Review Pousada Tauma Resort In Goa, India

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If you are Lord Hamlyn of Hamlyn Publications, I guess you can pretty much choose where you want to celebrate your birthday. In February this year, the Lord and Lady Hamlyn flew down in their private jet and checked in to the POUSADA-TAUMA, the all-suite boutique hotel, for a week. Their only request was no outsiders be allowed in. "It wasn't a big deal," says Neville Proenca, the soft-spoken proprietor."They had booked the entire 12 suites. We just locked the gates for a week."

Tucked into a corner of Calangute village in Goa is the Pousada-Tauma, a pocket-sized idyll of nature, ayurveda, and Goan hospitality, and place to be this summer.

Five years ago, Neville Proenca was working at the Taj Aguada in Goa. "The real estate prices went through the roof last year," he recalls. He quit and sold part of his land to fund the construction of Pousada. He roped in a local architect and over the next three and a half years built the hotel literally block by block. Built with the concept of natural and traditional architecture, with a minimum use of resources, it emits a distinctly Goan glow. The walls of Goan laterite have been lifted together like a jigsaw puzzle.

For this feature, masons from neighbouring states toiled a whole day to fix just ten stones. The rustic U-shaped Goan roof tiles used in Portuguese construction design were carefully chosen and 'collected' over a period of two years for use as roof finishing, since they effectively contribute to aesthetics and a cooler temperature. Pousada-Tauma open in December 1998.

'Pousada' means nest in Portuguese and 'tauma' comes from Taumaturgo, Neville's father's name.

The suites scattered around the swimming pool have different motifs - the Sea, the Fields, the Mountains and the Castle. Each suite has it's own diving area and a patio with a private, detached garden or terrace. There is a fully equipped gym and chef Andrews presides over the kitchen where you can visit and observe your meal being cooked. Rachel Reuben recommends the Prawn Balchao with poay, crusty Goan bread, to sop up the thick red gravy. "The idea was to create a secluded, intimate retreat," says Neville, who firmly believes that the future of hotels in Goa lies in small boutiques like Pousada-Tauma.

Splendid view of Pousda Tauma

Eighty per cent of Pousada's bookings are made through the net(www.pousada-tauma.com), and the Ayurvedic Centre is the biggest attraction. Staffed by five physicians and masseurs from the renowned Sitaram Ayurvedic Trust, Kerala, Pousada offers several ayurveda packages as treatments for various ailments. With Body Shop introducing a line of Ayurvedic products in Europe, Neville believes that there will soon be a significant interest in and demand for their ancient holistic healing system.

Of course all this comes at a hefty price.

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