A sliver of a moon hangs low over the turbulent waters at Calangute Beach near the old GTDC Complex in North Goa. Almost ephemerally, a wisp of dusky rust steals across its visage...deepening by the minute...’Red moon in the sky...storm at sea’... or was it red sky? The old sailors’ saying resounds in my head as I lean over the balcony of the Panacea Lounge Bar at Destination One, Goa’s spanking new swanky F&B and leisure hub. Then I remember...”It must be the cyclone heading for the Gujarat coast,” I tell my friend as she saunters up with a glass of chilled white for me.
It’s strange how two worlds collide here at Calangute. The careworn sea and the sparkly young, contemporary Destination One in the old GTDC Complex — a dream unfolded of travelling man Rajesh Srivastava and his pretty wife Soniya. Gone are the smelly piles of garbage and the raggedy trail of plastic bags, which besmirched this once-lovely beach...Gone to flowers...or rather under the landscaped verdure of the Sea Lawns extending to the beautiful private beach, where you can party with friends and family, away from the crowds shrieking with delight as they’re inundated by the Arabian Sea rollers...white-crested and awesome in their might, even at play.
The veiled moon glides away. A few solitary souls below us can’t seem to wrench themselves away from the darkening Calangute Beach, a few minutes’ walk away. The serenity is breathtaking. From this lovely perch it would be easy to just spend hours looking out to sea, ruminating after a delicious lunch of humongous lobsters and prawns from the Lakshwdeep waters conjured into deliciousness by Chef Sabyaschi Gorai and re-savouring the delectable kebabs that Chef Mohd Kaleem Qureshi has staked his reputation on.
The elegant Panacea Lounge Bar will be a delight at any time of the year. Sea-green cushioning hugs the wicker-white furniture under a vast awning that makes light of Goa’s sun or rain. The imported, fully-automated awning with see-through blinds can withstand winds up to 120-130 mph so you feel safely cocooned even as you watch the sea and sky outdoing each other in the game of show-and-tell in the monsoons. There’s music and dancing to enjoy as the barbeque fever builds up in the glassed-in kitchen fitted with the revolutionary Josper Oven from Spain. Adjoining this lovely snack-and-drink leisure space is the palm-fringed expanse of Escapade, the tropical al fresco restaurant, where the tables are quickly filling up with daytrippers. The menu is as extensive as it’s alluring— the menu showcases a parade of dishes from pizzas to tenderloin beef steaks to Goan curries. Masterchef Chef Son Boon Sriphirom presides over the Oriental cuisine, while Sommeliers Magandeep Singh and Gurjit Singh Barry ably support the bar.
The Sea Lawns, the definitive party space with cabanas, an outdoor bar and dining area for a sit-down for 500 guests, is planned to capitalise on the wedding tourism business. Clever...considering how popular Goa is becoming as a wedding destination. Café Hangout should be up and running soon and there’s talk of about 20 guestrooms of the GTDC hotel being turned around just like they have done this beautiful complex, on lease from the tourism department.
A Tiger Camp Pvt Ltd initiative, Destination One is a collaborative offering from Rajesh and Soniya Srivastava (Meinhardt India Pvt Ltd) and Alok and Usha Sharma (Habitat Hotels); www.destinationone.co.in