I didn’t realise that I needed a peaceful getaway until I lay in the hammock at Kelva Beach Resort with my eyes shut, hair freed of its rubber-band grip and body stretched out absorbing all the oxygen and optimism of the surroundings; my nose welcomed the smell of earth and ears tuned into the sound of gushing water.
Why the place worked for me
I cherish greenery as much as I like beaches and water, and it gave me both. You will get network, but will you really want to pick up your phone? I’m not too sure.
Although you can’t see Kelva Beach from the resort, its back exit leads to the light coloured carpet of sand with dark stripes of the black soil beneath. As a result, the ocean gets the look of cold coffee and churns into a creamy white foam as it lashes towards you. Unlike most beaches around Mumbai that are dotted with coconut or palm trees, Kelva Beach is enclosed by rows full of casuarinas belonging to the pine or coniferous family. The beach is not overcrowded, yet it is alive with local tourists and kids frolicking in the waves. Buggy riding across the beach is possible too.
The spaciousness of the landscape is a constant reminder that you’re not in the city—the expanse of land over which the resort is built, the long stretch of beach (great for jogging), the wide unblocked horizon meeting the sea, and the sheer height of trees that lend a sense of wild, scream in joy "I have room to grow to my fullest."
Concrete Rooms, Chattai Bamboo Cottages & Eco-Wooden Lodges
These are the available lodgings, which can accommodate anywhere from two to eight people. The different raw materials used to build each, gives each a unique ambience, but some features remain same—all rooms are neat and tidy, dimly lit, have roomy bathrooms and a sit-out area. None have a television or an air conditioner. At least during monsoons, the fan accompanied by natural breeze, make the room comfortably cool.
The property can do better with a little more attention to maintenance; the couches in our sit-out area were on the verge of sinking in, and some of the furniture in the dining area show signs of age. The resort reception area with its tall earthen vases, silk covered sofa, warli painting, leading to stone laden pathways, and elements such as wood and bamboo used for exteriors of rooms, ochre paint for the concrete ones blend aptly with the natural surroundings. They give the resort a local flavour without being overly rustic.
That was our room keeper’s name; a middle aged man, both prompt and cooperative. For the lovely serivce, we shared a drink with him too.
Sumptuous buffets, cozy parties and beach barbeques
The booking office will inform you that the resort serves simple Indian food, but the spread isn’t small. For lunch and dinner, which are part of the package, you get green salad, two vegetarian vegetables, one non vegetarian option, chapattis, rice, dal, papad and a different Indian sweet every time. Not many places get the simple dal right, but theirs had just right amount of tadka and spice, it was one of my favourites. I also liked the baingan bharta and palak paneer.
Breakfast usually includes tea, coffee, poha, aloo paratha, toasted breads and omelettes. If you prefer sinful potato chips to slender French fries call for a plateful in the evening, at extra cost.
The resort also has a gazebo that you can use for a mini party. You will have to bring your own music (don't blast it), music equipment, and alcohol (they only stock Kingfisher mild). At an extra cost of Rs.1500, beach barbeques can be arranged as well (except monsoons), for 10-45 people.
Are you a player?
Here you can choose from carom, table tennis and badminton in an open court, which can also double up as a place for throw ball. The play area for kids is complete with swings, sea saws and slides, but is non functional during the monsoon because water fills up.
There isn’t much scope for sightseeing, but you can visit the nearby Sitaladevi temple or amble along lush narrow lanes for a peek at the village life—I enjoyed watching an old lady with a small girl go high up in the air on the large swing in their balcony; talking to a lady selling coconuts(she stringed two crabs by their legs so that her grand kids can keep them as pets)–and gorge on bananas, grapefruit, palm fruits(in summer) and chaats near the main entrance of the beach.
Overall Experience: Good
Location: Palghar, Thane District, around 90kms from Mumbai
Preferred Transportation: Car or train
Tariff: Rs. 1600-Rs.2300/per night inclusive of three meals and evening beverage