The brainchild of Devendra and Tejas Parulekar, who quit their cushy jobs to re-define the realm of travel, SaffronStays is only growing bigger and better. Ever since its inception in 2015, SaffronStays has been instrumental in exploring the country’s relatively lesser-known destinations, and giving friends, families and framilies authentic local experiences, at short, quick drives from India’s top metros.
Today, SaffronStays celebrates its expansion to as many as 120 homes in Maharashtra, with a whopping total of 530 rooms across the country. What started as a single home in Matheran has now spread to a carefully curated network of homes in quieter, less commercial areas like Vikramgad, Indapur and Bhor. Not to mention the handpicked, exclusively managed holiday homes in popular destinations such as Lonavala, Khandala and Alibaug, among others.
For years, Mumbaikars did not have adequate quick getaway options that provided the luxury of privacy and certainty. SaffronStays has put Maharashtra on the tourism map of India by offering experiences including farm stays, private pool villas, romantic getaways and eco-friendly stays, among others. Mumbaikars no longer need to spare four days for a holiday that exists beyond the crowded markets of Lonavala and Alibaug; with quick ‘snacking’ options just a quick drive away. Suffice to say that the company has always aimed at giving Indian travellers the chance to go off the beaten track; to explore the kind of places where hotels don’t always see scope for success.
By adding onto their already impressive list of properties in Maharashtra, SaffronStays has also helped raise local employment levels. Close to 400 locals have been trained and employed to operate these vacation homes. This not only makes the guest's experience hassle-free, thanks to the caretakers' local know-how, but also helps in empowering them. The locals receive on-the-job training – cooking, housekeeping, registration and other formal processes – at SaffronStays’ centre in Ulwe.
“Our 120th home in Maharashtra is SaffronStays Nisarga, Indapur. This three-bedroom estate home is the perfect amalgamation of Turkish-Moroccan architecture with underlying Maharashtrian aesthetics, dotted with artefacts from around the world. The azure infinity pool opens out to the dense green forest with the home as a backdrop.” Devendra and Tejas Parulekar add with proud smiles.
If having 20 homes in the North and 14 homes in the South was not enough, SaffronStays is also expanding to offer its stellar services to the East, by launching two homes in West Bengal. SaffronStays Summer House, Kurseong, is one of them. Perched in the eastern Himalayas, this three-bedroom heritage home makes for the perfect getaway from Siliguri. Built 150 years ago by a British planter to house his ‘desi paramour’, this home is equipped with fine Burma teak floors crafted by Chinese artisans, a special sit-out overlooking the stunning valley and a cook from Orissa, who excels at preparing the most enticing meals.
Saffron Stays Glenview Manor, Darjeeling is the second home that they set up in the East. Located in Darjeeling’s Tadkah Cantonment, this villa has five well-kitted bedrooms and was built in 1911 to shelter British officers.