Think of Goa, and wellness might not be the first thing that comes to mind. After all, the sunshine state is better known for its stretch of golden beaches and party lifestyle. But don’t let that fool you. With wellness getaways on the rise, travellers are often looking for that sweet spot between mindfulness and relaxation. And South Goa is no exception.
Alila Diwa, a boutique, luxury resort in Southern Goa offers just that. The sprawling Portuguese-style property is tucked away in a little village in Majorda, and clearly this location is its biggest USP – fringed by lush paddy fields and coconut palms, with an infinity pool overlooking unspoiled, rustic views.
The way of wellness
I sampled the recently launched self-styled wellness program at the property, the idea behind which, Dr Arjita Kumari (wellness director at the hotel), tells me, is to give guests the liberty to indulge in wellness at one’s own pace. So, if you want to start off with some morning yoga or meditation, hit the gym, pamper your senses with a range of spa treatments, or simply unwind with a glass of wine at the end of the day; that’s entirely up to you. The team will craft a balanced itinerary that suits you best, after undergoing an in-house consultation.
If you’re looking to escape the crowds, take our suggestion and stay at the Diwa Club, a 35-room enclosure within the premises of the resort, that’s cocooned in privacy, with an all-day restaurant and its own lap pool. Each room overlooks the pool and is furnished in a pleasing palette of blues and whites.
The Spa experience
And if, like me, you prefer to start your wellness journey with something soothing and gentle, then, get the signature Balinese massage. Pick your choice of essential oils, from lemongrass, ylang ylang or jasmine, as deep strokes leave you feeling utterly soothed. If you prefer an energising Ayurvedic treatment, they have special concoctions for that too. The spa enclosure is a haven on its own, with flower trellises, water bodies, and open-air showers in each treatment room that offer plenty of privacy.
For a more indulgent experience, get one of the body scrubs and follow that up with a soothing body wrap. The hour-long treatment ensures you’re scrubbed and polished to a soft, smooth glow, using all-organic ingredients like lemongrass, aloe vera, sugar, fresh coconut, turmeric and red clay. You’ll thank us later.
Eat your way to health
The wellness menu largely comprises spa cuisine with produce sourced from the resort’s organic gardens, although the menu is somewhat limited. However, chefs are happy to whip up a dish of your choice, should you wish. Try the steamed sea bass with vegetables and glazed quinoa, and the wild mushroom soup. Kick start your day with the chia seed smoothie bowl with coconut flakes, coconut milk, peanut butter and honey, or, the pumpkin and flaxseed pancakes. There’s also a range of guilt-free desserts to choose from, along with health tonics and elixirs.
There’s no wellness without a touch of indulgence
Since this a self-styled program, there’s no restriction on how you should plan out your day. Evenings can be spent at the property’s newly launched Courtyard Bar, where you can sample cocktails made with homemade infusions – such as the spiced apple fusion with star anise and cinnamon, or, the mystical Dalle Khursani, using hot chillies from Darjeeling and curry leaves, paired with your favourite gin, or vodka. Customised G&Ts are also available. If you’re sticking to your resolution of being mindful, then have these sans alcohol, as a spritzer.
A visit to the recently refurbished Spice Studio is a must, where Chef Edia Cotta, serves up Goan and regional Indian cuisine with flair. The prawns tossed in fresh coconut, onion and kokum fruit are flavoursome with just the right amount of spice, as are the pan-fried water chestnut cakes, a Lucknowi delicacy. There is also an assortment of spicy coastal curries, traditional Goan breads and rice dishes to choose from. The restaurant itself makes for a pretty setting, with spice racks, and old teakwood and rosewood furniture, sourced from nearby Portuguese homes.
Wrap up your stay with a farm-to-table dining experience in the resort’s organic garden, like I did. Or, if you prefer to simply laze away by the pool with an indulgent, healthy meal, you can do that as well. After all, isn’t wellness also a state of mind?
All images: Courtesy Alila Diwa