British Airways Highlife

Review: British Airways Highlife - Pousada Tauma is a charming boutique hotel with just 12 suites and an idyllic Ayurveda centre. Furnishing are neo-colonial, the food is superlative and the peace other worldly.

Nothing in India is predictable - except a strong fix of sublime hedonism, which is guaranteed for Pousada Tauma.

The Daily Telegraph.

Review: The Daily Telegraph - The Pousada de Tauma in adjacent Calangute was an island of calm and style in the middle of Goa's noisiest, most Indian beach resort. In Calangute, the air was thick with exhaust fumes and traffic noise. On the beach, families on package bus holidays from neighbouring Karnataka stood in the surf, the men in their underpants, the women in saris or - the younger ones - T-shirts and tracksuitsfishopkeepers yelled from doorways; kids scuttled about with their palms outstretched.

Calangute is where you remember that Goa is still part of India. Which made it 10 times more atmospheric than its overbuilt neighbour. Inside the Pousada, all was quiet.

Neville Proenca, the scion of a venerable Calangute family, built it a few years ago, shaping its 13 suites around a swimming pool and coconut grove. The stone he used was Goan laterite, which gives the buildings an alluring red glow at sunset.

There is a small Ayurvedic spa and a candlelit restaurant serving home cooking - chicken xacuti; tiger prawns and squid in chili; bebinca cake, made with layers of coconut milk and egg yolk, flambéed in fenni.The Pousada is one of several new boutique hotels in Goa, attracting an affluent, mainly European crowd.

"Most of our guests are well-travelled, and quite a few have been to Goa before as backpackers," said Neville. "They like the buzz outside the hotel but they also like peace and quiet."This new breed of hotel plays cleverly on Goa's peculiar mixture of influences. If Aswem beach had a spiritual cousin, for example, it would probably be the Nilaya Hermitage.

This is one of the most exclusive hotels in India, haunt of Kate Moss, Jade Jagger et al, yet it remains as resolutely funky and down-to-earth as any shack on the beach. Any stylish, pricey, super-cool shack, that is. The Nilaya ("Blue Heaven" in Sanskrit) sits on a ridge inland from Baga.

Goan architect Dean d'Cruz has created a fantasy world of blue ceramic tiles, waving palm trees and cool, quirky features around a pool. Gentle breezes flow through the arcaded walkways and there are spectacular views down to the sea.

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