In the same way that there is a statistic for the number of babies born in India each minute, there should perhaps be a count of how many hotels are being built, taken over or getting a makeover every other day in Goa. So it is that I am on my way to the Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, which has opened within hollering distance of Varca Beach, not far from sister property Radisson. It began operations in November — not long ago by Goan standards, but new enough for the rest of us.
On the way, I wondered about what a new hotel could bring to Goa that the state hasn’t seen before. I stopped thinking when a curve in the road revealed a pink-and-white pile that resembled, alarmingly, a strawberry pastry. But a closer look helped. The hotel is attractively designed like a Portuguese mansion. The rooms are spread around a series of connected courtyards, creating an illusion of an intimate homestead rather than a 106-room hotel. The defining features are the centrepieces of each of the courtyards. The lobby and reception and the restaurant La Terrezza are located around an elegant fountain with canopied benches spread around it. The second courtyard has the swimming pool, the third a dramatic fountain shaped like a water nymph, and the last a lovely garden with the Sea Food Grill restaurant.
I was pleased to find my suite spacious and airy. I was also pleased to note its interiors — in cheery shades of yellow and green rather than the rich mauve of the exteriors (to be fair, at night when the hotel’s lit up, the pink is quite becoming). My suite was on the ground floor and, indeed, the rooms and suites on the ground floor are the best as the French windows open out into a courtyard or a garden.
The Sea Food Grill is a good place for a quiet dinner. My grilled snapper was perfect and mashed potatoes excellently creamy. Even the breeze from the sea was blowing in the right direction. The food was excellent all through my stay.
But the real highlight of my stay was the foot massage at the Maya Spa. Sabina kneaded all the tiredness out of my calves. The steam bath after the massage was wonderful. After that all I could do was drag myself to my comfy bed and sleep.
What does the Country Inn & Suites at Goa do differently? To be honest, nothing. What it does do, is provide all the services that a good hotel should — the highest quality, served up with flair.
Location: Close to Varca beach; 41km from Dabolim airport
Accommodation: 89 suites, 17 studio rooms
Tariff: Rs 10,500 (Studio Room), Rs 13,000 (Suite)
Contact: 0832-6697272, www.countryinns.com/goain