Pousada Tauma
The lovely laterite  laced resort is the perfect getaway forthose with a penchant for some soul-searching and relaxation.

Review: Uppercrust India - Right inthe heart of Calangute, just a little away from the beach is Pousada Tauma, the 13 all-suite boutique hotel. Being there,  is likestepping into a world of your own, a sort of distant paradise. The poolis the focal point - soothing and refreshing, the sound of runningwater, lends the place a tranquility that is truly captivating. Thehotel conceptualized by Neville Proenca and his wife Angella, is trulystriking. Neville quit the Taj where he served for over a decade toopen something that he was passionate about. As he takes us on a guidedtour around, we cannot help but notice his aesthetic sense.

"Theplace has been built bit by bit and I have overlooked all thelandscaping myself. It is with the help of national award winningarchitect De Cruz that it stands the way it does today though theprocess goes on... ," Neville trails off. It was a joyous walk throughthe cool shade of the trees, along cobbled pathways. Suddenly westumbled upon a pond and were thrilled to see plenty of goldfish in it.There were tulips, orchids, touch-me-nots and other pretty flowerssurrounding the place. Neville explained how he has used laterite stonefor most parts in his hotel as it was locally available. This lent thedistinct Goan touch to the place. "The stone has been manually cut andthe wiring and lighting is done by penetrating through it," he pointedout. It was astonishing to learn that a beautiful hotel such as this,had no master plan and it had been a continuous extension of Neville'svision.

The greatest attraction is the Ayurveda Centre whichhas been specially designed to calm the body, mind and soul. It is theonly Boutique Hotel which has been built on the lines of natural,traditional architecture using exposed masonry. The rustic U-shapedGoan earthenware roof tiling utilized in Portuguese construction designwere carefully chosen and 'collected' over a period of two years. Taumahas come up slowly and surely, stone by stone, over a period of 3˝dedicated years and has been operational since 1998.

Thirteenair-conditioned suites comprising three Standard suites, seven Superiorsuites and three Deluxe suites make up the place. Each suite has atheme and it's own private dining area, a bedroom with a dressingtable, wardrobe and a patio with a private, detached garden or terrace.The sea, the fields, the mountains and castle give one the best of Goaand these are the themes that the rooms are built around. Neville tookus on a whirlwind tour of the place and the interiors left us amazed.

"Forthe sea theme, shell, coral and aqua marine suites are the ones we haveready," he explained, leading us into the rooms which have detailing tothe core, from furniture and tiles to the furnishing and walls. Thefield suite comprises three rooms - grassland, bamboo, and palm suite;the garden suite and the mountain theme, have rooms depictingmountains, valleys and hillocks.

We were now ready to indulgein a quiet lunch with Neville himself. The restaurant, called CopperBowl has a secluded setting for an intimate dining experience under acanopy of stars with an air of casual elegance providing the perfectsetting for an anytime meal too. The cuisine is a mélange of classicGoan curries and specialties from different parts of the country - theKonkan region, North India and to top it all, a plethora of sinfuldesserts!

Thestarters were delicious, a vegetable platter of Indian sev-puri canapésand mushroom as well as tomato bruschetta. The non-vegetarian platterhad some Amotik in a spicy tangy Goan sauce along with Calamari. Therewere mouthwatering dishes adorning the menu. We dug into the lightlycooked Vegetable Foogath (similar to tossed cabbage with a coconuttwist) and enjoyed the crispy prawns and the crunchy squid.

Forthe veggies, the spicy fried okra dish was a treat.  Nevillerecommended some other delicacies as well, like the Goan Chourico and Prawns in coconut milk soup, a favourite with many customers. Themenu also reflected some traditional Konkani and Chettinad cuisine. "Ilike my guests to soak in the entire experience of exclusivity, whichis why there are fewer tables," Neville justified. While we werewaiting for the sinful dessert of coconut pancakes to arrive, we couldnot help but notice the eclectic bar. It had been decorated with brokenchips of coloured glass bottles. We finally indulged in the softpancakes oozing a fine coconut and jaggery molasses filling, servedwith a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Weengaged in some serious conversation about the changing work cultureand other things about Goa that the local people feel strongly about.For example most of them worry that the ‘invasion’ by the richie-richof India is  going to prove to be the downfall of Goa someday.They fear the character of the place will gat diluted and Goa will loseit’s charm.

Well nontheless, we left, feeling light andrelaxed.  The twittering of birds and the beautiful flora andfauna enhance the old-world charm that makes your experience at Pousada Tauma, a tryst with nature, a solace for the soul.

Review: Uppercrust India

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