Ethel Da Costa is an Economist by Academics with a Masters in Economics from Goa University, India, she is a passionate award winning Media, Lifestyle and Fashion Journalist-Writer by profession over the last 20 years. Born and raised in the Middle East, Kuwait and now based in India (Goa-Mumbai)
What is the best timing to go to Coco Shambhala?
When the stress bells in your head start ringing, it’s time to plan your escape.
This was much needed after a crazy work heavy 2016. How badly I needed a break? I hadn’t realized till I was face to face with it. And then, all of the defences melted, chatter flowed, a spontaneous reconnect with lost conversations and understandings. The cocoon-like caress of wild, lush Nature all around me creating a safe-in-the-womb Eden of luxury.
ESCAPE TO COCO SHAMBHALA
Open your eyes and feel with your spirit is the unsung epiphany of Coco Shambhala — an exquisitely created, hand-crafted romantic retreat so hidden from the rest of Goa, and India, that you wonder how did they manage keeping this beauty under wraps for so long. “Eight years precisely,” I’m told the Manager of this tropical, Mediterranean inspired luxury Villa property retreat, nestled into the lazy hillsides of Nerul, Goa.
Beginning my journey from the humdrum meandering drive from Panjim, the capital city of Goa, to Nerul across the chaotic Mandovi bridge battling traffic, stray cattle, city rushes and directionless tourists, winding roads take you to Nerul villages, hillside woods, till we finally arrive at a no-fuss, simple compound gate with a little stone plate announcing ‘Coco Shambhala.’ Like arriving at a friend’s house who happens to live in a village.
A gravel stone pathway winds through a corridor, and then you see it… If you feel your heart skip a beat, trust it. Intuitively it has already decided that it’s okay to slow down a bit. Sprawling jungle gardens with a vibrancy and aura of thriving Life seeps under your skin, even as you take in the full vista of what you have just stepped into. It is, what I learn, the ‘Shambhala Experience.’ I’m about to find out more.
BELIEVE THERE IS HEAVEN
Shambhala – a place of peace, happiness and tranquillity…
Spread across 4000 sq m with a winding lagoon designed around beautiful Spanish- Mediterranean inspired architecture, are Four Bespoke Villas. Each Villa a resonance of luxury, with its own outstretched outdoor verandas for lounging, dining, long no hurry lunches, upholstered with vacation inspired tropical interiors and Indian textiles, vintage furniture, inner private plunge jet pools for privacy, sprawling bedrooms and outdoor shower areas. Even a bookcase with thrillers and philosophy. Quaint!
Each of the Four Villas named with reverence to Sanskrit texts – Ashvini (the usherer of dawn), Ashlesha (a constellation of stars), Rohini (the embodiment of female energy) Bharini (accomplished and stable)—embody personal spaces with amenities designed with great, minute, attention to detail, comfort, functionality and complete privacy from the outside world. Yes, including its own staff. Nuances of modern and references to heritage showcase that this has been a construction with a mission. All personally, excruciatingly laid out in detail and planning by Giles Knapton, Director, Coco Shambhala, a nonchalant grounded British wanderlust-er who stumbled across the globe and found his nirvana here.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH ENLIGHTENMENT
My own villa ‘Ashlesha’, meaning the embrace of a constellation of stars, was everything I had imagined by own dream villa to be. Open hearted, free and pure of thought. A two bedroom otherwise ideal for couples looking for a romantic getaway. It contains one bedroom on the ground floor and the second bedroom situated on the first floor of the villa.
A lovely corner of the property encourages an all night sit out with endless supply of Champagne. Also, it is making notes to self, or conservations with a romantic interest, cuddle into cushions, or star gaze and philosophies, undisturbed. Mornings wake to fresh breakfast laid out on your outdoor patio. And followed by quick laps in the pool and a skip to the in-house spa.
THE WAY TO MY HEART IS THROUGH MY STOMACH
What makes a world of a difference when you decide to wind down, is who you wind down with. In Fact, Having travelled his whole life and encountering all kinds of situations, Giles Knapton believes and lives by the philosophy that how you treat your guest, is how you would want to be treated yourself: With respect, personal space and personal attention. Moreover, every service, each meal and dining experience is curated to your personal taste and your food freshly sourced directly from the market for the day.
No pre-conceived menus are available, but house chefs who personally discuss your food with you with an intimate detail to attention. I advise, when you forget to eat to feed your soul, and instead eat just to get by for the hurried day, hurry to Coco Shambhala. The delectable cuisine is all courtesy Director of Cuisine, Shagun Mehra, who crafts new menus each season tailored to preferences and palate.
THE SHAMBHALA EXPEREINCE
All four villas with their private indoor jet pools, open bathrooms and spacious bedrooms are a pleasure to live in. The in-house kitchen an enabler of sorts for your sudden desire to experiment a self-created Master Chef episode. And it is just to indulge your culinary interests. Thanks to every piece of crockery, glassware and pot-pans you discover in the kitchen cabinets and a fridge stocked with beverages to create an almost-home dining experience. Fresh food from the local markets, signature cocktails, warm, friendly care and conversation all leading to creating memories of sensory and visual seductions.
When pleasure finds you, I beg you, succumb to it…
Not many days in a working woman’s professional life will Spa opportunities fit into your work calendar. I implore you, change it now. No man-made, rat-race stress is worth a sacrifice of your time on this Planet. Everything is temporary.
Hidden within the Coco Shambhala gardens, the Spa is an integral gem of this jewel, and a necessary component of the Shambhala experience. Partnered with Forest Essentials –another of my favourite Luxurious Ayurveda brand –the head therapist sorts out my life, literally. Make that twisted back muscles you didn’t even know existed, bearing the burdens of your rush and neglect.
Signature treatments for massages, scrubs, facials, firming and toning, detox and body polishes – all products Forest Essentials only. Ideal for a Ladies Day Out, to-be-Wed couples, a Date or Family Days with kids. Smart!
Body nourished, spirit rejuvenated and my back spring-boarding to action. It’s a heavy heart and very reluctant feet dragging myself out of this oasis and back to the bustle. A sentiment Team Coco Shambhala are all familiar with, and hence the experience cleverly crafted to make you come back. Which you will, I will, and we must. Again.
Address: Coco Shambhala, Coco Beach, Nerul, Bardez, Goa, India
Telephone: +91 (0) 9372267182/ +91 (0) 8554998462
Day Spa Bookings on atleast 3 days prior notice: 9372267182 / 8554998462