Soaking in the sea and hills
The Bheemili Resort managed by Accor
The Bheemili Resort is about an hour’s drive from Visakhapatnam airport. The road to the resort with hills on one side and the Bay of Bengal on the other, makes for a pleasant ride. Bheemili Resort is located on Bheemili beach, which is at the origin of Gosthani River. Being 24km away from Visakhapatnam, the place reflects British and Dutch settlements from the 17th century. But the resort itself is about five years old. Located near a village, it not only steps forward for development of the village but also creates job opportunities. On stepping in, you’re greeted with a coconut and welcomed into a long lobby with a snooker table on your left and a Transformer-like figure. The place has a local touch to it but comes with a hint of elegance.
Room with a view
Bheemili currently has five floors with rooms on the first, second, third and fourth floors. All 28 rooms overlook the sea.
Marshmallow beds, wooden flooring, white elegant bathrooms and a huge balcony with glass panes overlooking the sea… is sheer bliss. The 440 sq ft room also came with a long sofa and table, a wooden desk with a TV, curtains around your bed and, of course, complimentary coffee and tea with a mini bar. To get you started the place also provides you with a fruit bowl and three local delicacies. One was a soft, chewy treat with sesame seeds, another was a sweet that is cooked in ghee with a jaggery-like filling and the third was a crunchy snack shaped like a ring. But the food madness barely began.
On the first day for lunch we decided to go light and I was served a Chicken Pulao at The Square, an all-day diner. Pulao, which is normally sweet in the city, took a different turn here. The dish was hot, had an amalgamation of different spices and most importantly curry leaves which gave it a prominent flavour. Joined by Ramesh Patnaik, the operational manager, Mamta Sharma, the guest experience manager, and chef Ravi, I was then taken on a tour of the property.
The lavish property has more to offer than it seems. The resort has a back garden where they grow their own vegetables. The back garden is located around a huge playground, which has been turned into a cricket field along with a mini outdoor gym. In the garden you will find different types of chilies, eggplant, cucumbers, carrots, bhindi and more. Unfortunately, a day before we arrived, cyclone Gulaab had made its way through Visakhapatnam, causing heavy rainfall and damage. Although there was barely any damage to the property, the veggies had borne the brunt of it. Even then the vegetables looked healthy and ready to use. Apart from growing their own vegetables, the resort uses local resources for their meals.
After covering what was outdoor, we went on to the indoor activities. The resort comes with an offering in wellness and health. Think yoga rooms, Ayurvedic therapies and a doctor’s centre. The yoga room faces the sea and is open on all sides. Sometimes yoga sessions are also hosted here. There is a Buddha corner outside the yoga room where people meditate during a good weather day. The doctor’s centre is where guests can go to get prescriptions or medicines in case of any ailment and the Ayurvedic centre, which is run by Dr Anand, focuses on therapies and treatments using Ayurvedic methods, but more on that later.
The resort is full of relaxation opportunities and they also offer a movie theatre with Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions, a kids playing zone and an infinity pool on the top floor that overlooks the ocean. Let’s not forget the rentable bicycles to go riding down the street or the golfing course which is a 20km drive from the hotel.
After a lovely walk, dinner was served at The Square. Chef Ravi had joined me along with his elaborate set-up. Local preparations of fish, chicken, dal and two kinds of rice were served. The three different preparations of the fish ranged from deep-frying, to pan-frying and to flat-frying. Each marination had its own kick of heat and an amalgamation of spices. The chicken and dal were made with a bitter leaf called Gongura, but you could only taste the leaf and the bitterness was balanced with the use of other spices. After a hearty meal, the sound of the ocean would definitely daze you off to sleep.
The next day started with a treatment at the Ayurvedic centre. Named The Ayurbay Spa and run by Dr Anand, the place offers about 15 treatments to help sooth your body. I was up for the Abhyanga therapy. The massage involves warm oil being applied to one’s body from the scalp all the way down to your toes. The one-hour session relaxes you, reduces stress, and reduces muscle stiffness. Reena, who was the one practising the treatment on me, helped me relax but had a perfectly firm grip. She ended the treatment with a steam and a green tea. How splendid!
After such a calming experience, it was time for some grub and chef Ravi at The Square was ready with his four-course meal which included Bamboo Fried Chicken, Grilled Prawns, Deep Fried Fish and a local-style biryani.
If that was not enough, then dinner is what took the cake. Bheemili Resort also has a Japanese restaurant called Teppanyaki (right next to the infinity pool) with a live cooking counter. After ticking off what I wanted from the menu, the chef began his work. A coriander soup, spinach with sesame seed salad, salmon and tuna sushi, Japanese pizza and then came the main course. Fried squid, cooked tenderloin chunk with fried rice and noodles. To wash it all down, I was also given a cup of Jasmine tea which was refreshing in every sip.
My stay at The Bheemili Resort was relaxing as well as a roller coaster ride when it came to the food. The staff was hospitable, the rooms cosy.
From Bheemili Resort to Novotel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach was about a half-an-hour drive and the road went all along the shore. The long stretch of road turns into the city with tall buildings and attractions. We crossed the infamous VMRRDA INS Kursura Submarine Museum, which is a real submarine that has been turned into a museum.
At Novotel I was again greeted with a coconut, a tika and a necklace made of shells by Suresh Singam, the associate director of sales and Neha Kaveri M D of sales executive.
A 355 sq ft room had a beautiful view of the ocean. Due to a port that was nearby, at night the ocean looked lit up because of all the boats that set sail. After a quick wash-up I arrived at The Square, again a multi-cuisine restaurant at the resort. After flipping through their a la carte menu I was served a Salmon fillet cooked in butter garlic, with a side of veggies and fries. The salmon was light yet full of flavour and was moist as well. After my meal I made my way to the poolside... the pool was about four feet deep but looked like it was merging with the ocean. The pool also has a Jacuzzi and a kids’ section.
After relaxing under the sun, I met Sujeet Chaturvedi, the sales manager, who was willing to show me around the property. The property is decked up with white walls, marble flooring and orange lights. Glass panes along The Square looks out to the infinity pool and ocean on the ground floor. The ground floor also houses the lobby, an Indian restaurant named Zaffran and a private section for members only and a dessert stall names Sugarr. The basement has nine banquet halls that are mainly booked for weddings, conferences, launches and other celebrations.
The hotel has rooms and suites on floors one through six, having a total of 225 rooms. On the seventh floor is a rooftop bar called Infinity Bar and Kitchen that has both indoor and outdoor areas where one can enjoy multi-cuisine dishes with cocktails. The rooftop also has a jogging track that helps you cover the entire area when you’re out for a run.
It was a long day and I wanted to turn in early, which is why fried rice and chilli chicken were delivered to my room for dinner, which was the best comfort food to have.
A new day had arrived and the beach was looking beautiful as ever! Blue with the rays of the sun reflecting off of it. Being my last day, I wanted to venture out into the city. But not before a meal! I made my way to Zaffran for some Indian delicacies. The place was done up in a golden, royal set-up. I ordered a dish called Patra Ni Machli, which was river salmon marinated with coriander paste, ground spices and wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked on a griddle. Soft, moist and steamy! Although similar to a paturi the dish had replaced mustard with coriander. For main course there was Gosht Tawa Biryani, served with raita and salan. It was definitely different from the biryani I was used to but the spices and flavours made for a new taste to my palate along with the meaty and juicy lamb.
In between meals and relaxing at the hotel I did get a short window to take a quick stroll on the beach. Along the shore there were a few parks for kids, food trucks and even a Thickshake Factory. To my right was the port I could see from my room but the walk seemed to be a long one. The Jagadamba market was also about 20 minutes.
I had my last meal at Novotel at the Infinity Bar and Kitchen. A tenderloin steak, cooked medium rare with mash potatoes and veggies. The gravy was done with butter, garlic along with some red wine. I worked my way through the steaks as live music played in the background.
I left with happy memories, a few acquaintances and the warmth of the hospitality. I do wish to go back soon for newer experiences.
Pictures: Novotel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach and The Bheemili Resort managed by Accor