Contemporary Goa resort Dona Sylvia retains a traditional soul
Designed by the late Charles Correa, the property provides a glimpse into the rich traditional Portuguese culture
With its large wooden roof embracing weary city dwellers and chilled-out holiday makers alike, entering the reception area of the Dona Sylvia resort complex is nothing short of a home-coming. Comfortable chairs, easy vibe, natural light and sea breeze add up to make you feel at home. Just minutes away from the breathtakingly peaceful Cavelossim beach, in South Goa, it is designed to hold your attention during the times you choose not to kick off your shoes and sink your feet in the sand. The form of the wooden roof is echoed in the adjacent restaurant, Seagull, as well as in the club/recreational facilities across the swimming pool.
Conceived and executed by the legendary architect, the late Charles Correa, who has left his stamp on the urban landscape of India, the project began in 1988 and was completed by 1991. In sync with his mastery over built spaces for a tropical climate, most of the public facilities for guests are really just large verandahs and pavilions – semi-open spaces which allow for cross-ventilation and sea breeze, simultane-ously providing protection from the sun. The guest rooms are housed in small casas, grouped around courts. While there are only four basic types of casas, the use of ancillary elements like railings, gargoyles, balcao (balcony) seats and window shutters add up to a consider-able degree of variation and individual identity.
A walkway leading from this central space via the ver-dant lawns to the sandy beach is flanked by guest rooms housed in low-rise clusters. The heart of the complex, this walkway – anchored by the swimming pool and reception area at one end and the exquisitely beautiful beach at the other − is like the activity spine that provides easy access to all the facilities. Walking down to the beach after a lazy lunch at the Seagull restaurant next to the reception, it is evident that Correa’s vocabulary is drawn from Goa’s local architectural tradition.
Situated in South Goa, the resort features 181 well-appointed and spacious rooms, villas and suites on the Arabian Sea coastline. When AccorHotels launched its latest Novotel in partnership with the Alcon Victor Group and its fourth property in the ever-growing Goa market, the event just had to be held on the emerald-green lawns of the resort complex. Tempting travellers with powdery white sands, water sports, magnificent sunsets, plush rooms, along with local and international gastronomy, AccorHotels has rebranded the globally-known Dona Sylvia resort to Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia resort, adding the Novotel brand essence with modern refurbishments and continuing the fairy tale on the sands of Cavelossim.
At the launch, Varun Albuquerque, director, Alcon Victor Group, paid tribute to the genius of Correa when he remarked, “Dona Sylvia Resort has always resonated with old-world charm and new-world luxury, creating an authentic Goan ambience along with its perfect location on Cavelossim beach. Today, through the rebranding of the property as a Novotel resort, we look forward to offering an inter-national standard product to our guests.” Also present on the occasion was Jean-Michel Casse, chief operating officer, India and South Asia, Ac-corHotels.
Built like a small luxury village, the property provides a glimpse into the rich traditional Portuguese culture through a mix of contemporary and local heritage architecture. The resort offers an eclectic range of dining options too. Seagull, the all-day dining restaurant, serves delectable buffet spreads,scrumptious à la carte meals and offers a satisfying dining experience with its live cooking stations and comfortable interiors. Guests who would like to enjoy an Indian meal could head to Kebabs & Kurries, the fine dining outlet that presents enticing signature dishes from the royal kitchens of India. At Mama Mia, the resort’s seasonal poolside grill res-taurant, guests can partake of an appetising selection of fiery grills prepared by the talented chefs on hot stone that keeps the food sizzling even as you enjoy the open air. The Goa experience would hardly be complete without the intoxicating charms of its bars, and the lobby and poolside bars – Amalia and Tia Maria – serve the purpose beautifully.
Wide access roads, large courtyards and passages, sprawling lawns with tropical vegetation, well-spaced cottages the design of this resort that intelligently blends traditional style with modern comforts, exemplifies a minimalist intervention within the coastal environment. In keeping with the needs of today’s traveller, Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia resort features two dedicated conference rooms with a capacity to serve about 200 guests. The resort also has two magnificent seaside lawns overlooking the Cavelossim beach. Then there’s the Sohum Spa – which provides a variety of Indian Ayurvedic spa treatments, aromatherapy sessions and revitalising Western massages. Besides the outdoor pool that takes centrestage, there is a fitness centre, an activity area and shopping centre to keep guests occupied while at the resort.
Surf, sun and sand with the added bonus of luxury are indeed the mantra here. General manager Vishal Khosla puts it succinctly when he says, “We seek to offer solace to the #hashtag tired traveller, offering a place where the incessant mobile phone ring can be forgotten and activities indulged in that bring back fun and laughter, making it into a style of living. At Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia, we aim to host a com-plete getaway package, where guests can come and enjoy the simple but luxurious pleasures of a resort.” In an age when the internet and the world of social media often results in the disconnection of people from family, community and surroundings, this getaway is geared to ensure that guests reconnect with fun, deepen family ties, improve relationships and rekindle the spirit of living. Through its architecture and design, this timeless resort can ensure such invaluable and memorable experiences.