It takes an animal and a nature lover, a creative and a business mind to fashion a resort which has it all. Meet Jimmy Mistry, whose mind never sleeps, even when he does! Farzana Contractor takes a walk with him around Della Resorts his dream project
It’s a bit difficult to slot Jimmy Mistry. It’s less about who he is and more about – just what is he! If I have to describe him, I would say he is a combination of a maverick, entrepreneur, designer, wonderfully well self-taught architect, who has creativity flowing in his blood. He is so totally consumed about designing that ideas seem to flow out of his mind every nanosecond. In short, Jimmy Mistry is an intense, passionate and a driven human being.
And he is an animal lover.
Which is why I landed up at Della Resorts at Lonavala. I had heard that right in the middle of this adventure resort there was an area reserved especially for horses and dogs and cows. Just so that guests at the resort and day visitors at the adventure track would get an opportunity to interact with these animals, whether it was to take the dogs for a walk, ride the horses or milk the cows. The idea in itself is brilliant and when you consider that people actually pay to indulge in these services, you understand the business acumen and marketing ability that Jimmy Mistry possesses.
“I love animals, always have,” says Jimmy, especially dogs. “Even as a child I had dogs, so I know how great the feeling is to have your own pet. And I also understand what city children are missing. Which is why I introduced the idea of having animals at Della Resorts.” That’s right, Della is just the place for pet parents to bring their pooches along, spend as many days as you want in the luxury of whichever room you choose, avail of the bedding and dining options, and walking as well, at an additional cost, dine in the outdoor seating areas at any of the restaurants and just kick back with your furry one here.
Jimmy at the moment has two dogs, his personal pets. Joy, the Irish Setter travels with him up and down from his home in Bombay to Lonavala where Jimmy spends his weekends; and Zoe, the St. Bernard, who stays put at Della Resorts. His daughter, Pearl, after who the nightclub at the resort is named – P18 when she turned that old – is another dog lover in the family, though wife Delna is not so enthused by the canine species. “I am scared of them,” she says, adding despondently, “I don’t know why…”
But never mind that, her husband more than makes up for it by virtue of the fact that he has created an infrastructure for animal lovers and potential pet owners.
Like Jimmy says, it is not just a disconnect with animals that city slickers have, but also unfortunately the disconnect extends to nature, too. “Which is another reason I planned and executed this project. A relationship with trees and plants and flowers and walking and breathing clean air is so vital to good living, says the man who practices yoga and believes in every religion and many Gods. It is a certain kind of spirituality which has made Jimmy take all of the above into consideration and create the little haven of delight, his Xanadu.
At Della, there is something for everyone. I don’t know how this guy has managed to do it, but he has. I guess it’s his yearning to create, and the fact that he is extremely well-travelled and has the ability to pick up an idea, modify it to appeal to the Indian sensibility, make it practical and transform the idea into reality.
I spent a day there and figured it out for myself. Della Resorts did not happen overnight. Here is a labour of love. Time-consuming growth. It started with a few rooms where guests could come and relax in the serene atmosphere at the foothills of Kunegoan right there in Lonavala, yet appearing to be some far off place. Then more rooms were added, restaurants at the resort, with excellent food (I ate super Chinese) and polite service, grew from one, to two, to three and now four. Jimmy went on adding interesting concepts which led to the adventure park, private villas which you could buy, to tented rooms perched on the hillside. Over the past seven years, the number of luxury rooms now total 125.
And Jimmy is all set to open another five suites any time now. I checked out the Versace Suite, plush, ostentatious.
But the adventure park is where all the action is. I was here on a Saturday and the place was full. Happy, shrieking kids, enthusiastic moms trying to keep up with them, while the dads went teeing off at the Golf Course. For the youth, this place has to be the ultimate in fun activities. The adrenaline just does not stop. You can go zorbing – on land or water, buggy or ATV rides, go rope-walking, rappelling or rock climbing.
There is also the Swoop Swing, as well as Flying Fox, India’s longest and at a height of 1250 ft. There’s archery, gaming rooms with dozens of games to choose from, there’s even a tattoo room, if such things are your fancy. There’s mountain biking, bumper boats, bungee trampoline, even kayaking! All in all, pretty exhausting!
What was more my cuppa tea, was Camp Della. It’s beautiful. “My dream project,” says Jimmy enthusiastically, as we walked around the slopes, checking out the luxury tented rooms, which overlook
the entire complex, giving a picturesque bird’s eye view of Jimmy’s creation, all 45 acres of it.