Okay let me not talk about how to reach Matheran from Mumbai and all. Instead, let me talk about this wonderful hotel located just ahead of Monkey Point at Matheran. The hotel is Cecil Hotel, owned and run by a Parsi Couple, The Iranis. There is not much on the internet about this hotel. So, a liitel help from my side to all fellow travellers.
We headed to this place only because most other Hotels were booked and there were many rooms available here. The month was December 2007.. supposed to be a peak season and rooms available. Hmmmmmm.. So, as we started on a cold Staurday morning from Mumbai, we had our doubts and plenty of them about this hotel and that it may be "chalta nahi hai". How else would you explain the availability of rooms and of choice in a peak season?
But all our doubts were laid to rest the moment we stepped inside the Hotel. We reached at 9:30 AM and the very friendly staff advised us to have our breakfast first before we actually "check-in". The breakfast was amazing and delicious. Like most Parsi hotels, this one too is well maintained and has a unique old world charm and set up. The rooms in large row houses are scattered throughout the huge estate. We were a group of 18 and so we booked 5 rooms with very basic amenities.
The rooms were clean and very well maintained and huge in size. A standard room with four beds will cost you 800 bucks per person per night inclusive of food and taxes and 1000 bucks for a room with A.c and T.V. per person. The Bathroom is as big as a room. The rooms are not apartment style but row houses type. The space outside rooms is also decent and you can spend time reading your favorite books or playing chess.
The food is pure vegetarian and delicious but for the sweet gujrati dal. Non-veg is not allowed. Food is served in a huge dining hall and in a fixed time slot. So, people are invited by the staff by ringing a bell(not door bell.. temple wali ghanti).... loudly from the dining hall and you know that food is served. I must rate 9/10 for food. The food is somewhat Gujju style thali but not entirely and the variety is pretty good.
Ideal for travellers who are not looking at modern and five star comfort. There is no swimming pool, no gym and other frills but it does have a huge lawn and plenty of open spaces. There is a TT table, carrom board and such other games. Then there is a full size badminton court as well. You can play cricket... lot of space for it. There is a disco too but it is opened only by request. Generator facility is there since the power supply is very erratic in Matheran. The cellphone coverage is also poor here.
If you need anything from the staff at any point then all you have to do is ring a bell(temple wali ghanti) which is placed on the table inside the room and the staff will come running at your door step. There is no hot shower and they provide hot water once during the day, in the morning. So, when u ready to take a bath, ring the bell and a person will bring a bucket full of Hot water in no time and place it in the bathroom from the back door. And if you have any doubts(i am sure you will), he cannot enter from the backdoor. You have to open the backdoor from inside, he enters places two buckets of hot water and you take a bath.
It is an ideal hotel for people who want to spend quality time with loved ones or by themselves.. totally isolated. You can start a bonfire at night... thats what we did and got lost in our own world. You stay here and you will surely feel in a different world. That said, this set up may not appeal every traveller but i enjoyed every moment there since it was a different experience all together. It was like going back in time.