The Bali-styled villa resort is the new socially distanced safety net to check in at for your next trip. Text by Nolan Lewis; photographs by Sankalp Malik and Kuber Shah
As sales in luxury hotels crammed with hundreds of suites flounder, standalone villas and cottage clusters that offer socially distanced stays adhering to strict safety norms are thriving. At Goa’s scenic Arpora village is the freshly-minted Baale Resort Goa, a Balinese village resort with seven exclusive two-storey bungalows—each catered to by a vaccinated private butler and attendant; a kitchen well-stocked with intriguing ingredients and comfort foods to help you survive an apocalypse, and a plethora of indoor entertainment and leisure activities for you to draw a blank from the chaos outside.
The art of tropical living
Baale means gazebo in Balinese, a fond fixation in Indonesian architecture. Each villa is aptly named after an Indonesian archetype: Ulin, Taro, Sawah, Kevala, Koi, Kayu and Paloma. Executed by Balinese architectural bigwig Popo Danes, the interior detailing has been refined by Delhi-based decorator, Chandrika Sawhney. Once you’re inside, the finished product makes you forget you’re in Goa! The property has an interesting design story: to juxtapose Bali’s coastal architecture against the Goan coastline.
Each villa opens with a Koi pond at the foyer to harmonise Feng Shui that leads towards a 12-seater multifunctional community table, a generous pantry, and a central courtyard that is surrounded either by three or four bedrooms—depending on the villa’s configuration—all of which gaze towards the courtyard’s private pool that is connected by floor-to-ceiling dark wood window frames.
As our radiuses get restricted during the intermittent lockdowns, the spillover spaces that offer respite must be given special mention. Every room is connected to the outdoors by either a verandah, balcony, a private plunge pool, an outdoor shower enclosure, private patios or an amorphous design element that brings the outdoors in. Combine the traditional wood-and-stucco interiors with sculptural planters, oversized cane basket lighting fixtures, and frog and elephant statuettes from Buddhist lore that Sawhney sourced from seven trips to Bali.
Culinary Prowess At Baale Resort Goa
Each villa’s kitchen ensures that the world’s gastronomic delights are served to guests in a flash! The property’s central restaurant, Mandala, and Gong Bar long for crowded tables when the pandemic ends. Until then, each bungalow can seamlessly stir up a culinary storm. Helmed by Chef Thomas Rai after his last stint as executive chef at Dubai’s Legoland Hotel, I had sumptuous Thai curry, jasmine rice and satay skewers at my check-in lunch, a detoxifying spa menu after an in-room massage, and even barbecued giant shrimp and lobsters late one evening in the privacy of my courtyard. The feast that really stands out is the floating breakfast—an all-day breakfast menu that is served to you on a buoyant basket—as you swim in the middle of the pool!
While I have angst for the lack of salon and spa treatments during the lockdown, an outhouse in the making will serve as Baale’s multi-tier wellness centre. Meanwhile, take advantage of the spillover spaces around each villa. You can choose a corner of your choice for a spa therapist to arrive with a portable massage table and enjoy a bunch of Balinese bodywork to relax. The well-articulated butler and soft-spoken attendants, dressed in uniforms like you would see in Ubud, really know the finer detailing of Baale Resort Goa’s elaborate experiential, makes this solitary stay, not a lonely one.
Villas priced at INR 1 lakh per night.
Editor’s Note: Keeping the current situation of the pandemic in mind, T+L India recommends every reader to stay safe, and take all government-regulated precautions in case travel at this time is absolutely necessary. Please follow our stories on COVID-19 for all the latest travel guidelines.