Goa's treasures are many, but few can rival the simple charms of the sun, sea, sand, and susegad. These easily attainable joys are a veritable paradise for those who love to revel in the vibrant Goan scene. Yet, for the souls seeking an immersive experience amidst peaceful solitude, Larisa Resort Ashwem is a refuge like no other. This contemporary luxe resort is a sprawling haven with winding pathways flanked by swaying palm trees, lotus ponds, and a symphony of birdsong in the air.
Located 10 minutes from Ashwem beach, the resort has 20 wooden cottages, of which 14 are luxury stays, four are suites, and two are spacious two-bedroom cottage suites with soaring ceilings, exquisite old-world tiles, and verandas enveloped in bamboo bushes.
"The essence of Larisa lies in our roots–the places and cultures from which the brand originated. We aimed to bring this same experience to Goa—a luxurious stay in a mesmerising location nestled amidst nature. We strive to create unforgettable stays and curate personalised, authentic experiences that truly capture the essence of the local culture," explained Priya Thakur, founder of Larisa Resorts, as she took me on a tour of the property.
During my stay, I occupied a premium room with a generous size that exuded a sophisticated and polished ambience. The room's design had been meticulously crafted, showcasing wooden furnishings, ample airflow, and cosy bedding.
As someone who values airy surroundings, I found the room the perfect oasis of relaxation. The furnishings were tasteful and luxurious, adding to the overall feeling of indulgence.
One of the standout features of the room was its open-air shower, which provided an immersive bathing experience amidst the natural surroundings. The shower's walls were crafted from bamboo, seamlessly integrating it with the environment and providing an unobstructed view of the vast blue sky above. And, of course, the stone bathtub on the veranda of my room (all rooms, as a matter of fact) was perfect for washing off the fatigue and soaking in utter bliss. As night descended and the cacophony of birds subsided, my stomach emitted a low growl, signalling the need for a much-desired meal.
The moment I stepped into Khambir, the resort's signature palm-shaded multi-cuisine restaurant, I was immediately drawn to the aromas wafting through the air. The pool-side restaurant's chef and bartender had come together to create a menu that celebrated the area's local flavours and fresh ingredients, and I was eager to taste it all.
As I perused the menu, my mouth watered at the thought of the classic Goan curry with rice and a piping hot pizza. I struck up a conversation with the chef, who proudly informed me that everything on the menu was made with "fresh produce" and that he was always willing to "cater to personal preferences." I knew I was in for a culinary treat–a prediction which turned out to be true, with the food being delicious.
For a food enthusiast like myself, Khambir was a true culinary gem. Despite being the only dining option, it served a delectable fare—a feast for the senses.
Post dinner, I found myself at Chhaang, the resort's signature bar. The Ukrainian mixologist, Yura, had curated an impressive selection of cocktails, and I couldn't wait to try them all. As I sipped on my drink, Yura regaled me with tales of his past, from being a cheese maker and English teacher in Vietnam to the story of his mother, who lives near the Russian border.
"Anything can happen there because of the war. Yet, my mother is resolute in staying put and not leaving the place she has called home for many decades," he said. His stories captivated me, and the evening flew by in a blur.
As I retired to my room that night, I couldn't help but feel grateful for the experiences offered to me. From the delicious food to the fascinating stories, it was a night to remember.
My slumber was gently interrupted by a symphony of birds chirping in harmony and the melodic flow of the resort's artfully crafted water stream. The tranquil ambience was a serene invitation to start the day.
I sat down with Thakur over coffee to understand more about the property and its focus on sustainability.
"Sustainability and Larisa go hand in hand, although it's easier said than done considering practical problems. Our team has been focusing on minimising our footprints within our properties, including Ashwem," Thakur explained.
Larisa is actively separating its waste and processing organic waste into fertiliser for their gardens. "This approach has reduced the load on the municipal corporation and promoted an efficient circular economy across all our properties," Thakur added.
Another significant step towards a low carbon footprint—serving water in glass bottles instead of plastic, a small but meaningful gesture towards sustainability.
Larisa's commitment to sustainability is also evident in its small-scale operations, with no more than 20 cottages, villas, or rooms in each of its properties. "We also make it a point to hire locals, thus supporting the surrounding communities."
On my flight back to Delhi, I yearned to return to Larisa Resort Ashwem, where luxury and natural splendour converge to create an unforgettable experience. It's an oasis of calm and relaxation, a place where one can revel in the vibrant spirit of Goa while finding solace in the serenity of the surroundings. My time there was a transformative experience, and I left feeling refreshed and renewed, eager to return and bask in its tranquil ambience once more.
Location: Ashvewada, Near Ashwem football Ground Mandrem-Goa, 403527
How to reach: While the nearest airport is Dabolim Airport (57.9 km), Thivim Railway Station is 21 km from Larisa Resort Ashwem. Taxis are readily available.
When to go: Mid-November to mid-February is the best time to visit Goa
Room tariff: INR 11,500/night onwards
For more information, visit here
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