|Old Goan Villa is it?|
Laid back country side, open fields around, Portuguese-style houses with semi green canopied courtyards, dim lit hallways and whizzing sense of susegado – No idea which place am I talking about? Well this is a side of Goa that very few know and even few enjoy, and I am surely one of them. Yes sea and beach life is the limelight of Goa but this Portuguese colony has its soul hidden in its laid back country spirit and culture. During my recent visit, I found the essence of traditional Goa, with a tinge of luxury (okay maybe more than a tinge), away from the crowd near cracking waves and the famous shacks, in a place called Alila Diwa.
last post I did tell you I will show you glimpses of Alila Diwa, so here it is!
|A part of the place|
|A glimpse of Alila Diwa|
Alila Diwa chain of hotels started in Indonesia and they grew with their Balinese influence, but in times when luxury hotels are growing like mushrooms in Goa and robbing it of its colonial essence, Alila Diwa has managed to maintain a perfect amalgamation of Balinese and Goan heritage in this exquisite property. It was a delight to see traditional Portuguese-style courtyards around ageing banyan trees they surround where sun beams, that managed to penetrate the green canopy, danced on the ground. I still remember how we were transported back in time while playing Antakshari on the stairs around these courtyards. Old charm never really fades away with time if you know how to preserve it, and the resort surely does.
|The old fashioned Portuguese Verandas|
Strolling languidly through the dimly lit corridors that were adorned by traditional roofs and old red stone pillars and clicking random pictures was probably my favourite pastime there. The hallways and the tiny clear pools of water give the place a surreal appeal while the courtyards and the verdant covers give it an earthly feel.
|Dim lit corridors with traditional roofs and red stone pillar surrounded by water|
I stayed in one of the loft rooms of the hotel, and it was undoubtedly one of the prettiest rooms I have ever stayed in, in a hotel. But prettier still was the view from my room – a pool with no edge!
|It infinity of blue and green|
My room was just above the famous infinity pool of Alila Diwa, but my view comprised not just of the Celeste blue swimming pool but also of the infinity of lush green paddy fields that surround the property.
|View from my room|
The room, which I shared with another blogger friend of mine, had a cool balcony mimicking the old style veranda, a king size bathtub and high ceiling roof like a traditional Portuguese house, with all the luxury amenities like any other five star hotel. Didn’t spend much time in the room, but still loved it for its view and aesthetics. That says a lot right?
|Yes pamper max!|
|My Euro-Indian breakfast at Vivo!|
Alila Diwa has food centers for contemporary gastronomy fans to authentic Indian cuisine lovers, from breakfast for late risers to dine and wine for night owls – what else can you ask for? There are four in house restaurants in the property including the Edge Bar and Lounge, though I can speak about just two of them. ViVo, where I had my breakfast is an all-day dining space within the hotel’s indoors with shaded open-air spaces overlooking the infinity pool. The restaurant offers an elaborate breakfast selection of European and Indian cuisine had has a plethora of baker fresh delicacies.
Vivo also offers an a la carte menu during lunch and dinner but for those we indulged in some authentic Indian dishes at Spice Studio. I found out from the hotel authorities that the restaurant uses some very old-fashioned Indian cooking techniques for some of the dishes in their menu and has the only dark dining experience of Goa every Thursday night.
|Relax under the tree in luxury at Spice Studio|
Though I really can’t vouch for the authenticity of these information, I loved Spice Studio for its ambience. Seats on an elevated platform with tilted tiled roof around a huge banyan tree and surrounded by a stretching water body slabs, place lit up by dim lights, tea table lights and Turkish lamps – you get the picture, don’t you?
|The decor and the Banyan tree of Spice Studio|
While ViVo wins in taste and Spice studio in ambience, Edge has it with the location. Though I didn’t really spend time in Edge, some blogger friends and I spend hours chatting just outside the lounge right next to the pool on the pleasant fall night.
|Just couldn't get enough of the pillars|
Anyways, if your likings in Goa resonate with mine and you really are looking for a slice of old with some very luxurious new experience, you might want to consider Alila Diwa for your next trip.
|Motivation enough to laze and gaze?|
P.S. - The views are completely my own and so are the pics, most unedited.