Hello, hello! Welcome back!
It may come as a surprise to those of you who know my love for travelling to new destinations, but I do have a soft spot for staycations! Sure, zipping off to another state or country is thrilling, but the stress of a long road trip, train journey, being in an airport and jet lag can erase some of that vacation chill. That’s why when it comes to holidaying right, there’s no place like home…
Also, there’s no place like Goa!
A lot of you DM me on Instagram and Twitter, asking me to recommend hotels to stay at in teeming area of Calangute-Candolim-Baga. But having a home of my own merely 3-4 kms away from this beach belt, I haven’t felt the need or had the opportunity to visit any of them.
However on my latest trip home, I jumped on my scooter and made the 5-minute ride to Andores Resort and Spa, a newly launched 25-room boutique hotel in Calangute for my first staycation so close to my crib!
For a boutique stay in Goa, look no further than Andores Resort and Spa. Its prime location, straddled between Calangute and Candolim makes it the perfect choice to explore the beach belt while having some quiet time away from the honking and hollering. You will need to turn in from the main road to a tiny lane very close to the roundabout spot near St. Anthony’s Chapel, Calangute.
This luxury resort in North Goa caters to families, couples and adventure seekers, too – with the beach a mere 1 km away, the famous St. Alex Church, 1.2 kms away, and the most popular club in town, Titos, at a distance of just over 2 kms away. That’s right, plenty to do right there in the vicinity.
ANDORES RESORT AND SPA
The resort showcases its elegant design from the moment you set eyes on it! Pristine white structures set all around the garden – each offering two levels of accommodation, occupy most of the property, but you can’t get there without visiting the grand reception first.
Set on the right side, the impressive-looking reception can’t be ignored thanks to its stunning architecture. Huge doors give way to a hall that feels sumptuous and tranquil at the same time – with large candles set out on the wooden center table, a sprawling grey couch, statues and a chandelier as the spotlight.
You will find that from your first steps into the resort, a warm and youthful atmosphere prevails. Everyone who works here has a great disposition to help with whatever you need during your stay. The receptionist was quick to check me in and during my tour of the property, told me little facts about the hotel. Designed by Managing Director, Edgar Afonso, the resort beautifully merges elements of old Goan-Portuguese architecture with contemporary elements in the way of art and style of construction. You will find quite a bit of Mediterranean influence too!
Peaceful and naturally bright, my room offered ample space with all the modern amenities that any savvy traveller would need – a king size bed with a private bathroom, a cosy armchair, large screen TV and a work desk equipped with several plug points. A muted slate-coloured bed runner and pastel throw cushions were all the brightest hues in the room, forcing my eyes outward to the lush greenery just outside my cute little private balcony.
While the washroom is sleek and minimal in design, you can’t help but spend a moment admiring door that leads to it – set with little flawless panels of mother-of-pearl shells, a distinct characteristic of the windows of old Goan homes.
Start your day with a hearty buffet breakfast at Cinnamon, the all-day dining restaurant, savoring a choice of freshly made eggs, waffles, croissants, south Indian items, cereals, fruits and more. The breakfast menu is quite exhaustive, I must say!
Cinnamon is the best place to enjoy a balmy afternoon with good company and a glass of wine. This open-to-garden restaurant is reminiscent of a balcao in a Goan home. Watching the palm trees sway in the wind, the patches of sunshine dance on the well manicured greens and the birds flitting from tree to tree really set the idyll mood right. The area really is lovely, and the light drizzles that occurred while the sun was still shining put us right into ‘unwind’ mode while we indulged in some great fare.
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The menu offers a selection of appetizers, salads and main courses. I started with a watermelon and paneer salad, which is always a good idea to beat the sultry Goa summer heat. Then, a popular soup in Portuguese cuisine followed – Caldo Verde – that seems custom-made for rainy days! Made with pureed potatoes and collard greens, it was rich and homey!
Next, I was presented with samosas.. and imagine my surprise when I took the first bite into a particularly crispy one and found prawn balchao inside! Fusion cooking has so far left Goan food untouched, but luckily this pairing worked really well!
For main course, I relished a quintessential Goan meal – rice, luscious prawn curry with a coconut base, kismoor (dried prawn and coconut side dish), some pork vindaloo and a massive slab of fried kingfish that would have any Goan’s heart dancing in his chest! I was thrilled to have sampled Para after eons! For those who don’t know, Para is a dried fish pickle of sorts that dates back to the time when fresh fish during the monsoons wasn’t available and the Goans of yore prepared preserved fish dishes like these to tide them through the bleak rainy season. While seafood is now available through the year in most places, Para is a rare find. The most likely place to score a taste of this tantalizing dish is to dig in to a Grandma’s kitchen cupboard.
Make sure you leave space for dessert – the Serra Dura or sawdust pudding is simply irresistible. I couldn’t finish this generous helping after eating my weight in rice and curry so I took it to my room to relish after my afternoon siesta!
If you’re in the mood for something more upmarket, be sure to visit Diva, the fine-dining Italian restaurant owned by celeb chef Ritu Dalmia, which is located in the property. With beautiful views of the pool from both, the inside, and on top in the terrace section, it is perfect for a sophisticated date night or dinner with friends.
The property also houses Kera Spa, so you can spoil yourself with a full-body or foot massage by the experts. What’s unique about this space is that it is designed in the form of a traditional Saraswati household, with a patch of open-to-sky garden in the centre and various massage suites surrounding it. Located in the same complex is a fitness centre and while it is not overly fancy, it contains enough equipment to ensure that gym junkies don’t miss a day of working out.
If you’d rather skip the gym, splash in the lovely blue pool instead. It is one of the most attractive parts of the property with white pool chairs set in the water as well as beds outside so you can lie down and watch the day turn to night after a refreshing swim. Andores Resort also has a kiddie-pool located outside its restaurant, Cinnamon, for the little ones.
Lastly, visit the stylish lounge area – a great place to organize intimate private parties and meet-ups. The chic space features some beautiful antique furniture pieces, a small library and aesthetically pleasing décor coupled with a classically bold indigo blue wall and intricate floor tiles.
Andores Resort and Spa is like a breath of fresh air and will revive your weary spirit. Now that the weather is finally changing in a holiday-makers favour, get out there in the fresh air and disconnect as the world goes by.
Whether you live in the neighbourhood and want to take a break from daily routine, like I did, or are flying in on a much-anticipated Goan vacay, book a stay at Andores Resort and Spa for a slice of luxe living.
See you on the other side!
P.S. My stay at Andores Resort and Spa was sponsored, however, views, as always, are my own.