I’m pretty sure the tourists who visit Goa have seen more of the state than I have. Honestly! Having grown up and schooled in Saligao, I don’t think I’ve travelled beyond a 10 km radius around my village – unless it was a school picnic in the South. And now, every time I make my bi-monthly trip home, I laze around like a log, indulge in Mum’s cooking and catch up on sleep. Travelling to the South takes as long as travelling to Mumbai, and I don’t drive, either.
The curse was broken recently, for with the launch of a brand new luxury hotel called Azaya, Mum and I headed over to Benaulim for a staycation!
From the moment you walk in, it’s apparent that Azaya caters to millennials. Strings of shells hang around the borders of the open lobby, and it is strangely devoid of a major hotel element – a reception desk!! There is no formality at Azaya, and one can check-in to the hotel when one is at the pool, the restaurant, the room, or anywhere, with the help of a tablet. If that’s not informal enough, even the staff have no uniforms and you can tell them apart from guests by the fact that they all wear clothes in shades of blue! Do you get a glimpse of how unconventional Azaya is yet?
There’s plenty to love about Azaya – the unparalleled view of the shoreline, with the white sands almost touching the pool, the happy pops of colour – from turquoise blue beach beds to pink lounge chairs that look as gorgeous in pictures as they do in real life. Azaya doesn’t leave its Portuguese roots far behind. A Portuguese garden, azulejos, bright blue changing rooms by the pool with Portuguese-styled patterns all give it a cohesive look. It is a visually appealing resort and one that definitely stands out for having personality.
Azaya has 6 categories of luxury rooms to suit various requirements and group sizes. I stayed in the Patio Luxury Room, which was compact, but comfortable. The renaissance panelled cupboard, intricately designed wall tiles, purple satin bed posts and pastel rug was a bit of an odd pairing, décor wise. The most important part of the room, the bed, was soft, yet firm! I’d have loved to laze around in it until noon, but when you’re sharing a room with an early-rising parent, that’s a luxury you miss out on.. hahaha!
A large screen TV, tea and coffee making facilities, bathtub, mini bar, electronic safe and luminous controlled lights were some of the amenities in the spotlessly clean room. A small, private patio led to a patch of lawn, from where we could see the restaurant through the foliage.
Overall, a very comfy room, however it lacked attention to detail. We were in need of coffee sachets (which we never got during the stay), had two toothpaste tubes but no brush in the toothbrush kit and some technical errors here and there. Nothing that can’t be fixed. Is it “luxurious” though? Not as much as I would have anticipated, given the appearance of the rest of the property.
La Concha, a 24 hour world cuisine restaurant; Lynx Bar and Lounge – an upscale New York style high octane bar serving tapas and innovative cockatails; and Blue Iris Beach Restaurant – a seasonal beachfront restaurant with private cabana seating are 3 of the restaurants at Azaya. I had all my meals at La Concha where Chef Anuj Kapoor and his team whipped up a curated selection from the menu for me to try every day.
Out of everything I sampled, I’ve got to recommend the fish and chips, lamb lasagne and New York cheesecake, all of which were absolutely brilliant! The restaurant also serves Goan fare, sandwiches and burgers, pasta, delicious salads and a great buffet breakfast spread. You’ll love La Concha for its cute bamboo cubicles, vibrant décor and charming outdoor area.
Below is a picture of the staircase leading ads to Lynx – look at all that Goan caricature! If you go, be prepared for unique tapas that take inspiration from around the world. For example, the sushi, a Japanese dish, was made using Norweigian salmon, rolled over curd rice, an element from Madurai, topped with Aam Papad from Delhi and a chilli!
The pool is definitely the highlight of Azaya Beach Resort. Flanked by colourful beach chairs on both sides, fountains that shoot water into the pool and a lovely crescent installation at the head, it makes for a picture perfect spot to chill and watch the sunset. Most guests, however, simply head to Benaulim Beach instead – since a relatively empty South Goan beach with powdery sands demands more attention.
SIGHTS AROUND AZAYA BEACH RESORT
You may also like to know that the Se Cathedral and Church of St. Francis Xavier of Assisi Churches less than a kilometer away from this beautiful resort in South Goa, so if you feel like going sightseeing, you know where to start. A visit to Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary and the Sahakari Spice Garden are also worthwhile experiences!
I was excited to see a resort stand out so prominently amongst innumerable resorts in Goa. Azaya offers luxury without the stiffness and formality and that’s something that was truly fun to experience! I loved the pleasing staff! What a great bunch of smiling, positive people in one place! It was great interacting with them and I can safely say that every one of them went above and beyond their job role to have genuine conversations with guests. Having said that, there is a lot of scope for improvement in terms of amenities!
What did you think of my experience at Azaya? Have you visited this hotel or are you thinking of booking a stay? If you enjoyed this post please leave me a comment below.
Another epic resort in Goa is coming up on ThatGoanGirl next! I love staying at these little gems and I’m sure you will too!
Bye for now!