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June 21, 2016

Verve Wanderer’s Tranquil Tales

Text by Namita Kulkarni

The winner of Verve Wanderer 2015 tells you where you can enjoy a soulful stay in Goa

Thanks to the Verve Wanderer travel-writing contest by Vervemagazine.in, a friend and I recently had the chance to be hosted by Novotel Resort in Candolim, Goa. The well-located luxury hotel with friendly and helpful staff, made for a relaxed and memorable stay. We knew the weekend was off to a good start when we were welcomed with orange ice candies that were a huge relief from the infamous Goan heat. Simple details like these make a world of difference to a traveller. The variety of cuisines served at mealtime were a delight even for a non-foodie like me. The buffet spreads were every bit as delectable as they looked, with something for every palate, and I wished I had an extra stomach that would do justice to all this food. Our early morning bird-watching plan was perhaps the only reason we were cautious about over-eating and over-sleeping – two things that undoubtedly creep into your routine during a Goan holiday.

Our days would unwind at the swimming pool, with its own waterfall and bar that also made for a great setting. (For those who prefer a walk on the beach, the hotel offers free shuttles to and from the Candolim coast.) A café aptly named The Little Place almost sneaks up on you as you descend the stairs towards the pool. It offers interesting small eats, perfect if you feel peckish after a swim.

What impressed me the most about the hotel, was their eco-friendly activities in the form of an initiative called Planet 21. On enquiring, the staff informed me that Planet 21 is a global initiative by the Accor Hotels group, and one of the major talking points in their sustainability programme. “The project aims at creating a bio-dynamic ecosystem that brings optimal agricultural conditions for tea production. It favours multi-crops and diversifies revenues for farmers. It helps with development of local market and other natural products. It empowers local farmers’ organisations with training and field workshops.”

Even their range of eco-friendly toiletries in the bathroom was commendable and I hope more hotels take small steps towards generating less waste. For anyone who likes to enjoy luxury without making a dent on the planet’s finite resources, can make it a point to enquire about your hotel’s environmental responsibility quotient. I hope more hotels follow Novotel Resort Goa and emulate their model of luxury meets environmental responsibility.

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