Nestled inside one of Maharashtra’s most popular hill stations, Matheran, lies a 100-year-old mansion that has been recently revamped to make way for a boutique hotel. Taral Jadhav, architect and founder of Do It Up Design, was tasked with this project by the clients who had this stay in Matheran in their family since 1993, but was lying unused and in a dilapidated state for a decade.
“When the clients who also own the Alexander Heritage and Rainforest Resort that houses this mansion approached us, they wanted to create a luxury experience for guests that preferred a more sheltered experience than their camping tents, one that was filled with old-world charm. Our goal was to maintain the vintage architecture of the heritage bungalow that was constructed more than a hundred years ago by the British, but give it a modern, eclectic touch,” says Jadhav.
After site inspections, the duo came to an agreement of restoring the mansion in phases. “Phase one of this renovation included the front facade, staircase leading to the five front bedrooms and the verandah. With a tight deadline to capitalise on the Matheran monsoons, we had limited time to turn the property around to be able to open its doors for guests by June 2022,” she reveals.
As with any heritage property, there are restrictions as well as challenges that come along the way, and this boutique stay in Matheran was no different. Peeling paint, crumbling walls, broken window panes, sunken flooring are just some of them that the design team had to tackle. “Because this was a family home, not all rooms were en suite so we had to add bathrooms in each for converting it into a boutique hotel. The entire plumbing had to be redone for this purpose. We also had to do the rewiring to add more electrical points. But we ensured that the old structure was uplifted and not torn down with these refurbishing,” adds Jadhav.