Spa Sitara at Acron Waterfront Resort brings a refreshing experience of rejuvenation to one of Baga’s most coveted locales
Through work, I am always visiting new properties and places, and some are very hard not to like. I recently went back to Acron Waterfront Resort in Baga to spend some much-needed down time, and came away with a very delightful opinion of the hotel, particularly Spa Sitara.
The hotel has one of the most fortuitous locations in Goa, particularly for well-heeled tourists who want to make the most of a vacation. Done in stark white and a lovely mango yellow, it looks picture perfect against the banks of the Baga river before disappearing around the bend towards the beach. It presents a pretty vacation spot only a stone’s throw away from Goa’s throbbing nightlife, but hidden away from the actual noise and chaos.
I arrived just in time for lunch, taking a seat at the outdoor section of the Riverfront Restaurant, a beautifully set dining area that is wonderfully refreshing under the shade of trees during the day, and turns very classy under the night sky.
The restaurant is headed by UK-based master chef Cyrus Todiwala, whose love affair with Goa goes back decades. Taking care of affairs when Mr Todiwala is away, are Executive Sous Chef George Tavares and Junior Sous Chef Savio Fernandes. The restaurant features an avant-garde Goan menu with Todiwala’s signature global style, and impressed me from the get-go with its Thai rare beef salad and River Restaurant beef burger.
We settled by the sparkling swimming pool to soak up some sun and have a light chit chat. As the afternoon wore on, we sauntered off in search of the spa. Tucked away in the thick foliage of colourfully landscaped gardens, Spa Sitara blends in beautifully with the location of the hotel.
Sudesh Shetty, our warm and helpful host, introduced us to the staff and let them take over. The spa menu is uncomplicated yet comprehensive. Spa Sitara is a relaxing, almost meditative space, where rejuvenation in tranquillity is made a priority.
From among the various services available, guests can choose from a range of fully body massages, body wraps, body scrubs and Indian therapies. There are also a few ‘express massages’ for those with lots to do. At the other end of the spectrum is the long and luxurious Honeymoon Retreat couples’ treatment, featuring a massage and body wrap followed by a steam in a private Jacuzzi with a delicious serving of exotic fruit and champagne alongside.
Passing a large Jacuzzi tub encased lovingly by nature, I settled in for my Spa Sitara Signature Massage, a 90-minute session of healing and de-stressing. The masseuse was a sweet little thing, quiet but brilliant at her work. Spa Sitara’s Signature Massage blends the best of Swedish and deep tissue massages to bring out the ideal results.
It even included stretching techniques taken from hundreds of years of traditional Thai remedies, specially focusing on the back and tense muscle areas. The massage is meant to stimulate energy flow and improve the sense of well-being, which is exactly what it does. At the mercy of the masseuse’s deft fingers and strong arms, I felt myself melting away into a new body. To conclude, a compress ensconces you in its relaxing warmth. I certainly felt quite invigorated!
The massage ended just in time for sunset, and we sat back to watch the tide recede into the Arabian Sea that was still grumpy from the monsoons. A while later, we enjoyed the cool breeze wafting in from the west, as we sat down to dinner – a delicious four-course meal. It began with an interesting beetroot and coconut rasam with cottage cheese croutons, and moved to a tender stir fried lobster with mango rolls and pomegranate relish.
I was particularly pleased with the grilled red snapper, fresh from the sea, that came with a cherry tomato tossed papardelle pasta. The dessert was unbeatable in the form of a dark chocolate cake and rum-infused chocolate mousse served with a fruit sauce and vanilla ice cream.
The following morning, Sudesh escorted us on a tour of the property. With 29 rooms, Acron Waterfront Resort is intimate and spacious. Most rooms are in the River View category with pretty views to look out across, giving guests the calm Baga river to wake up to. Eight rooms – in the Sea View category – offer sweeping views of the river as well as the sea, and the other eight – Courtyard Rooms – come with private garden courtyards with direct access to the temperature-controlled Jacuzzi.
From my Sea View Room, I could imagine spending days on end at Acron Waterfront Resort, particularly during season time, enjoying an afternoon siesta inside or getting a sought-after tan in the private balcony as the waves crash on the shore. The hours passed as I watched fishermen from the little village on the other side of the river pull in their nets with fresh catch.
A spectacular lunch bid us farewell – with Thai-style chicken salad, a pan-seared pomfret with spaghetti, and a toasted almond and coffee kulfi. My time at the resort was at an end with a twinge of jealousy for the new guests arriving from afar to enjoy their Independence Day weekend, but the staff and spa are already beckoning me back.