Far From the Madding Crowds - An Oasis of Serenity in Goa, India

by Shelley Seale /
Shelley Seale's picture
Jul 22, 2009 / 1 comments

In this small village of Loutolim in the southern coastal state of Goa, India, life continues much as it has for hundreds of years. And at the restored Portuguese mansion turned guest house, Casa Susegad, you can escape the madding crowds of Anjuna and Calangute for a secluded hideaway that is sure to bring peace.

Susegad has no direct English translation, but its many Goan meanings include contemplative, lazy and satisfied. The owners chose this name as a way to offer guests the opportunity to discover their own meaning during their escape to this peaceful idyll. The colonial mansion was completely restored to create this charming, historic four-room heritage guest house. Set on one-and-a-half acres of grounds in the sleepy southern village of Loutolim, Casa Susegad is surrounded by the forest and far removed from the mass tourism of Goa.

The restoration was a labor of love for Norman and Carol Steen, who retained elements such as teak ceiling beams and the 400-year-old mosaic tile floors which are amazing in their intricacy. Each aspect of the home is intentional, from the gorgeous antique furniture brought from Rajasthan to the unobtrusive yet pampering staff who are like members of the family. Each room has its own color theme and is comfortable and inviting, but the whole house is at guests’ disposal. Cozy up in a cushioned corner seating area with a good book, lounge by the inviting pool, or stroll the beautifully landscaped grounds to the top of the ridge behind the house, from which the perfect sunset can be witnessed.

Each of the four rooms is spacious and well-appointed with antique Indian furniture, deep-sprung mattress and en-suite bathroom. The rooms are each named after semi-precious stones which are found in the decorative floor borders, and a color scheme reflecting the stone. Gorgeous hand-sewn patchwork quilts matching each color scheme cover the beds. Each room opens up to its own terrace area with a table where breakfast or tea may be taken. 

The four-course dinners at Casa Susegad are not to be missed. Food is a fusion of Goan cuisine and imaginative continental dishes. Carol Steen often starts her day at the local market, and has worked painstakingly with her wonderful staff to prepare traditional local dishes as well as train them in her own recipes. Everything is organic and prepared in the well-equipped, large kitchen or over a traditional wood fire. You will never have the same dish twice; ask Carol about the Goan chicken or the incredible fish wrapped in a banana leaf. They will also create a meal just for you if you tell her what you fancy. Your hosts will happily lead you on a tour of the kitchen and garden, pulling samples of the many fruits they grow right off the trees or a bite out of something cooking on the stove for you to try.

Lunch is also available for guests, and is usually homemade soups with fresh salads or sandwiches. Breakfast is served on each room’s terraces, and tea is always offered in the afternoons. Local neighbors often join guests and hosts for meals, and after a day or two you will feel part of the charming village. Any meal can be taken in the sumptuous formal dining room, al fresco on the terrace, in the lounge in front of a movie, or in the guest’s own room. Refreshments including beer, wine, juice and soft drinks are available in the communal kitchen on an honor system basis – guests simply help themselves at any time, and write down what they took on a tally sheet.

Contact Info:

Mr & Mrs Steen, Casa Susegad, Orgao, Loutolim,
Salcete, Goa, 403718, India
+91 9850 473 174 or +91 9822 106 341

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