Review: Condé Nast Traveller - For all its package tourism, Goa has one gem of a spa hotel that has managed to go against the grain. Pousada-Tauma is a 10-minute walk from Calangute Beach and has all the aura of a mini resort

Irregular -shaped pool with bar and water-cascade, a spa, satellite TVs and direct-dial phones in every room - but done on such and intimate scale (there are only 12 suites) that it feels much more chic, as if you are the private guest of the charming Indian owner-manager. (Helen Hamlyn, behind Château de Bagnois in France, recently book the whole hotel for a week-long house party.)

The Pousada is also one of those rare places in Goa where the noise level has nott sent the local mongooses into hiding, while the gardens, thick with palm fronds, are like a Rousseau tableau.

The rooms, all with patios, are air-conditioned and simply decorated with colonial-style furniture; the bathrooms covered with shattered tiles. . . . Run by therapist, the spa specialises in Ayurvedic treatments and there is a doctor for detailed consultations (the full range of treatments is available, from massage to sirolepa, a cure for insomnia where herb paste is applied to the head and the body bathed and oiled).

Although Ayurvedic cuisine is available on request, it would be a pity to eat boiled vegetables when you could be feasting on lobster masala or prawn balchao, a spicy Goan speciality cooked to perfection. A highly recommended mid-priced hotel for spa-going gourmands


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