Apart from the love of wine, there’s a spunky new Formule 1 Hotel in the heart of the city. For those unfamiliar with the brand, it is headquartered in Paris and is considered one of the most affordable hotels in France. The reasonably priced yet chic brand has recently entered Nasik. And I checked it out. Here’s what to expect at the recently opened hotel:
The very first thing I notice, just as I walk into the lobby, is the attention to detail: the decor is funky yet minimalistic. Everywhere there are quirky little touches – a tiny fish bowl near the elevator, a vintage telephone, a painting that’s nothing but brush-strokes of lime green, a mauve cushion loosely placed on a sofa. The soothing colours coupled with the whispers of central air-conditioning are perfect to beat the summer heat. And just what one needs after a 4-odd-hour journey from Mumbai.
Add to this, the hospitality: women draped in nine-yard saris greet us at the entrance lobby. In keeping with the atithi devo bhava spirit, we’re welcomed with a red tilak smeared on our foreheads, and a diya is lit for an auspicious start to our holiday.
Armed with an electronic key-card, I make my way to my 3rd floor room. Without this techy card, one cannot use the lift. It’s this emphasis on security that is appreciated, particularly by the solo woman traveller. As I enter the room, the first thing I hear is the silence. Noise proof windows and doors have been used to offer you greater privacy. The decor once again is minimalistic with calming colours. A king-size sink-into bed, a huge flat screen television with one-too-many channels, a large window that overlooks nothing but an expanse of endless fields.
But manage to pull yourself away from the comfort and seclusion, and make your way to the restaurants – there are two to choose from – and you’re in for a treat. The in-house one in which a full buffet breakfast awaits you . And an outsourced one (with entry from within the hotel itself), which functions for lunch and dinner, with a choice of Indian and continental.
But if you’re craving local cuisine – the sort that you can’t stop eating even when your eyes are watering – head to Divtiya Budhlya (yep, that’s the name!). The restaurant was a fabulous suggestion by the hotel staff. And it was about a half-hour drive from Formule 1 (they are only too happy to help you order an Uber). At this no-frills restaurant, you’ll be seated under a thatched roof held up by bamboo, while you’re served zesty, flavourful dishes which is typical of Maharashtrian cuisine. Go for the signature, finger-licking-good mutton thali, a meal that we know will bring you back to this city, time and again.
And that’s the thing about Nasik. She has maintained her simplicity, culture and traditions. The city hosts the Kumbh Mela – legend has it that Lord Vishnu accidently spilled a drop of Amrit over Nasik, making it a sacred site. Pilgrims and visitors alike come to visit her ghats and age-old sacred shrines. Despite being rooted in mythology and celebrating her past, she is keeping up with the times. So the next time you’re here, take in the old city, and slip into the comforts of a global brand, when you’re ready to call it a night.