Nouveau arrive on the Goan Landscape

A former Portuguese colony isolated in British India, Goa is India’s Latin Quarter. It is spirited and capricious. It is a little lackadaisical, a little decadent. It has that easygoing lassitude found on tropical coasts from Costa Rica to Zanzibar. Where India has colourful temples and adobe villages, Goa has bright white churches and Portuguese villas.

Text: Anuja Mavinkurve

Like any self-respecting Latin Quarter, this place is full of people who have escaped from the humdrum of their lives: romantics, bohemians, corporate honchos, speedsters who ran out of road, hoteliers who have checked out, chefs chasing coconuts, socialites seeking siestas. Everyone seems to have some story of throwing off the shackles of their old life for the sea breezes of laissez-faire Goa. With such a lively backdrop, Goa sees an emergence of new hotspots recurrently. Here’s a rundown on a few of them.

Happy Soul, Anjuna

Think of wellness and there is Happy Soul. Standing true to its name, Happy Soul is a cheery, vibrant, organic store with an in-house café, which stocks certified organic food produce. Brainchild of actor turned entrepreneur Pooja Bedi, the store provides a plethora of multi-vendor, chemical free, organic, healthy, cruelty-free, wholesome range. From Edamame moong noodles to organic shampoos to hand-crafted soaps to olive oil to handmade papads to organic teas, they have it all.

They proffer recommendations with a curated list of holistic services like yoga, reiki, acupuncture, physiotherapy, pranic healing, psychotherapy, aromatherapy, and many others, all under one roof.

A heady whiff of lavender leads you straight to Happy Soul Café on the same premises. White rattan chairs and settees. Tables in red flower and dragonfly sheath. Onion pink glasses. Plastic flowers hanging from the concrete trusses and wrapped above chandeliers on the service counter. Aqua teal plates. Heart-shaped coasters. Servers in pink tees. Colourful bottles sitting neatly in backlit shelves. There’s something about the space that instantly perks you up.

The Happy Soul Café menu is exhaustive. Paleo. Keto. Vegan. Vegetarian. Gluten-free. Soups. Salads. Noodles. A bunch of hummus listing. Chia Pudding. There are busters, boosters, detox, high-energy drinks. There’s a Fat Buster, Cellulite Buster, Stress Buster Smoothie; Happy Lungs, I love my Heart Smoothie. Other than the scrumptious renditions of greens, millets, grains, poultry and fish, there’s hemp, too. The café is a beauteous extension of the store, both living up the wellness mantra.

Aliaum Boutique and Coffee Bar, Anjuna

The trend for one-stop shops which has yielded various combinations in the category of new breed stores and cafés has shown its influence on clothing boutiques as well. ALIAUM by Mithun Purandare has become home to one of Goa’s most exquisite boutiques and coffee bars. If you desire to own mesmeric resort wear, beach wear, holiday wear and party wear for both men and women using the finest fabrics head here, for a very cutesy London boutique cum café bar experience.

It is popular among people with an ardent passion for fashion, décor, lifestyle and style. The brand is handcrafted in Goa with a great team of tailors using the finest fabrics with collections of Khadi and organic cottons. The coffee bar serves an assortment of coffees, beverages and appetizing fare.

Heavenly Spa, Westin Goa

The Heavenly Spa by Westin allows you to replenish your mind and body with a personal sensory experience. The spa offers a range of relaxing and rejuvenating ayurvedic treatments, Thai massages, body scrubs and wraps, couples massages, facials, foot therapy, steam and sauna facilities amongst others. Stepping in the spa is like stepping into a calm, zen corner, which immediately enraptures you to a different world. The knowledgeable therapists recommend tailor-made therapies to suit individual exigencies. A cosy plunge pool is where you can have a soothing dip after indulging in a gratifying massage.

Elle Spa & Salon, DoubleTree by Hilton, Panjim

Elle Spa & Salon at DoubleTree by Hilton Goa-Panaji ushers its guests into a refined setting while immersing them in deep relaxation and premium grooming. As you approach the spa, fragrant smells and an intimate ambience greet you, introducing you to a world of luxurious service, elegance, and wellness.

The premium spa features six therapeutic rooms in total, including two couple rooms, a separate relaxation room, and a specialized salon. ELLE Spa & Salon has expert professionals pampering you with soothing massages, focused facials and scrubs, nourishing hair care, hydrating body wraps and other therapies.

Storii By ITC Hotels Shanti Morada, Saligao

Walk through Saligao’s bylanes to reach the quaint Portuguese home called Storii Shanti Morada. Immerse yourself in the myriad stories held within its century old walls, representing a varied confluence of Portuguese and Indian culture. The property, incepted in the late 19th century, harbours an old-world charm and warmth reflected in the specially curated décor, art and service.

With 20 well-appointed guest rooms, tastefully decorated with traditional furniture and contemporary amenities, opening up to the crystal blue pool, Storii has been offered by ITC hotels. With amenities like an uber luxurious spa, poolside jacuzzi bar and an in-house multi cuisine restaurant, Storri by ITC Hotels Shanti Morada offers a serene and pleasurable experience.

Vnya Organic Store, Sangolda

Born from the elements and a love for all things natural, Vnya is your foraging ground for toxin-free, seasonal, organic and personal produce. The brand believes in healing the environment and ourselves, through the cumulative effect of our habits, focusing on nourishment, daily routines and giving back. A local organic grocery and lifestyle brand, Vnya’s major philosophies revolve around producing clean food that doesn’t hurt anyone along the way. From eliminating waste to ensuring maximum recycling, these products are organic, healthy, sustainable and socially friendly. Most of Vnya’s products originate from the hills of Uttarakhand, with all of it coming from as close to the source as possible.

The brand is a perfect fit for those looking at natural foods that are pollution-free. all grocery items from organic rice, pulses, spices to fresh fruits & vegetables. You’ll also find lifestyle products like Buransh and malta squash, a variety of incense, essential oils, superfoods, that are rich in nutrients and antioxidants.

It takes a holistic approach and sincere commitment to make a sustainable change. Vnya attempts exactly that, urging customers to change their habits such that it sends a ripple effect through the environment, farmers and effectively the entire ecosystem.

Broadway Books, Coffee and Cakes, Colva

If you are seeking a dainty bookshop with a sizeable collection of varied genres of books, coupled with excellent coffees, enticing cakes and baked goodies, look no further than Broadway Books and Coffees in Colva, Margao. Their collections include children’s books, magazines, study reference books, fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, self-development, business and management books, bestsellers, coffee table books and exotic stationery. The coffees and the bakes are delectable. You can sit and spend a few good hours leafing through the pages of your favourite book, sipping a freshly brewed coffee with a tempting pastry on the side.

Caliber Café, Benaulim

Divine desserts, signature coffees, a grand garden view, cosy ambience, warm and friendly conversations, effective coworking space and delectable finger food and scrumptious bites make up for the pictorial Caliber Café. Their menu includes sandwiches, coffees, iced teas, beverages, tarts, waffles, pastries and smoothie bowls. Just sit by, with a good book and watch the world go by. Indulge in friendly conversations over coffee with your fellow coworkers or just spend some sedate moments in contemplation. Just discover the joy of doing nothing. Caliber café is a small world in itself.

Goa has a sprightly, vivacious and a populace brimming with enthusiasm, who are willing to experiment and channelize their talents to come up with new and innovative concepts, which are seeing the light of day.

Author: Planet Goa Team
For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

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