Best driving holiday: Of Mercedes S Class and a phone full of Instagram-worthy pictures

A road-trip on the Mumbai-Pune highway with two must-haves: an opulent German steed and a phone full of Instagram-worthy pictures, thanks to the quaintly-located but rather unsubtle luxury of Della Resorts

mercedes s class della resort

We, as a people, have taken giant strides to make it to the other side (fingers-crossed) of the figurative end of the world. It’s been a time that has had us begging for release and comfort, for order and peace. When I brought these philosophical ramblings up at dinner, the family gave me a concerned glance and that’s when we decided to finally ferry our troubled minds to what would be a utopian reality that exists today. We’ve been meaning to visit the quaintly-located but rather unsubtle luxury of Della Resorts, located at Lonavala, which is a prime tourism location between Mumbai and Pune. For the uninitiated, the drive from Mumbai instantly begs the question ‘what did you drive?’, thanks to the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and the picturesque ghats that climb into the clouds. To do justice to this fantastic experience, I had the 2021 Mercedes S Class waiting for me outside my door. 

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You have to pack early because even as the city has restrictions, traffic doesn’t seem to have ebbed by much. The entire family comprising of my wife and senior parents made themselves comfortable in the cozy confines of the S Class, falling in love with everything about the car from the word go. The S Class always comes with the baggage of its past and has to outdo its opulent predecessors. Mercedes has boldly called this the best cabin in the world, and try as I may, I couldn’t find much to counter this claim. 

It’s pure luxury. You’re greeted into the cockpit by a massive 12.8-inch touchscreen display that is laid out in portrait mode. It smoothly caters to all your needs. Before the family could get in, I set the air-conditioning and ambient lighting within the car and got the 41-speaker 4D Burmester sound system to play some soulful music. The passive mania of setting off on a long drive was met with smiles and everyone relaxed comfortably on the massive seats, beaming at each other, and passing me an affirmative nod now and then. 

della resort swimming pool

It seemed so theatrical that I felt I was in a TV commercial for the car. But that’s just what the S Class does to you. It is truly made for rear occupants with a screen behind each of the front seats to create a customised experience for each of the rear occupants. The rear seats are pampered with Thermotronic automatic climate control, wireless mobile charging, a USB package, and more. 

The multi-contour adjustments on the rear seats made it convenient for the elderly to find their perfect fix. The interface of the screens was so simple and convenient to use that they got a hang of it rather quickly and began making adjustments before we even set off. And by the time we were moving, they were enjoying bespoke massages. 

The S Class truly massages the pet peeves of its rear occupants with comfort and exercise modes with warm and cool therapies, applied by 19 motors in the seat. Incredible! To complete the experience, the AIR-BALANCE package is highly recommended, especially on long drives, because the fragrances available are simply delightful. Mercedes offers Energising packages for both, rear and front occupants, which take care of the holistic comfort needs of all passengers. 

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mercedes s class profile

The rain pattered gently on the windshield just when we began driving and it compelled me to pause the music and hear the patter. I was rather surprised by how well the car did to muffle the outside sounds. We were in for a treat in the beautiful winding Expressway and I couldn’t wait for this baby to stretch her legs. The suspension was stunningly good, and my parents didn’t feel fatigued after the 4-hour drive, although we stopped just twice along the way. Driving the 2021 S Class was another delight altogether. The cockpit is nearly entirely digital with a large 3D HUD that employs augmented reality to make sure you are in the know always. You can use voice controls, if you may, to remotely manage the key functions of the intelligent MBUX infotainment system. 

Mercedes reassures owners with an array of safety features. These include the trailblazing headlamp technology that intelligently illuminates the road ahead and detects any anomalies. You get a special Driving Assistant Package that helps you control the speed and steering better. The S Class is one of the few cars that offer airbags for the rear seats. Another handy feature for a car of this size is the 360-degree Parking Package. 

While the S Class needn’t aim for extreme power and performance, it still contains the 6-cylinder, S400d 4MATIC diesel engine that is rather powerful. We completed our drive within the city just before the sun peeked out behind the clouds and we were greeted by the overcast ghats, which looked stunning by every right. 

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Reaching Della Resorts couldn’t be easier, with boards and signages leading to the property right from the main road. Of course, the navigation system of the Merc was just an ask away. The nearly 50-acre property, rimmed with the lush green Sahyadri hills, consists of the resorts and villas at one end and an adventure park at the other. We were put up in one of the 64 new Garden Villa Rooms, which overlook the lawns and are surrounded by hills on all sides. Inside, the royal feeling of the Della brand is reinforced with bedrooms and bathrooms appointed with Italian marble flooring, tasteful mood lighting, and extremely high-quality furnishing. The amenities in the room are as plentiful as outside. You get a large TV, a minibar, cozy bathrobes, a dryer, and a massive bathroom.  

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Dining at Della was quite a topic of discussion because of the large variety of restaurants that were up for offer. Unfortunately, owing to the current scenario, only Villa Bistro, Parsi Dhaba, and Café 24 were functioning. Of these 'Villa Bistro' is the newest joint. It is more of a lounging bar where you can relax and spend your evenings picking your favourite cigars while sipping on the choicest single malt whiskey. The Bistro servers up some rather innovative and delicious cocktails too. We picked the Frittele di Mozzarella, which had crispy cheese served with tangy tomato jam, and a delicious Margherita pizza before filling the rest of our bellies with the self-crafted delicacies at the artisanal chocolate station.

The pool was closed so my wife and I set off to the adventure park where we enjoyed some gravity-defying physical and endurance activities. My parents found delight in the company of the rescued dogs who you could take for a walk. 

mercedes s class steering

As we shut the zippers on our suitcases at the end of the trip, it felt that we were here for longer than we had stayed. I encroached on the gloomy dull of the lockdown that we’ve pulled through together. 

We loaded up the Mercedes S Class and set the mood lighting before setting off. The magic of this magnificent automobile somehow made us feel as cheerful as we did on the way to our holiday. It didn’t seem to end. And with the company of my loved ones, this noble German steed, and a phone full of Instagram-worthy pictures, I am quite sure this experience is going to outlive my expectations.

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