Have you ever dreamt of a luxurious home away from the cacophony of the metros yet close enough to urban civilisation? Well guess what, S Raheja Realty Group has made that dream a reality! Nestled in the lush green mountains of Lonavala, just a few kilometers away from the Mumbai-Pune Expressway is ‘Cascades’, a more than impressive complex of luxury homes in India designed as an escape from the concrete jungle. Lonavala Home
The group has been in the real estate business for over five decades with a whole host of projects to its credit but the primary focus has been luxury residential and commercial development in and around Mumbai. New projects are coming up in places like Varanasi and Palghar. This well reputed company believes in the principles of the three E’s — Ethics, Experience and Expertise. Years of experience and associations with leading international as well as domestic consultants has helped them evolve at every stage; enabling them to continually push the envelope and come up with innovative architectural landmarks.
Most metros in India are too crowded and polluted and Mumbai is no different. People yearn for fresh air and clean spaces. That is exactly what the S Raheja group have capitalised on with their latest enterprise — Cascades. This project is located hundred kilometers away from Mumbai and seventy kilometers from the city of Pune. The brainchild of Ram Raheja, Cascades comprises of fifteen spacious villas, complete with trendy interiors, private pools, double car parks and landscaped gardens. Despite being born into the Raheja family, what really drew Ram into this business was seeing architectural drawings and sketches transformed into actual structures. He studied architecture from the SIAC College in Chicago and then worked with a firm in Singapore prior to joining the family business. We spoke with Ram Raheja about the Cascades luxury villa project and the fast changing face of real estate industry in India.
Ram Raheja believes that architecture is a creative expression— a perfect blend of art, creativity, science and technology, stressing that any architectural creation must be aesthetically appealing without compromising on functionality and underscoring simplicity as the ultimate sophistication. When he conceptualised the Cascades project, he wanted it to be appealing yet practical, a balance he has effortlessly managed to weave together.
Considering that Raheja is a third generation real estate company, what is your USP in terms of design, value for money and distinctive project features at Cascades. Could you share some of the unique interior design features of this project?
Being part of a family that has been in the realty business for three generations, it is our core objective to create structures that showcase a perfect blend of aesthetics and functionality. Cascades is designed in three variants that reflect the soul of nature and its dramatic architecture along with the strategic layout creates courtyards and terraces across different levels. The fascinating juxtaposition of indoor and outdoor spaces encourages one to embrace the interaction between the two, ensuring ample natural light and cross ventilation in all the indoor spaces.
Each of the unique 15 villas is embedded within the scenic hills of Lonavala with water being used as the key architectural and indulgent element across all the villas. Each home has a private waterfall that originates from the terrace and cascades along the façade creating reflection ponds at different levels. The ingenious presence of water radiates an aura of calmness, romance and pure luxury.
Within each villa you will find a private pool with sunken seating and wooden decks that allow you to unwind in the lap of luxury while staying connected with nature in all its glory. The villas are designed keeping every smallest detail in mind, some of its key features being complete privacy, cross ventilation, private pools, terraces and courtyards. The complex also houses a clubhouse and landscaped gardens (designed by an international landscape designer) as well as a cricket pitch, among other facilities.
WE SPOKE WITH RAM RAHEJA ABOUT THE RAHEJA CASCADES LUXURY VILLA PROJECT IN LONAVALA:
How would you describe the new trend of holiday homes in India and the growing desire among young urban professionals/ entrepreneurs to seek hideaways in scenic surroundings?
Rising disposable income and the desire to get away from the frenetic pace of city life is opening up new windows of growth for real estate in the hills. There is a robust demand for holiday homes in India that offer end-users short breaks from city life, recreational and leisure opportunities for quick weekend getaways.
Assuming these homes would probably not have round-the-year occupancy and would perhaps be holiday homes, what kind of amenities and facilities are necessary for real estate developers to cater for?
Cascades is equipped with several recreational and fitness facilities. A clubhouse with Table Tennis Room, Snooker Room, Cricket pitch with nets, Play area for children with a tree house and other rejuvenation facilities such as a Yoga Centre, Outdoor Spa, Library, Card Room are all a part of the majestic complex. An ideal space to host parties and events, the complex also houses landscaped gardens. To ensure each of these amenities is maintained well throughout the year, we are taking an upfront of maintenance fund.
For homeowners who intend to make this their primary residence what are some of the features of the project that they find attractive? What are the things they tend to consider before purchasing a home at Cascades?
Cascades at the moment is principally targeted towards second home buyers. We do not see the trend of too many people making it their primary home at the moment. However, as days progress and infrastructure improves in the future we will definitely look at it as a first home option.
In terms of interiors what aspects would not be included in the villa and would need to be undertaken by homeowners individually?
Except for loose furniture and white goods, everything will be provided by us.
Considering that location is one of the key factors in decision-making, especially in a volatile real estate market, what does Cascades in Lonavala offer in this regard?
Cascades located at Lonavala, is strategically constructed amidst the mountains, nestled in nature’s arms- 100 kms from Mumbai and 70kms from Pune. The project is ideally located just a few kilometers from the Mumbai-Pune expressway that is a kilometer from Lonavala market, easy access to the hospital, police station, places of worship and popular eateries.
What do you envisage as key developments likely in the luxury real estate sector in India, over the next 3 years?
The huge population of India ensures that there is always a demand in the real estate market. The economic development and thereby higher purchasing power means that the Indian home buyer is more conscious and demanding about their homes. There is a lot of demand in the luxury home segment with emphasis on the amenities provided. The concept of second or holiday homes is also on the rise, where urban couples want to spend their weekends away from the urban jungle without compromising on quality of life. Innovative designs, privacy and space are most important to the buyers now. International exposure has brought in its own flavour with buyers requiring private swimming pools, landscaped gardens and technology in their homes to ensure luxury and comfort. Our projects in Mumbai and Lonavala are being designed keeping all these factors in mind.
“Priced at INR. 3-4 crore each, Cascades is targeted towards home buyers who are looking at a second or holiday home. Cascades will let the homeowners do things that make them happy, indulge the senses, spend time with loved ones, pursue a hobby, discover the outdoors, do something adventurous and create long-lasting memories.”
Water, being a vital element, has been used as a key architectural input in all the villas. All the bungalows have thirty foot cascading waterfalls originating from the terrace which flow through different levels of the building’s facade and eventually accumulate at the bottom to form a private pool. This aspect does not only beautify the villas but also helps to keep them cool during the harsh summer. Wooden decks by the pool allow you and your family to relax after a few splashes. The strategic layout ensures complete privacy and allows plenty of cross-ventilation.
The white exteriors have numerous sleek vertical openings which create an interesting play of light; while natural light floods in throughout the day, the voids create evolving reflections and shadows through the internal spaces.
The ground floor features the living/dining, a modular kitchen, a wooden deck and a swimming pool as well as a servants room with an attached bathroom, a laundry room and an additional powder room.
The first floor houses the master bedroom as well as the guest room with en-suite bathrooms and a terrace with a bar and barbeque grill. Floor to ceiling windows give you a spectacular view of the Lonavala hills! Each room is airy and spacious and the bathrooms are defined in modern luxury.
These villas also have plenty of open spaces that you may use to convert into a sit-out or an open study or simply as an area to entertain friends and family over music and drinks. One can’t ignore the significance of nature in our lives especially today when most of the green cover has been cut down to make way for concrete jungles instead. Greenery is necessary as it soothes our senses and creates a feeling of peace and calm; at Cascades you’ll find plenty of trees and well- manicured lawns. What’s more, international landscape artists WAHO were roped in to beautify the complex.
Cascades is nothing less than an uber-stylish and amazingly relaxing ‘residential haven’. Even if you have your roots in the city for work or family or whatever reasons, who wouldn’t want a weekend- abode like this away from the madness of the typical urban metropolis?! In fact I’m convinced most people, whether city dwellers or not, will welcome the ‘Cascades’ style life!