With the long periods away from home during April and most of May, I needed a quick break to recharge and spend a little quality time with my family. When there isn't too much time to plan, the default choice is always Goa. So off we went for a week during the last week of May. This time I decided to stay at The Leela, which is located in the southern part of Goa. I chose this resort for two reasons: one, they have a good beach which is not very crowded, and two, because I had heard good reviews from friends. The rains had not yet begun, but the day was humid and hot. The cold towels and the bottles of water in the car came to good use! After about an hour's drive through the Goan countryside we reached the resort. Designed to look like the old Hindu palaces of Vijayanagara, the Leela is spread over 75 acres of land between the Sal river and the Arabian Sea. On arrival, we were welcomed with marigold garlands and tender-coconuts to drink from. Check-in was fast, as a host personally escorted us to our room. Earlier Posts on Goa:
We drove down from Pune to Mumbai and then took a Jet Airways flight to Goa. The sunlight shimmered on the Arabian Sea as the aircraft began it's descent. The beach stretched out below us and I was already feeling relaxed as I gazed at the distant waves crashing into the beaches and the greenery of the countryside. A perfect landing, jostling at the baggage claim, getting into the waiting car, and we were off to our resort!
The Conservatory Premiere room we had booked was fairly large and split into a bedroom and a sitting area. Both areas boast of LCD TVs and the room is equipped with a DVD player, which came in handy for my little angel who could get her daily dose of Dora and Diego during the few hours we stayed indoors. The sitting area looked out into the lagoon and the greenery surrounding it. The bathroom was spacious with a tub, two basins and separate rooms for the WC and the shower stall. All in all, the room was excellent!
Almost immediately we dressed for the beach and went out to quickly explore the property. First, we ventured towards the riverside. Here, Leela has it's shopping area and Casino (I think this is the only resort-hotel in Goa with a casino; the only others are on ships that are anchored offshore). The Riverside Italian restaurant is located on the banks of the Sal river. We could see many fishing boats anchored on the distant bank of the river, where fishermen seemed to be selling their day's catch. We walked back towards the beach, which is on the other side of the resort. The garden in the Leela has a section devoted to Indian spices and fruits: mango, jackfruit, black pepper, cloves, etc.
Past the swimming pool, we went, along the resort's golf course, and we we finally found ourselves at the beach. The beach here was quite perfect. White, clean sand and mostly deserted as far as the eye could see! While my wife and I lay back under the swaying palms drinking in the scene, our little angel gleefully went to work with the sand. A couple of beers later, I was already marveling at how much fun this was. No cellphones, laptops and Blackberries after such a long time! After splashing around for a while, we dragged our reluctant little girl back to our room.
We went back to the beachside Seafood Grill, Susegado, for an early dinner. This restaurant not only served us the best seafood we had eaten in a while, they also had the most friendly and helpful waitstaff. We chose a sea-bass from the day's catch on display. They cooked it in two different ways for us: a spicy Goan masala-covered fillet, and the other with garlic-butter, both grilled to perfection. We were so delighted, we ordered another sea bass and requested an encore. As you can expect, with so much fish under our belt we were quite stuffed.
Susegado is located right on the beach, and as the cool, briny breeze blew in from the Sea, we could hear rumblings of thunder announcing the onset of monsoon. In the distance, we could see flickering lights from anchored ships on the distant horizon, even as the sound of crashing waves rose to a crescendo. The thatched roof, flickering lanterns and the candle on the table added to the lovely ambiance. We had to reluctantly drag ourselves away from here and back to the room since our daughter was already quite sleepy and had to be put to bed - ah, the joys of parenthood! :-)
To Be Continued...
The rains had not yet begun, but the day was humid and hot. The cold towels and the bottles of water in the car came to good use! After about an hour's drive through the Goan countryside we reached the resort. Designed to look like the old Hindu palaces of Vijayanagara, the Leela is spread over 75 acres of land between the Sal river and the Arabian Sea. On arrival, we were welcomed with marigold garlands and tender-coconuts to drink from. Check-in was fast, as a host personally escorted us to our room.
Earlier Posts on Goa: