Pune is a wonderful city – young and vibrant, modern and subtle. It’s not moving at a fast pace like Mumbai seems to do to an outsider, nor is it lazy by any means. The rhythm of Pune is unique in its cosmopolitan yet desi charm. [Remember I celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi in Pune last year, when I was there to speak at the Pune Literature Festival? Was fun!]
And at the tail end of a recent family vacation (we spent the first part in Goa and I attempted to add my two pence worth idea to the ongoing North Goa v/s South Goa debate) – we headed to Pune to witness the aforementioned charm.
Whenever a vacation is planned and a destination is agreed upon, the first thing we do is to look for Hotels and Flights. Our search ended at Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Hotel. A Starwood Hotels property, this is a strikingly grand hotel in terms of not only the building, but also the service.
I stayed at the hotel for two nights, and was floored by the hospitality. Everywhere you look, every corner you turn, you will find something stunning here – it was like living in a beautiful reverie.
The rooms are good, the staff helpful – but the food is at the forefront here – every restaurant at the hotel is worth frequenting, especially, if you’re a local. I travelled with my husband and my 4 year old daughter.
Here is my review of the Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Hotel, as a Family Travel Blogger:
Where To Stay in Pune?
It all started with the question above. As a family traveller, I prefer comfort – especially when my daughter is travelling with me. If comfort, luxury and good food is on the top of your list, then head straight to Sheraton Grand Pune.
Sheraton Grand Pune: The Property
The hotel is sprawling, palatial and well, grand. The location is one of the main advantages, as the hotel is right next to the Pune Railway station and just about half an hour drive away from the Pune Airport. There are a total of 177 rooms, along with three restaurants, banquette halls, conference/meeting rooms, spa section and a roof top pool.
My room at Sheraton Grand Pune
The room allotted to us was on the sixth floor and was one of the newly renovated ones. It was comfortable and the window looked over a graffiti adorned wall of the Pune railway station. And yes, the room was free of any loud train whistles that one might imagine as an unavoidable thing due to its location. Amenities like tea/coffee supplies, a kettle, cookies, mini bar, snacks were provided, along with bath robes and toiletries.
The bathroom was spacious and very clean, as you’d expect from a five star luxury hotel. The house keeping team made sure the room was in the best condition, even with a little kid playing around most of the times.
What to eat in Pune?
If this is the question you’re asking, the next section is for you. Read on.
Food at Sheraton Grand Pune is, like I mentioned before, the best part. Out of all the different cuisine restaurants here, we frequented Feast the most, mainly because of the wide variety and delicious food, but also because the staff (chefs included) is prompt and very friendly. I always say that people are the best part of any travel experience, and Feast is yet another example of the friendly staff who possess the skills to convert even the most difficult customer into a patron. We tried all restaurants at the hotel, and each offered a different yet wholesome experience.
Like I mentioned, this is the best according to me. Especially loved their Sunday Brunch! The buffet will spoil you for choices, there is Chinese, continental, Italian and of course, Indian. For drinks, do try their Watermelon Mojito. The live counter is a blessing for all foodies in Pune, and for those who can’t do without desserts, look no further than Feast at the Sheraton Grand Pune. The desert counter has – at any given day – no less than 25 items including sinful baked goods and rich Indian sweets. Must try is their signature Paan ice-cream.
This is the signature Italian restaurant at Sheraton Grand Pune. Under the skillful (and passionate, if that’s even a type of guidance. It should be!) guidance of Chef Roberto who hails from Milan, the restaurant excels at authentic Italian food that is packed with flavor. We tried the PolloAlla Genovese, which is chicken stripes served on a bed of fresh and expertly seasoned salad, topped with fiery basil pesto sauce, apricot and caramelized walnut. Delicious! Do try the Tiramisu as well, you’ll love it.
The legacy of the Qureshi family – the clan that invented the famous Dal Bukhara (Remember Bukhara the restaurant at ITC Maurya?) and Dal Chingari – can be relished at this roof top Indian cuisine restaurant. Tables are set by the glimmering pool, and fairy lights sit proudly around various fixtures and trees, and Chingari serves delectable tikkas, kebabs and Dal Chingari to the guests. Apart from Dal Chingari, you cannot miss trying their kulfi and the versatile and unanimously loved kebab platter.
I did not try the Spa myself, but visited the spa section on the ninth floor twice because – tempting, ha! Shine Spa at the Sheraton Grand Pune is well maintained and it’s understated yet elegant décor is cosy and inviting. There are 4 massage therapy rooms and one couples’ massage room. The treatments offered are holistic and varied, including the popular Thai massage and Deep tissue massage as well as the Bamboo Massage, Lava Shell Massage, Potli Massage and more. Steam rooms looked appealing, and I am definitely going to try them out on my next visit.
Service & Staff
Service and Staff at the Sheraton Grand Pune is certainly very professional. But they are not mechanical, which is something I like. The staff is friendly, right from the chefs to the restaurant managers. They indulge in conversations, offer suggestions according to your requirements and also take special requests. The housekeeping, as I’ve already mentioned, was efficient and worked like a secret society – I never saw them but the room was always tidied up and stocked!
- There is a beauty salon at the basement of Sheraton Grand Pune, which is like a blessing to women like me who might need a quick eyebrow magic during trips (because I invariably forget going to a saloon before starting, bah).
- Dal Chingari at Chingari, the restaurant is a must have.
What I did not like:
The only thing that bothered me was that the otherwise stunning and clean swimming pool seemed to be a hot spot for pigeons and the water had feathers and droppings in it at times. The staff cleaned it religiously, though, so maybe it was a timing issue. When it comes to luxury, a lot of things can go wrong – starting from the customer’s expectation (and there’s no cure for that!). But I did not encounter any such thing here; it was a comfortable stay at a hotel that values quality and service. What more can a traveller ask for?
Overall, I absolutely loved my stay at Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Road, and I thank the entire team for hosting and taking good care of me, and for being the superstars that they are.
So, for your next luxury hotel stay in Pune, go for the Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Road, and thank me later!