Romantic ideological and quaint little Pune.
Pune has it all to beckon us Mumbaiites there almost every weekend. So much so that most of us buy a second home in Pune – figure out ways to develop work in Pune and then send the kids to the famous Pune colleges.
The many aspects of Pune that hold a special place in my heart are ; The history of the forts in and around Pune ; The Boat Club road sophistication , the Individuality that Koregaon Park offers and the little restaurants serving authentic Maharashtrian fare.
While the feelings remain the same the landscape changes , and the palatial bungalows become high-rises ,the forts get commercialised and people do change.
Years ago the elitest hotel for parties and gatherings in Pune was Le Meridian and even as a business traveller when you stayed there you had ‘arrived’. It spelt grandeur, class and comfort .
The Sheraton Grand, Pune is all that and more. This hotel has a lot to boast of and lives up to it .
1. Mr Jaswinder Narang, Complex General Manager ; The hotel embodies his essence of being warm, vibrant, comfortable and indulging . I had an enlivening conversation with him with topics ranging from the vision he has for this property to his favourite foods. Under his leadership The Sheraton Grand, Pune can look forward to consistent growth.
2. Location ,location , location !!! So close to the station, thirty minutes from the airport, fifteen minutes to all the cool shopping places of Pune . And if you want to check the quaint restaurants and cafés that makes this city so relaxed , well they are close by as well.
3. The food! This hotel boasts of the widest variety of food and the chicest inhouse restaurants .The multi cuisine restaurant, Feast is open all day serving European,Indian, Asian and Arabic cuisines. The huge buffet spread hosts live cooking stations of Mexican, Asian, Pasta and Shawarma counters. The breakfast spread is equally interactive, making one feel comfortable and lively. I could see a families bonding over good food, some friends raving about the buffet and some just come in on their own to enjoy their wine and pasta.
In this season, idyllic location for me to eat is on the rooftop. Adjacent to the outdoor swimming pool is Chingari. It is the place to explore the exotic flavours of North India while enjoying the cool breeze that sweeps over the rooftop every evening.
We spent a lovely evening at the family-style restaurant Bene. The cluster of leather armchairs beneath a collage of framed artwork conveys the impression of entering a private club though it’s where you belong. It’s like being in a good friends home, where you can be you and still be indulged. Chef Roberto, brings his vibrancy and warmth not only into the place but also the food. We had the famous pizza which was just ‘ooh la la’.Chef a bit too has his music going on is dancing and making fabulous pizza from the bustling life kitchen making a mouth water with the aromas of the home-made bread. Besides this, Bene boasts both of an exceptional cellar of Italian and New World wines to accompany the rustic menu of salads, soups, antipasti,pastas,rotisserie meats and also the delicious home-made desserts.
4. While we experience the Go Beyond initiative of providing exceptional service to us (the guests). We understand how Sheraton brings the heart to service interacting with guests in small but meaningful ways that have great impact on ,us the travellers experience.
5. After a rejuvenating head massage at the in house spa, headed to my spacious room listening to my favourite music only so enlivened as to want to work! Yes and I could get a lot of that done !
6. The Sheraton Grand, Pune is associated with the Ishanya Foundation , an NGO that helps support financially challenged women by helping them create handicrafts and then sell them at exhibitions to generate revenues. They organise further assistance to enhance the skills through training programs to then make exquisite handmade products and thus earn their livelihood by earning a secondary source of income. Sheraton organised a visit for me to the foundation and I was awed, inspired and humbled at the same time by the strength of these women. From Mrs Sonia Chand who is running this foundation to Sujata. Sujata, a woman from the lower income back ground, who has been working here since 12 years and been able to single handedly run her house and put her two sons through college. From selling their top of the line products to corporates and individuals to training the women at the Yerwada Prison to hone their skillls, these women are doing it all.
The Sheraton Grand,Pune is never going to be a one nights stay . It’s a beautifying, cultivated and a graceful stay.