You know how you sometimes feel you can never get away? With so much work to be done, the “tourist season” quivering on the edge and Calangute awaiting overdrive mode, the pent up energy literally crackled the air. Strangely, right there in the heart of this sizzling village, I found a cosy little corner to soothe my senses.
The Whispering Palms Beach Resort is literally a stalwart in the hotel scene in Calangute, having been around for years in a place where resorts appear like flies around a bottle of jam. Jacob John, the charming vice president of operations who earlier had a major role to play in starting a Russian charter business to Goa, has turned the fortunes of the resort into a raging success.
The hotel highlights its easy-on-the-eye décor with contemporary amenities, housed within a frame of light Goan accents. Cosy and comfortable is what the resort aims for, and nails it. It has properties in Goa and Jaipur, with an addition in Bangalore coming up soon.
Only a furlong from Calangute beach, the staff, location, food and service always receive rave reviews from visitors.
With 106 rooms, Whispering Palms Beach Resort manages to give each guest its attention. Choosing between the luxurious Studio Suite, spacious Terrace Rooms and Mediterranean-styled Balcony Rooms is all part of the excitement.
The sprawling Studio Suite offering private lawns and large balconies is done in warm tones, while the Terrace Rooms ooze a minimalist yet chic demeanour. The Balcony Room, as suggested, wins you over with its cosy little outdoor nook and comes in both twin and double options. Most rooms have views of the Arabian Sea.
Meals at Whispering Palms Beach Resort are something to look forward to. Overlooking the swimming pool milling with frolicking children and lounging adults is the Sun & Palms, a multi-cuisine patio restaurant. It is truly refreshing to sit here sipping a tall glass of juice after an early morning swim. With dishes spanning Continental, Indian, Chinese and Goan cuisines, the Sun & Palms has something for everyone’s palette.
I would suggest a definite visit to the resort’s authentic Indian experience at Aahaata. Styled with inspiration from a typical Indian village, this theme restaurant sends enticing aromas from its barbeque around the vicinity. Mouth-watering kebabs and grills, and a variety of exquisite Indian offerings are some of the pickings.
If it’s a snack you want or you’re feeling like you’ve done too much food sampling on your vacation, head to Lanai instead. Light meals, snacks and drinks are what the eatery does best, and its location right next to the pool means you can even sidle up in the middle of your tanning session to indulge in some refreshments. Lanai features a revolving menu designed for post workout meals or simple laze outs in the sun.
And when the heat of the day has dissipated and the stars come twinkling out, it’s time to head to Crossroads to meet familiar faces or make new friends. Even though it’s open all day and one can sit back and enjoy a tipple whenever one feels fit, the ambience comes to life in the evenings. Its bartenders are privy to lip-smacking recipes for both straight and exotic cocktails. Unlike other pubs, Crossroads plays soft music in the background and its comfortable seating means you won’t be moving anywhere else soon.
A long day of vacationing can only be upped by the invigorating hands of a trained masseur/euse. The resort’s in-house Tatva Spa offers a range of treatments made very popular among guests thanks to the spa’s qualified staff. On its menu one can find therapies from around the world. Internationally renowned treatments such as Aroma Therapy and Swedish Therapy are as much a favourite as ayurvedic options such as Abhyangam Therapy.
Guests can also rejuvenate with special massages, body scrubs and envelopes or reflexology. Tatva Spa also provides regular salon services.
The Whispering Palms Beach Resort is an ideal location for business houses and corporates to hold meetings and events. The management has ensured that the resort stays up-to-date with modern technology, and caters for groups from as small as five to as many as 200.
With its scenic sea-view locale, intuitive staff and thoughtful amenities, the resort almost provides an excuse to hold meetings, conferences or banquets. It houses a 1,500 square metre conference room and additional board rooms, with a pre-function space, video conferencing services and audio-visual equipment.
High-speed internet access is ensured in all meeting areas, and guests can access wi-fi from the lobby lounge through the meeting areas to the gardens and the beach.
The staff is happy to oblige with any further requests visitors might have.
It’s no secret that Calangute-Candolim is the busiest stretch of sand in Goa (possibly in India!), but Whispering Palms Beach Resort has found a way to slow the clocks. Everything is about the guest experience, and while patrons were lounging and having a good time, there was a bustle among staff readying for an evening of great music and food as I walked in.
The vice president of operations Jacob John showed me around, pointing out various upgrades made over the last seven years that he has been running the show. It was interesting to hear his story – from the charter business with E M Najeeb and The Great Indian Tour Company (now ATE Air Travel Enterprises to taking over the Whispering Palms when the owner was near exiting the industry and turning it into a success story that doubled its revenue for three consecutive years. The team opened a hotel in Jaipur in 2011, the owner of which is a Delhi-based industrialist.
He regaled me with anecdotes over a sumptuous lunch which included hummus, salad, cream of mushroom soup, grilled fish and prawns with cilantro and panfried chicken with red wine. The mouth-watering food was followed by a yummy strawberry pannacotta all prepared by executive chef Vincent Gomez.
It was an impressive start to a wonderful stay, and as I walked to my room I knew from the buzzing atmosphere that the hotel’s contagious ‘feel-good’ energy would surely pass on to me.
Stepping stones to success is to face the reality and for every success there has to be a vision combined with an intrinsic understanding of one’s strengths & weaknesses applied for a mutual betterment
– Jacob John, vice president – operations