For travel bloggers, being on the road is part of their DNA and when the pandemic hit, we were confined to our houses for a long time! In August, we heard that people had started traveling and with the end of the lockdowns, life was slowly getting back to normal. People had accepted COVID as a way of life and moved on. But it was soon for us to travel as we didn’t know how safe it would be, what precautions hotels were taking, and how we would safely execute our trips. In the meantime, we started our research about a few resorts near Bangalore as we didn’t want to travel far.
We decided to wait it out for a little bit longer and then in September 2020, we mustered up the courage to venture out for our first trip since February 2020. While googling about the best resorts near Bangalore, we chance upon Vama Retreats and immediately took a liking to it. In the pictures, we could see vast areas of open spaces, and a big gazebo that doubled as a restaurant. Their website detailed all the safety precautions they had in place and we were soon on a call with them for our stay. After a quick call, we were convinced that it would be safe to travel to Vama retreats and the booking was done!
Preparation for the trip to Vama Retreats
Since this was the first time, we were venturing out during the pandemic we decided to be extra careful. While planning the trip, there were a few important considerations to be made. Even though Vama Retreats uses disposable sheets and pillow covers, we decided to carry our own just in case.
Along with this, we packed toiletries, towels, slippers, bathrobes, extra masks, and hand sanitizers. Since Vama Retreats is just a 2-hour drive from home, we decided to have breakfast on the way, maybe near a nice picnic spot. Breakfast was prepared and packed and we carried our own coffee so that we avoid going into a tea shop or a restaurant.
Driving to Vama Retreats
Vama Retreats is located at a distance of 60 kms from Bangalore close to the Kempegowda International Airport. There are a couple of routes to get there but we found this one to have the best roads. You will have to drive through the toll gate before the airport and continue till you approach the left turn that heads towards Nandi Hills. From there, you can follow your maps for precise directions.
While going to Vama Retreats, we decided to take the Doddaballapura route which can be accessed from Yelahanka Police station. The effects of the lockdowns seemed to be wearing away as we encountered traffic throughout the city. It did seem to ease a bit as we approached Honnenahalli. The drive till Doddaballapura was very relaxing and from there we reached Vama Retreats within half an hour.
Vama Retreats is located inside Canterbury Castles, a gated community that is in the early stages of development. The development has close to 1,000 plots but currently, only a handful of houses have been constructed. The rest of the land is full of fruit-bearing trees, flowers trees, palms, and wine plantations. Our check-in process was fairly smooth and contactless.
The staff was dressed in PPE kits, gloves, and hand sanitizers were made available to us. After the temperature check, we were taken to our room located right next to the main complex. Throughout our stay, we saw all their staff taking the utmost care to maintain hygiene and follow all COVID guidelines. That gave us the confidence to roam about freely in the entire property and relax, without having to worry about our well-being.
Vama Retreats came into being as Camp Vama, a military-styled retreat aimed at adventure activities, and outdoor fun. But now it has been re-christened at Vama Retreats and aims to provide a family vacation spot close to Bangalore. They have done so well in a short amount of time that they are now included in the list of best resorts near Bangalore! The rooms are plush, comfortable, and spacious enough for two members. Some of them come with bunker beds and others come with regular beds. The best part about the rooms is that the bathroom and toilet are separate!
The AC cottages come with their own sit-out overlooking an adventure course that is designed for kids and corporate activities. The experience of sitting out and looking at meandering clouds crash into Nandi Hills is such a soothing sight and something we all need to beat our mundane routines. If you are a pet parent, then this is the place to go as Vama Retreats is a pet-friendly property as well!
The food at Vama Retreats
Simple and delicious – this is the best way to describe the food that Vama Retreat serves. Food and drink provide lasting memories that define a holiday or travel experience. I can assure you no matter where our adventures take us, food is a central part of the trip. Food is extremely important for shaping guests’ staying experience and gives a strong identity to a destination.
Every meal we had at Vama Retreats, we experienced something unique. From local cuisines to perfectly prepared Chinese, every dish was carefully curated and prepared. We were told that Col. Pande picks the menu for each day himself and takes great care in ensuring that it is presented with perfection.
Etched in our memory is the delicious and rejuvenating Ginger tea we drank throughout our stay there, the Chinese, and the hot BBQ on a cold windy night! And the best part is that they have a small vegetable garden behind the kitchen which provides some of the vegetables that you will get to eat.
Things to do at Vama Retreats
There are tons of things to do at Vama Retreats. For those looking to unwind and relax, you have the gigantic gazebo where you can relax with a cup of tea and admire the views of Nandi Hills and the surrounding landscape. With vast open spaces in Canterbury Castles, you are free to walk around, plucking fruits or exploring a nearby lake. Or you could sit out in the garden read a book or catch up on your sleep!
However, if you like to be busy then you can hop on to one of the cycles and pedal around the property. The tarmac lanes are perfect for cycling and since there is no vehicle movement, kids can safely venture out on their own as well. Located close to the property is a small lake and a narrow cycling track leads to it. The best time to visit the lake would either be during sunrise or sunset as the golden rays make the water shimmer like tiny diamonds. It’s also a great spot to have a family picnic and enjoy some much need outdoor time.
You can enjoy a lovely family getaway with other activities like ropewalk, zip-lining, and play with the in-house doggies at Vama Retreats. And if you have a pet with you, then you can pamper them in the pet swimming pool located right next to the Gazebo! Vama Retreats is the perfect venue to unwind, spend some family time, or get away from the city. The backdrop of Nandi Hills adds to the charm of the property that otherwise is set in a very scenic location. We must mention that if you like to meditate then you will love the place. Inside the property and in its surroundings are many secluded spots where you can meditate. The lake is one such place.
We chose to cycle around the property, plucking Amlas, and watching the sun go down near one of the entrance gates. Cycling in a traffic-free environment is a luxury we don’t get to enjoy inside Bangalore so made the most of it.
Col Pande and his team also organize an early morning trek to Nandi hill that is located just 20 kms away. You will have to travel to the starting point of the trek in your vehicles or their SUV and from there carry on foot till the top of Nandi Hills. The trek isn’t arduous and can be done by anybody. And you can request Vama to arrange for a small picnic at the summit too! That is a must-have experience as picnicking on top of Nandi Hills is not something you get to do every day!
Colonel Pande is a season army veteran and his leadership style reflects in the staff as well. Even though they aren’t from an armed forces background, they all operate with military-style precision and discipline. Everybody seemed to be on their toes all the time, ready to help the guests out with anything they want. Vama Retreats understands that there needs to be an increased focus on the experience to turn guests into advocates for their hotel.
The key to maximizing positive reviews is to create a delightful guest experience at every touchpoint. Creating a hotel culture focused on delighting guests is not only essential to generating more reviews and more business, but it also makes the hotel a more enjoyable place to work for the staff. Colonel Pande and his team have done a brilliant job in making this happen and we came back thoroughly impressed by the entire staff.
To put it simply, Vama Retreats has turned us into loyal customers for life. Firstly, there aren’t a lot of pet-friendly resorts near Bangalore so it helps to have something like Vama Retreats near Nandi Hills. Secondly, the ambiance, service, facilities, and activities that Vama provides is perfect for families, couples, corporates, and even solo travelers. Not many resorts in Bangalore give you the luxury of open space that Vama Retreats gives and this is something we enjoyed thoroughly.
Since we came back from our trip, we have recommended Vama Retreats to all our friends and family. It has left us with such a positive impression. And for us, Vama Retreats is definitely one of the topmost resorts near Bangalore that we would love to keep visiting.