It is a smooth 40-minute drive down to Madhuban Resort and Spa from Vadodara airport. I am warmly welcomed when I reach the resort spread across 22 acres of lush greenery in Vallabh Vidyanagar, on the outskirts of Anand district. The most striking feature of this five-star resort is that it combines ethnic architecture and design with modern facilities.

The resort is dotted with trees and sprawling gardens. I am tempted to explore. I stay in a room in Mandavdi Gom Cottage. After freshening up, the first thing I take a tour of is Gom Ni Sheri, the entrance to the cottage. Lined with trees and structures boasting of old-world architecture, the Gom Ni Sheri is divided into Amba Ni Pol and the Chickoo Ni Pol, which comprise mango trees and chickoo trees respectively.

Next, I head to see the other rooms and suites, which comprises deluxe rooms, Mandavdi Gom cottages, Mandavdi Gom deluxe cottages, built in the traditional Gujarati style, Zanzariyu or deluxe suites, Zulaniya or bridal suites and presidential suites. The most fascinating accommodation is the Madhuban tents, the Zamkudi Gom. The entrance, lined with guava trees, is called Jamfal Ni Pol.

Each of the rooms and suites has a beautiful view, overlooking the pool, the sprawling lawns or the spa. The Gom No Otlo, in particular, catches my attention. It is inspired by a tradition where villagers would gather in the evenings to talk about those villagers who hadn’t turned up. I spend some quiet time there, taking in the sights and scenes, before heading to the swimming pool, Gom Ni Talavdi. This is no regular pool. The 300-ft-long pool, said to be one of the largest in Gujarat, snakes its way through a number of mango trees, designed to accommodate the trees.

There are a number of activities that one can indulge in at the resort — from sports and water polo to karaoke. I set out to explore the tennis academy, activity centres, a yoga deck, kid’s zone and the amphitheatre. Families gather at these places and the sound of laughter and cheers fills the air. It’s late afternoon by the time I reach the Italian, Mediterranean bistro Kouzina for lunch. I am served a sumptuous meal of cheese chilly soup, Greek salad, pizza and ravioli. The other joints include The Banyan Tree, a multi-cuisine restaurant; Tapas, a Mexican Bar; Chai Bar that serves 11 varieties of tea; Wellness Bar — the juice bar; 24 Seven, a coffee shop; and Bake A Cake, a bake and confectionery shop. There are a variety of cuisines to choose from. Besides, there’s room service too.

In a mood to be pampered, I make my way to the Sohum Spa and The Signature Salon Spa, where I am treated to a relaxing massage and beauty services, respectively. By the time I retire to my room, night falls, and it begins to rain. I sit in silence, with a cup of tea in hand, all the while enjoying the serenity of the resort.

(The writer was at the resort on invitation)

Name: Madhuban Resort and Spa

Contact: Anand-Sojitra Road, Vallabh Vidyanagar-388 120. Visit www.madhuban.com or mail reservations@madhuban.com

How To Get There: The nearest airports are the Vadodara and Ahmedabad airports from where it is a roughly 40-min to one-hour drive

Tariff: From Rs. 6,500 to Rs. 7,500 for deluxe rooms to Rs. 55,000 (approx) for Presidential suite

We Like: The resort’s ethnic architecture and décor