Cidade de Goa has been close to an institution in this tiny tourist state, with hordes of visitors enjoying the lavishness of the secluded beachfront property for the past three decades. I had been invited there to attend a wedding and a couple of meetings in the past but had never really had the chance to truly absorb its authenticity.
I’d just had a terrific time back home, flitting about England & Ireland visiting friends and family, catching up and packing as much as I could in 21 days. Vacations like this tend to take a toll! I took the opportunity to soak up some healing at Club Saúde, the recently renovated health club at Cidade de Goa. A friend decided to come along too, and we were escorted to the club by the Spa Manager Colin Gracias who was kind enough to show us around.
Located at the centre of the resort, Club Saúde is the energy that pumps the heart of Cidade de Goa. It is surprisingly large and equipped with the latest equipment and activity spaces that could entertain even the most laid-back. The health club offers long-term and short-term membership, with Colin insisting on a fitness consultation to help personalise a programme with the help of personal in-house trainers.
Club Saúde is divided into a spa salon and a gym, both equally large and fully
kitted out with any equipment required to meet your health needs. I looked at the spa menu. It was extensive, but had each treatment well explained. There were the regular treatments, including foot massages, exfoliations, Balinese massages and chocolate body wraps, all of varying durations. The qualified masseurs squeeze the potential of aromatherapy and Swedish massages to literally bring you back to life. There’s also a Jacuzzi and sauna/steam room, and those who’d like to throw in grooming services like styling, manicures and pedicures, can have that too.
Colin also introduced us to the Pavitra Ayurveda section, which involves complex ayurvedic treatment following the 5,000-year-old holistic wellness philoso
phy. Here, experts customise each package to the specific needs and body types of their clients. Cidade’s Pavitra integrates Ayurveda, yoga, meditation and other healing disciplines amid all the modern comforts and amenities you could wish for on vacation.
We opted for the Balinese massage. Traditionally, the Balinese massage is meant to restore balance and vitality to the body, a perfect cure for my post-vacation stresses. As we made our way to the rooms, we saw they were called names such as Pacifico, Calma and Sereno to reflect the tranquillity that would help wane away any pressure. The Ayurveda rooms are called Ginger, Turmeric and Pepper, after the spices whose healing properties revitalise you.
Our therapist Koweu & Jessy was thorough with the treatment, incorporating gentle stretches, acupressure and aromatherapy oils to make magic. I could feel my blood responding to the call, purifying oxygen scouring its way through my body and positive “chi” or energy finding all the weak spots. With long strokes of just the right intensity, Koweu coaxed the muscles to relieve any tension within and I could feel a deep sense of relaxation slowly sink in.
For those who bring their children in tow, Kidade is the perfect activity centre to keep them engaged. During the season, guests can enjoy some tennis on the two outdoor courts. There appears to be no dearth of activities in Cidade de Goa. If it’s raining outside or even if it’s too hot, there are wonderful indoor games including table tennis, badminton, carom, pool, board games and even Playstation and Wii. Games of volleyball, football and beach cricket can keep your activity levels on high outside, and it’s interesting to play a game of giant chess before hitting the pool or enjoying one of the many water sports they have on offer.
We stopped for a quick chat with General Manager Neeta Sen. As we sat overlooking the spotless Vainguinim beach, she told us about her time at Cidade de Goa. Her vibrant personality is reflected by the resort, which truly lives up to its tagline “Goa in a resort”. You just know you are in Goa at Cidade, the ambience, character and warmth all exudes this wonderful place we call home. Neeta has been at the helm for the past six years.
From her earlier experience in Sales and Revenue, her hard work and dedication caught the eye of Director Anju Timblo, who asked her to take on the reins. She gave Neeta the freedom to paint the canvas of Cidade the way she felt best, and Neeta has done one hell of a job!
We had a wonderful experience at Cidade de Goa, and I made mental note to return to the Fitness Centre at Club Saúde. It is expansive and offers the latest high-tech equipment designed for beginners to professionals. Instructors are on hand to create a personalised regime to help hit your goals and you will find many guests hitting the gym to stay in shape while on vacation.
On the way out, I saw a sign that caught my interest. Every first Tuesday of the month, Cidade de Goa hosts a Fado evening at the resort’s fine dining restaurant ‘Alfama’. Internationally renowned singers including Sonia Shirsat, Miguel Cotta and Chantalle Cotta Viegas perform live, bringing the rich heritage of Portuguese songs filled with passion, sorrow, jealousy, grief and satire to the Goan stage.
I knew it wouldn’t be long before I returned.
(Published in The Navhind Times on August 17, 2013)