Customized, not standard. Intimate, not public. Spacious, not cramped. Unique, not regular. And hence, boutique, not large. These are a few reasons why world over boutique properties are all the rage. In recent times, some of the finest boutique hotels have opened up in the country. India Today Plus presents a review:
|For centuries, guests to India's golden state were received either at the large private residences or small inns, lodges and farmhouses akin to the pousadas and quintas in Portugal. Now, they are back in fashion. Wendell Rodricks reviews stunning boutique hotel in Goa. |
Beyond the bustling Calangute temple, on the inner road to Arpora, turn to the first right, and to your left lies a leaf-shaped wrought-iron gate that transports you to a peaceful heaven called Pousada Tauma. Once inside, you cannot imagine that a world like this exists in the very heart of the crazy concrete jungle that Calangute has become. If you would like a holiday in luxury that is close to the action, yet far removed from the maddening crowd, take a cue from Nina Pillai, Ajit Singh, Preity Zinta, Vinod and Kavita Khanna, and Vijay Mallya and check into Pousada Tauma.
It took three and a half years to build the tropical garden and the graceful stone columns, archways and the sparkling pool complex. For movie-star, handsome Neville Proenca, this was his dream come true and the grand culmination of a 13-year career in the hotel business. Neville was born and raised in Goa. When he left a progressive career at the Taj Fort Aguada, the seed of Pousada Tauma had taken root in his mind. In the plot of land near his ancestral home, in December 1998, Neville opened this wonderful residence to receive the world at his doorstep.
The world has begun to trickle in and enjoy the old-world hospitality of the host. Where else would the owner serve you breakfast as late as 2.00 p.m., permit guests to walk into the kitchen and cook alongside the chefs, plan a dolphin trip, accompany you to the spice plantations, and help you gain access to the palatial private homes of Goa. Added to this unbelievable service is the desire to please every guest. The owner of the famed London Store Egg stayed in three rooms over three hours and finally settled in a forth, assembling a lamp from one room, a bedcover from another and an armchair from the third. Through it all, Neville assisted as best as he could with a megawatt smile. When I visited Pousada Tauma for this feature, I saw Lord and Lady Hamlyn of the famed publishing house getting a carpet treatment redder than the Goan earth.
While at Pousada, try out the Ayurvedic centre, its greatest attraction which offers a host of traditional massages and holistic treatments to relax your mind and body. Besides an in-house doctor, the spa offers a unique copper bath, steam bath and massage rooms. It is the only boutique hotel which is built on the lines of a natural, traditional architecture concept using exposed masonry. Eco-friendly and with the minimum use of resources, it uses Goa laterite stones liberally.
Set in two acres of pristine beauty, Pousada also has 12 thematically decorated suites, scattered around the pool and endowed with different motifs - the sea, the fields, the mountains and Castle, which give one the very aroma of Goa. Each suite has a terrace, Goan balcony, living area and large bedroom. All suites are air-conditioned with television and minibar. The restaurant at Pousada seats 45 and is ideal for intimate parties. The food is cooked by a friendly Goan chef whose only aim is to ensure that you are served the tastiest food possible. I order the crispy fried prawns each time I visit Pousada. Try the Prawn Balchao, Shrimp Crostini, fried Okra, and the luscious Crepe Pousada: Goan pancakes stuffed with coconut and brown local molasses, served with ice-cream.
To truly enjoy Pousada, and the Goan life, stay for a week, and have the weeklong Ayurvedic treatment (a steal at Rs.7,000 for the week, including consultation and treatment). During the week, you have time to enjoy the village life of Calangute that still exists. In the quaint backlanes are some beautiful Goan homes, and lush-green fields with the hills of Sangolda in the distance. West of this beauty is the action of the Calangute Baga road. To free your mind and rock your body, work the strip from Tito's to Valerios. When you finally return to Pousada Tauma after a hard night out, you will appreciate the peace, the quiet and the calm this wonderful hotel provides.
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