Come, lets discover India’s first theme park hotel ‘NOVOTEL Imagica Khopoli’ with me. I am glad that I was hosted by the property to experience its charm and hospitality. I promise my views stand unbiased.
I landed in Mumbai on 22nd October in the late evening and next day I was off to this interesting place to grab my share of fun. Needless to say, the picture below perfectly speaks of my awesome time there. The hotel proudly says that “FUN NEVER ENDS” here, lets read to know how.
The driver who came to pick me up at my given address did not call me even once to ask for the directions. He was standing right outside my sis-in-law’s apartment half an hour before time. I would give full marks to his punctuality.
On the way, I was joined by another blogger friend who had agreed to accompany me for this experiential stay. I was happy to have a good company. Khopoli is well connected to Mumbai via expressway. It lies in the midway to Pune. It was a long ride but a jam free one. This was my first time towards Navi Mumbai and the Expressway.
We had started from Ghatkopar West at sharp 11 a.m., stopped no where and had reached Khopoli by 12:20 p.m.. I thought everyone said its too far, but it din’t seem like to me. Maybe because when two females are talking, they hardly realize the time elapsed and here we were two bloggers, we had lots to talk around many things. The expressway was smooth, fast and thus the ride turned out to be easy and relaxed. Far from the maddening crowd, the first thing that caught my eyes was the Nitro ride at the Adlabs Imagica Park. It welcomed us to the one month old Novotel property that stood just adjacent to the theme park.
The moment I entered the hotel, the first thing that caught my attention was a crowded reception and lobby. Second, lots of children and interesting, tall characters shaking hands with them. I wondered, who they were but again I went to my first thought- ‘It had not even been a month to its inauguration and the hotel was buzzing with a huge numbers, this seemed impressive indeed’.
I went through the normal check -in process and got the keys only when I had shown my identity proof and filled a customary form. The welcome drink was refreshing and in no time I was on my way to the room. The picture above shows the focal point of the property and below one shows my way through the passage on the third floor.
Before going in my room, I walked right to the end of the passage and the view on the other side of the glass was only about two colors- green and blue. It felt good to be close to nature. And secondly there was enough parking area. Wow!! Also, I was reminded that the address of the hotel says its nestled between the Sahyadri hills and I think I could see them right there.
A neatly decked up room welcomed me. The decor was simple and tastefully done. There were no loud colors and the sofa chair sat pretty in red. The room was spacious and airy. And most of all the white drapes looked beautiful. It seemed as if they were inviting me to check the balcony view first.
The room had all the essentials in place. It had a warm and cozy feeling. There was enough natural light coming in. There was lots of space to walk around, keep my things and just be myself. The restroom was also spic and span. There was no bath tub in there but the shower space was decently enough.
I looked around for other things like water bottle, kettle, cups, glasses, bar ,menu, sockets etc. and was happily satisfied to find them all. The cup looked interesting. It reminded that if you are here, you can’t miss the fun and adventure at the next-door theme park. I got my cue designer buddy!!
Next, it was time to walk to the balcony and take a view. The swimming pool lay big and beautiful under the sun. I am sure you can predict what my next course of action was. Of course, I did not run to swim right away but yes I immediately made my way to the pool side. I was eager to walk around it and click pictures. All around the hotel boundary, there was barren land which can definitely be utilized for more plantation.
I used the lift and came back to the ground area. It was very easy to locate the way to the pool. On the way, I also passed through the state-of -the-art gym and children’s activity room. Since I was in no mood to use any of the two, I walked towards the swimming pool first.
When I came to this area, I could only say the hotel facade looked huge. 287 rooms is not a small number. Beyond that 4 f&b outlets and a large banqueting space too. And above all, I was loving the setting. I could see that it made a lovely place for unconventional get-together, day events, family functions and weddings. Just go there and you will love it because its too spacious.
Everything bright and colorful caught my attention. In our busy lives, we have actually forgotten to appreciate the beautiful flowers in our garden. I am sure this picture will remind you that there is abundant natural beauty around us, we must look around and take notice.
FLOTZ Bar is located right there in the space that you can notice behind the flower. It is still not functional but I think the location is just perfect. Personally, I really do not like bars very close to the swimming pool. It can be very noisy for others who want a peaceful swim.
The meditating Buddha had caught my attention right from my room and I was happy to be standing right next to it.
And here there were more chairs, benches for children and families. I was standing diagonally straight to where I had started from. Believe me, this was a lovely and a spacious pool area. I was just not done with it yet. I wanted to lay down here but it was already lunch time.
And just next to the main swimming pool, was the pool for the kids. This was just 1 meter deep. I could see the kids having fun with their parents. For me, it lunch time and my next stop was ‘The Square’ – a signature hotel of Novotel property. This restaurant serves for 24 hours and it is known for both Indian and International cuisine. So the foodie in me was absolutely eager to step in there.
A cane chair on the pebbles- Just outside the entrance of the restaurant, this interesting decor caught my attention. By this time, I am sure even you can easily conclude that everything is very well planned about this hotel. A lot of personal attention had been given to every little decor and the setting and I think they definitely deserve a appreciation for it.
Right there I was met by the executive chef Gaurav Chakraborty who came to be a very pleasing and warm person. In no time, we were talking around food from Lucknow to Delhi to Hyderabad to Gulf countries. Of course, I talked about my fondness for chicken and lamp dishes and he soon had a list of suggestions for me. He insisted that I must try the breads here and I must say they were amazing.
The color-co-ordination was beautiful. It looked like the Ludo colors- Orange, Blue, Green and Yellow complemented by white. The lovely message stand on every table carried a very positive and cheerful message.
It was 2:10 p.m. when I started with my lunch. You must notice when I made my exit.
To start off, the chef made this for me in like 1 minute. He cut the multi grain bread, fitted in some cheese and the chicken salami in and handed it to me. Wow, this was quick and super yum.
I was happy to go for my favorite Focassia bread.
These small cups of pineapple and pomegranate salad were delicious. I think I started with just the right things.
I love chestnuts and this was served to me as a surprise. I was asked to guess what it is and I couldn’t name it till I ate it. It was perfectly done in Chinese style. This was something that I had eaten for the first time.
I went for the second helping and this is how my plate looked like. I ate some pizza and chicken noodles too along with it. When it came to the main course, I had very little space to savor everything.
Of course, the portions tell you that I was full. But I tasted all that I wanted too. There is some chicken fry, chicken Biryani, lamb and fish on my plate. Yes, the lunch lasted for around two hours because I took enough breaks before finally going for the last bite. No doubt, everything was tastefully prepared. When I looked at the watch, it was already 3:55 p.m.
For the next one hour, I retired and rested in my room. Back in an hour, at 5 I met the GM of the property. He was a busy man but in the small conversation that we had he did not forget to mention the highlights of the resort. He sounded very excited about this project and definitely mentioned about the most unique, one of its kinds Irolic parade ( the word gets its name from rollicking). In fact he insisted that I must visit the next door Adlabs Imagica theme park for the 6-o-clock parade.
Adlabs Imagica is beautiful in the inside. Since I was in no mood for adventure, I had not been interested to do the rides. Maybe I wanted to save it for the next time when I am there with my husband. I am sure he is gonna love the rides. To me they looked scary. And the fairy tale decoration inside was lovely. Do you see the crowd standing in a row? They were all waiting for the character parade to begin.
Loud and musical jngle played and lovely characters walked in. There were stilt walkers, magicians and jugglers too! The Grand Imagica Parade was a spectacular sight. This was like a new level of fun to me. More than 100 performers danced and made merry to the Imagica tune. The children were super excited to see their favorite and popular Imagica characters like Tubby, Roberto, Rajasaurus, Princess and Mogambo. No less, I was delighted with joy too. If you ever visit Imagica, don’t miss this fun for sure.
The sun had set by the time the parade came to an end. And in next twenty minutes it was dark already. Soon we were back to the hotel. I did not go inside until I got this click. The lights had just been switched on and the hotel shone brightly.
It was 7 already and I strolled around because there was lots to be done yet. People were enjoying in the gaming arena just beside this Tubby’s Bistro. Now I could relate where did the name come from. Tubby is a favorite character of the kids from the theme park.
Tubby’s Bistro- It is a bistro style pastry shop. Had interesting options of breads, cakes, chocolates, macaroons and hot and cold beverages. So even if you do not want to stop at Square for lunch, this makes a nice place to grab a bite. And for birthday or other celebrations, the cake is readily available.
While I was there, I heard them singing and I stopped for around fifteen minutes to hear them do some karoake singing. They dint notice me and continued to do what they were enjoying. When I was there age I didn’t even know what Karoake is…
Next, I walked to the swimming pool. Gladly there was not many people. Wow, it looked so bright and beautiful. I couldn’t help sitting down just there under the twinkling stars.
After the fracture this was the first time that I was in the pool and it felt lovely. I sat there with my friend for sometime. Since it was open area and with plants around, I could feel the mosquitoes attacking me. That was alarming and I made my way inside. In fact that was not the time to be there at the pool but I loved my leisure moment.
I went to my room, freshened up, changed for dinner and came back to the Square once again at 9 p.m.. With all the walking around, I was hungry once again.
I loaded my plate with salads and soup. During the lunch time, there wasn’t many people in the restaurant. But at the night it was buzzing once again. It was tough to locate a vacant table.
I did not stuff myself this time. Ate some chapati with chicken and then one dessert for the day.
After the dinner, I walked towards the reception to check for the astrologer. I believe in palmistry. Yes, you can find an astrologer in the hotel. I could see he was busy with the guests. I was curious to talk to him too but there was a big queue.
But I did take a picture of the reception area when it was least crowded. This proved that mostly people checked in here in the early morning or afternoon. They preferred doing the Imagica theme park and then relaxing in the hotel for a day or two.
Here I am reminded that I must tell you that in the evening I was also given a complete walk around the banquet halls and meeting rooms too. The hotel is absolutely prepared to handle weddings, book reading sessions, press meets, corporate meetings, fashion shows, exhibitions, wedding shows, automobile launches etc. Its too spacious. I loved the pillar less banquet room.
I had a good sleep and in the morning I was all excited for the Irolic parade. I had no idea what it was. I was told that I must wait for ten o-clock. Yes, and I did come to know the moment the song played. I jumped from my chair and ran to see it start.
The dancers began from the lobby. And the next fifteen -twenty minutes were absolutely refreshing.
The famous characters from the Imagica Grand Parade were here. They had come down from the stairs and they were making their way to ‘the Square’ restaurant. The kids had already left eating and even their parents were super excited. Everyone just came out with their mobile phones and in not time we were all dancing.
No doubt, it was an absolutely refreshing start to the day. I was glad to see that the children were the most excited after this dance. They were squeaking with delight and loved getting clicked with these characters. So now, I could relate why this property reiterates that ‘Fun Never ends’. This is an extension of the next door excitement. And that’s Novotel and Imagica have come together as an integrated concept.
I really had a memorable experience here. I will be back with a new post that will have some videos of the Irolic parade and more around my conversation with the GM and the Executive chef. It was very interesting to learn how they conceptualized the new concept and the kitchen before the hotel became functional. See I told you I love my job as a blogger. It gives me amazing experiences.