Review Pousada Tauma Resort In Goa, India

You may miss it if you are just driving past, rushing towards the chaos of the Calangute market and the nightclub strip between TIto's and Valerio's, but the signpost reading Pousada Tauma is difficult to miss if you are looking for it. Turn right as indicated, and in less than a minute, you will see the delicately worked, leaf-shaped wrought iron gate at the entrance of the resort to your right. Take a deep breath, and step in. As the gate closes behind you, a sudden peace descends, broken only by the sound of flowing water. For all you know, you might have just stepped into an undiscovered Eden, a haven of embarrassingly luxuriant foliage. The world may have never been.

When Pousada opened in December 1998, it was the realisation of a long-dreamed dream for Neville Proenca, the dashing Goan­Portuguese entrepreneur who built it over three and a half years of painstaking effort. Not that he was a complete greenhorn, though, his thirteen years in the hotel industry had given him enough insight into what the discerning tourist appreciated. Looking a little way into the future, he saw that intimate hotels were going to be the Next Big Thing, and started looking at some family property that had come into his possession with a completely new eye. Selling off a big chunk of the property to help finance the building of the resort, he started work, and built it up piece by beautiful piece. When it was done, he decided to call it Pousada Tauma (Pousada is Portuguese for 'nest', or 'resting place'; Tauma is the first part of his dad Taumaturgo's name).

Pousada has twelve suites, built around the central and most striking feature of the property, a blue, blue swimming pool whose floors and walls are finished in an artistic mosaic of recycled broken tiles. The suites are broken up by size and luxury into standard, superior and deluxe, and by theme into the Sea Suites, the Field Suites, the Mountain Suites and the single Castle Suite. Its architecture, a return-to-roots effort involving plenty of exposed masonry and natural materials sourced locally - Goan laterite for the colonnaded corridors, the exteriors of the suites, and all the public areas; original Goan roof tiles collected over




years and laid over concrete roof slabs (thus combining modem practicality with old-time aesthetics); cool Dholpur stone around the swimming pool - won the resort a special commendation in the Resort Architecture section of the Inside Outside magazine contest in 1998.

Each of Pousada's suites comes with its own private garden sit­out or terrace and is unique in terms of decor and fittings. The Sea­themed suites have free-flowing metal forms for grills and furniture, upholstery and bed linen in cool aqua and coral shades, and floors of shattered blue-grey tiles colour-separated by flowing lines. The Field themed suites are done in shades of brown and green, with the Bamboo suite showcasing a bamboo mosaic on the walls of the bathroom. The furniture is cane, and the floors 


deep red terracotta. The Mountain suites are quite aptly placed at the first floor level, their floors are real stone, and their doors hard thick wood to reflect the ruggedness of the mountains. On the bathroom walls, the shattered grey tile is arranged in a zig-zag pattern reminiscent of the high mountains. The Castle suite is the pride of Pousada, a two-level turreted dream tucked away in the midst of dense foliage with the living area upstairs and two bedrooms downstairs.   

The obsession with informality extends to the 'reception' area, which looks like someone's cosy sitting room. The high ceiling, the old Portuguese floor tiles, the coloured Belgian stained glass set high up, the Macau porcelain railings, the roof, supported by rafters made of coconut tree trunk all contribute towards making the lobby area a lovely place in which to conduct the business of checking in and checking out.

Pousada has one restaurant, the Copper Bowl, which is again beautifully designed, with both an al fresco and an indoor eating option (well, hardly indoor in the traditional sense, because apart from the roof above, the restaurant opens on all sides into the garden, through a series of arched doorways). The menu is

basically authentic Goan (and you can actually walk into the spotless kitchen and watch as the chef puts together your meal, and indicate just how much fiery Goan spice your palate can handle), but there are also other dishes from the Konkan coast and a sprinkling of North Indian cuisine. The at-home feeling extends to the restaurant as well you can have breakfast at 2 pm if you wish, and lunch at five!

Neville and Angelica Proenca are also very proud of the resort's Ayurveda section. A qualified doctor of Ayurveda and a team of masseurs are on call through the day, and neern-wood beds, spine baths, steam baths and copper baths are all available for specific treatments and massages.

Despite being so close to the cha()s of Calangute, Pousada Tauma has managed to divorce itself from its surroundings. It also combines designer luxuries with practical ones like airconditioning and mini-bars. Small wonder then that Lady Hamlyn (the wife of the head honcho of the UK's Hamlyn Publications) booked out the entire resort for a week last year and brought friends over for a week to celebrate her husband's birthday, and that it counts among its loyal clients the likes of Ajit Singh, Preity Zinta, Vinod and Kavita Khanna, and the redoubtable Vijay Mallya. Check the place out the next time you are in the area. You will be glad you did


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