The SpaceCasa consists of five guest bedrooms, three sealed with air-conditioning, and two larger traditional rooms open to the rafters with large ceiling fans for natural ventilation.
The families of old in this property slept in small bedrooms connected by only curtains to the main house on one side and the inner courtyard on the other. Cross breezes under the main roof kept them cool. Our three AC rooms – Carnelian, Turquoise and Rose – were constructed by adapting five such bedrooms, taking the opportunity to seal them to make them suitable for air-conditioning. They now open only onto the terrace, catching the morning sunshine rising in the East over the jungle-clad hillock.
The larger Host’s Suite and Sunshine Room are in the North and South wings of the Casa and afford guests the opportunity to experience the fan-assisted breezes within thick walls in these grand rooms of bygone days.
Every large bed comes with a deep sprung mattress and affords sumptuous comfort in rooms that blend original Portuguese clay tiles with bright fabrics and eclectic Indian furniture. Facilities are completed by modern wet rooms fed by solar-heated water.
Casa was built for entertaining and socialising, as well as for living. So the main part of the house is as grand and imposing as you would expect with a lofty 5 metres height up to the roof, and each room is about 30 square metres in area.
To get this far, though, you first have to climb the steps into the balcao. High status houses like the Casa were built on elevated platforms to reflect their importance and the formal balcao was where guests and workers alike were met and entertained – only those with enough standing were allowed to sit on the stone seats within, or were admitted to the house itself. Today it is still a favoured place for a cocktail or a gossip, or as a retreat for thinking and chilling.
As a favoured guest yourself, you then enter the Casa through the ornately carved front door, reclaimed from an old palace in Mysore (but found in the storeroom of a village friend – and it was a perfect fit!). The Jodhpur blue reception area within is home to the formal portraits of the past Indo-Portuguese owners and has a wonderful wooden ceiling.
Straight on leads though to the back office where a hundred years ago Francisco X E Fernandes had sat writing his literary works, and on to the rear terrace and the bedrooms. But to the right of the vestibule lie the three formal guest reception rooms, each with its own style, eclectic artwork and heritage furniture.
The guest lounge has satellite TV, a DVD player and surround-sound speakers. The original teak ceiling has been restored and the rich colour brought back to life with 50 litres of linseed oil. There are four long-and-wide L-shaped built-in sofas, centred in each corner of the room. These make an excellent base for Susegad siestas beneath cooling fans and away from the heat of the day. You will find plenty of reading material throughout the house, should you wish to relax with a book, and it is an ideal room for TV suppers when you are socialised out.
Next door is the formal dining room, with a huge dining table that can seat sixteen in a room open to the rafters for cooling. Many wonderful evenings are spent here en famille, under the lit chandelier with beautiful arched windows opened wide – a most comfortable place to spend an evening of sparkling conversation, no matter how hot the day has been, and a fantastic alternative to dining a deux under the stars outside.
Last of all is the games room, decorated in rich, warm tones. Dominated by a 3/4 size snooker table, cleverly lit in a Tiffany style becoming the house, this room hosts a carom (a Goan passion) or cards table, various board games and walls of photographs from around India. It is equally welcoming as a brief escape from the sun during the day as it is a comfortable after-dinner retreat, with window seats and sofas for spectators and scrabble players.
A guest bathroom lies off a curtained alcove leading from this games room – also within easy reach of the dining room so that the atmosphere is not broken by unscheduled trips back to your room.
The pool and sun bed area is a fit home for most of the day’s (in)action. All bedrooms are accessed from the terraces, and breakfast in the cool of the morning, lunch under an awning offering shade from lunchtime heat, and intimate (or social!) dinners under the stars are all taken in these areas.
It is a short hop up a few steps to the upper pool surround and this terrace is used for cooling, seating and lounging. Half the perimeter is lined with lush greenery and mature trees at the base of a wild and luscious hillock, and half is dedicated to the Casa’s extra wide (actually four feet, or well over one metre, wide) sun beds.
These were originally used as the beds of ancient oxcarts and are made from metal banded teak. Now, topped with a foam mattress and a pillow, and taking three strong men to lift each one, they are regularly acclaimed as the “best sunbeds ever”. An adaptable and clever sunshade mechanism covers each sunbed here to the exact extent you need.
The Host’s Suite and Sunshine Room also have more private garden areas, where their dedicated sunbeds, to the same design, are situated, and usually offer a little more shade when needed.
The pool itself is 12m long x 4m wide, and is a flat 1.37m (4′ 6″) deep. entered by 4m wide terraced steps. Casa Susegad and its staff take pride in the quality of the pool water and the sides and base are cleaned every day in the early morning with the inevitable floating leaf litter also being removed.
The whole area evokes a feeling of being in a jungle clearing, but with the added advantage of a well stocked bar just off to one corner of the pool! Guest AccessGuests can access the entire Casa, terrace and swimming pool and the bar. Spa & massage centre, yoga place and the lush green spacious garden and sit out area. Interaction with GuestsNorman & me stay in the front section of the Casa and will always be available to help you with any requirements.
My staff also stays around the property and will be extremely delighted if they can be of any help. The NeighborhoodSouth Goa is home to one of SE Asia’s longest unbroken strands of good beaches. Reaching from Bogmalo in the North to Cavelosim in the South, Colva, Utorda and Majorda villages are our nearest access points to the golden sands with safe bathing and excellent shacks for dining, being only 20 minutes away. Many of the Casa’s guests rave about Zeebop at Utorda, famed for its fresh fish menu.
Further South, but easily manageable, are the delightful coves around Palolem and Patnem where the Western Ghats tumble into the sea. Life here is cosmopolitan and even a little alternative and Casa often swaps guests with some of the higher class eco-resorts down there. The huge crescent curve of Palolem with all its yoga/reiki/taro/silent-disco vibe contrasts with the slightly quieter Patnem and the almost deserted smaller coves like Colomb.
In the opposite direction, but still reachable, are the much more developed and commercialised beaches of North Goa – Candolim, Calangute, Vagator, Anjuna, Baga to name but five. It’s the Marmite of Goa – you either love it or hate it.
Shopping expeditions to Goa’s capital city of Panjim (about 45 minutes away) are really recommended. Handmade paper, gorgeous cottons and silks, high (Indian) fashion, bespoke tailoring (minimum of one week needed), home wares and internationally renowned leather bags – Panjim is a veritable Aladdin’s cave if you know where to go. Recommendations for extremely well priced (and shippable) bespoke furniture and objets d’art are freely given on request. We can also advise you on places to eat and drink, and if you book a driver then there is always somebody to take your bags ready for the next foray!
On the way to Panjim, why not visit the famous Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa, where the body of St Francis Xavier resides in its glass coffin, and the more austere Se Cathedral and its associated chapels just opposite. This is one of the few areas where only green lawns separate the mighty edifices and is justly a World Heritage Site.
Further inland from Loutolim, the jungle clad Western Ghats continue to rise and the landscape changes accordingly. Picturesque Selaulim Dam is responsible for much of Goa’s water and is an extraordinarily beautiful place. A day tour taking in the dam, temples in Rivona, Cotigao wildlife sanctuary with its beautiful villages, waterfalls and landscape, then lunch on the beach in Palolem followed by a doze and a gentle drive home via back roads, is a long but wonderful day out.
If you love bird life, there are wetlands where migratory birds can often be seen, depending upon the time of year. A tour of some of the least visited areas, a ferry over the river and lunch in a little local dhaba can be a magical day, whether the Cyrus Cranes show up or not. Serious birders may wish to take a look at the Casa’s dedicated birding page where far more detail is available.
Within half an hour of the Casa, you will find the market town of Ponda with its temples, spice plantations (where you can also wash and ride the majestic elephant, Ganga), butterfly conservatory and more. In the same timeframe, but in the other direction, lies the major town of Margao, South Goa’s commercial hub with its markets and quirky shops and cafes.
Near Cavelosim on the River Sal, Betty’s Boats launch their acclaimed mini-cruises out to sea and along the river. Casa Susegad guests always come back enthusing about seeing dolphins, fruit bats and abundant birdlife. Food and drink is included as well, so this is a great day out. These cruises are in great demand so it is advisable to book early – if your trip is short then feel free to ask the Casa to book prior to your arrival in Goa.
There are many other sights to see, places to go, near to Loutolim. Everybody at Casa will be happy to advise and help you plan once they know your interests and timescales. Getting AroundWhatever you decide, Casa is there to make it happen. Need a taxi for a few hours… or a whole day? Require a phone call made to check something is open? Or a complete itinerary arranging? Well, that’s what the staff at the Casa are here for!
But don’t try too hard… as one wise writer once said, “just try to soak in the vibe of the place, even if you do not do very much”. Other Things to NoteWith only five bedrooms but ample indoor and outdoor space, Casa makes a wonderful venue for private, catered, parties. It is also ideal for small company conferences, extended meetings, team building events, retreats and reunions. It is the one time you can forget being elegantly Idle!
Birthdays, anniversaries and wedding celebrations, with special menus, cakes and cocktails can be memorable events, especially if you are taking the whole house. Even if they cannot stay at the Casa, additional friends coming for the ‘main event’ can be welcomed and Casa can feed up to 80 people at one sitting around the pool. At the other extreme, Casa is ideal for just two newly-weds on their honeymoon wanting somewhere very special – wonderfully romantic with plenty of space to get lost in gazing into each others eyes.
For reunions and friends just having quality time together, peace, comfort, fine food and very attentive staff are at your disposal. The Susegad team will work with you to develop a particular theme for your stay if you wish. For more work-orientated events, the Casa is very flexible in its configuration, discrete and private.
And, of course there are the ‘special interest’ weeks. These are not necessarily for people who know each other beforehand – The Casa will, from time to time, advertise events like ‘Taste Fests’ for the foodies amongst you, or groups may approach Casa looking to arrange, say, a yoga retreat. As is everything at the Casa, there are no stringent rules and any suggestion will be listened to. But it is first come, first served!
- Spa & Massage services handled by (Sarla) can be made available on request & subject to availability.
- Yoga teacher (Ajay Sharma) can be made available on request & subject to availability.