its just perfect.
It has only 12 rooms – 8 garden cottages , 3 pool side rooms and a 3 Bedroom cottage. The rooms are large, airy, lots of sunlight – the bathroom is large and extends to a nice open courtyard (Hot water 24 by 7) . The Decor was to my liking – classy and rustic (not glitzy and overdone like the palace of the maharaja of Eyesore). The Garden Cottages have a nice verandah. Rooms have AC / Fan / Wi Fi / Good Lighting / Kettle / A Safe / Nice study Table / Decent Storage – No TV.
Its a Yoga retreat and they have two Yoga Halls – an outdoor open hall and an indoor one that doubles up as a meditation hall / meeting room – They also have meditation huts in a few other places. The unique thing – they conduct Yoga and chanting sessions even for their staff – lucky staff !
The group yoga sessions happen at 6.30 AM and at 4 PM – the quality of the Yoga Teachers is outstanding and the practise is very energising. I started my day at 4.30 AM with meditation till 6.15 and then did the group session from 6.30 to 8.10 AM – all those twists, stretches and Surya Namaskars – I was famished for breakfast. And I was not dissapointed
Food is pure Veg (No Eggs) – very healthy and tasty – served in style. This is the type of healthy breakfast you must have every day. Lunch and dinner is also simple and homely – here is a sample menu of what I was served for dinner. All the food is freshly prepared , can be customised and is very very tasty. Also not that there is no liquor served , and consumption is also not allowed. Food is served for breakfast , lunch . dinner – set menu. No room service – no restaurant where you can order for Chai and Pakoda at 4 on a rainy day.
The Spa is small but very well maintained and offers both Swedish and Ayurvedic therapies. Its calm and serene and the breeze wafting through the bamboo curtains ads to the charm. The quality of therapists is best in class and its money well spent. Spa Therapies are not very cheap – a 60 min session can put you back by Rs 3600. But the good thing – the 60 min session actually stretches to 75 min or more.
Another well maintained WOW spot is the 3 acre organic garden – it grows a variety of fruits (Jackfruit, Mangoes, Chickoo, Custard Apple, Jamun, Sweet lime) many vegetables (Beans, Variety of Gourds, Brinjal, Okra, Papaya and Spinach) and lots of herbs (Basil, Mint, Rosemary, Lemon Grass, Brahmi, Triphala, Borage etc) – I love natural farms and spent a long time in this place
Adding to the rustic element is the sound of a Train chugging away once every 2 hrs – the rail track is not very far away and this adds to the charm of a holiday.
What else – well a few more things
1. A nice cobbled stone pathway / track around the property for long walks or jogs
2. A beautiful swimming pool and a Jacuzzi
3. An Open air amphi theatre and a movie auditorium – very well stocked with DVD’s
4. A Small conference room that can host 20
5. A well stocked Library
6. Wi Fi that works across the Resort – Excellent 3G network also
7. Its plastic free – so no Bisleri bottles
8. Pets not allowed ( Thats sad – I am sure the dogs cooped up in apartments would have loved the nature and open spaces as much as us)
Which brings me to the question that many may ask – Are children allowed ?
Unfortunately the answer is YES – you come to a place like Shreyas to unwind and connect with yourself. To Recharge and find out answers to some basic questions. Its best to come alone or with a close friend / spouse / soulmate.
I say unfortunately – because although Kids are allowed they may not have much to keep themselves busy. And the last thing you want in a property like this are pesky brats shouting and demanding attention. So if your family is a highly evolved one and your kids enjoy soulitude and can manage without TV and a stream of activities – please do come over – else figure out an alternative solution.
So who is the ideal Target Audience – I met a few people – a lady from Turkey who is here for 17 days , and another lady who is here on her fourth trip. Thats the target audience – people who want to spend time with nature , be on their own and enjoy nature, healthy food and world class hospitality. Its not a family destination – not a weekend binge party for your 40th birthday
Not advertised but the place is pretty busy most of the time – I was lucky. The weather was perfect – no rains – only 3 occupants including me. The service was perfect. Really am not able to think of a single thing that was not perfect – everything happened on time, service was soft, warm and classy all through my stay.
Will I come back – yes I will definitely come back – the cost is steep and it does pinch to pay $ 300/night (Inclusive of all food / yoga sessions etc) – but thats the price mankind will have to pay for having messed up with nature. Two nights in Shreyas can make you feel fresh and energised – no wonder the rishis in the himalaya by the sacred rivers become so evolved – living all their lives in this setting – nature , soulitude and less people – thats what you pay for – and sadly we seem to be hunting for these spots and recreating them in enclaves after spoiling them on mother earth. Its worth having a debate on what man has achieved in the last 50 years – is it a boon or a curse.
One more thing (As Steve Jobs always said in his memorable presentations) – Shreyas is owned by a NRI Business Magnate but is managed by Relais & Chateaux – this is a global hospitality company that runs some amazing resorts across the world. The standard they deliver is outstanding – and I am sure the experience they deliver will be too.
Here is a list of the other properties they have in India / Sri Lanka & Maldives – I have not been to any – but I now have a list to get working on.
- Shakti 360 Leti – Uttrakhand
- Samode Safari Lodge – MP
- The Serai – Jaisalmer
- Mihir Garh – Rajasthan
- Sher Bagh – Rajasthan
- The Malabar House – Kerala
- Niraamaya Surya Samudra – Kerala
- Purity – Kerala
- Soneva Fushi – Maldives
- Ceylon Tea Trails – Sri Lanka
- Cape Welligama – Sri Lanka
Some More Photos
Front room of the 3 bedroom Cottage
Dinner Table by the poolside
Lilies and more greenery
Toasted bed with Scrambled Tofu – tastes like Bhurjee – must try at home
A small neat temple in the premises of Shreyas
A Nice wooden sculpture of Rama – Sita – Hanuman , Has Thai features
The Movie auditorium
A sample day at Shreyas