Thursday, October 19, 2017

Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa sojourn: Three-days weekend getaway to Taj Fort Aguada, Sinquerim


Hey guys! How you all doing? When I posted a story on Instagram and Whatsapp about my staycation at Taj, everyone kept asking me for details. Here are all the details you need to know!

The weekend staycation

You know that feeling when you’re working five or six days and week and unwind during a long weekend? I do enjoy travelling, but here’s a post about my brief staycation at the heritage luxury resort – Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa in Sinquerim, which is recently rebranded and re-launched from it’s earlier name Vivanta by Taj Fort Aguada.

Spreading across a picturesque 42 acres, it meanders into the ramparts of the 17th century Portuguese coastal fort Aguada and spreads on the sea front along the Sinquerim to Calangute beach stretch.  It was a wonderful weekend and the best part was, I was there with my best friend Isha! As you read on, you’ll know who we spent our three days at Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa.

Though we were still in Goa, it was pretty much a holiday – a vacation that we both desperately needed. Everyone needs a break once in a way. This was our break – our means of unwinding and before we took on the next week on Monday! We checked in on Friday afternoon and checked out on Sunday afternoon. Technically it was two nights, but I consider it three days, because... we did so much in those three days spent at Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa!


Entering the world of Taj

The luxury resort has recently been revamped and rebranded, and I was more than happy to explore the luxurious experience they have on offer. Tajness is something that I’ve heard of, but experiencing it first hand was something out of the world. There are so many things that distinguish Taj from any other property in the country and I always had a certain expectation of a heritage Taj property in my mind. And Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa lived up to those!

What I absolutely love about the Taj properties (all over India) is the fact that most of them are heritage properties located inside the ruins of a fort, palace or any other historic monument. The rich sense of history and heritage associated to the five star properties makes it all the more enticing to me.

There are certain activities as well, that distinguishes Taj. For example, the afternoon tea ritual, which is common in all the Taj properties. In this case, it was a Goan inspired high tea. Secondly, the sunset rituals – where the Taj staff gets together to light lamps and create a tranquil atmosphere within the resort. They also have the wakeup ritual, which includes a yoga session at their spa.


Here’s why Taj Fort Aguada is special

Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa where we stayed at, showcases the spirit of Goa. AND it’s the first luxury hotel in Goa. One can explore the horizon as one looks over the waters of the pool, beyond the 16th century ramparts of the Portuguese Fort, and wave back to the tide as it works its way across the Arabian Sea, to greet the Sinquerim beach.

Not just that, the entire resort is a township in itself. Once you cross the main gate and enter the resort, you are transversed into a different world altogether – the world of Taj! Romantic, charming, vibrant... It has history woven in its walls. This is where royalty, heads of government agencies and the biggest celebrities are known to frequent.

The resort has a number of deluxe, superior and premium rooms – garden facing and sea facing, suites with a terrace, cottages with a garden view and villas with garden view, bay view and sea view. They even have a three bedroom presidential suite to accommodate VVIP guests. All the rooms are well-equipped and tastefully designed. The villas, rooms and suites are renovated annually, and the cottages are constructed just this year!


The grand welcome at Taj Fort Aguada

When we entered, we were greeted by smiling faces at the lobby. We were welcomed with a shell necklace placed round our neck, and I realised it makes a great memento of your stay at Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa . We were seated and a towel presented to us. Water and a welcome drink (juice) soon followed. Meanwhile, there were men strumming the guitar and singing Goa songs to welcome guests to Goa! All this while the staff got your check-in formalities done, as you are seated. Yup! Taj ensures a no-hassle check-in.

What I absolutely loved right from the beginning was the fact that everything about the place screamed Goa. For example, the welcome ritual consisted of typical Goan hospitality. The men singing wearing tropical printed beach which associates to the beaches and Goa and the shell necklace which again signifies the ocean and the beach!  Even the decor, ambiance and everything about the place ensured it felt like you’re in Goa.



Home for three days: luxurious Hermitage Villa 504 with a garden view

Very soon we were escorted to our Hermitage Villa and voila! We were in for a surprise. The villa was so spacious; and honestly, I didn’t expect it to be so good! The blue and white villa was so spacious and luxurious, I could live here. The beautiful stand alone villa has a bedroom and a living room, a private lawn and garden furniture with parasols.

I absolutely loved the serenity and the sense of calm at the place. Since it was a standalone villa, we had the lawns for ourselves. We could just open the blinds of the large doors and windows overlooking the manicured gardens and it felt blissful. Since the villa was fully air-conditioned, we didn’t really leave the doors open.

I loved how the rooms had a tinge of the Portuguese era. Right from the entrance, the room numbers were carved on Azulejos, the famous blue and white tiles, an art tradition inherited from the Portuguese. Every room had vintage artefacts that you see in heritage houses. It was more like a modern version of a colonial Goan bungalow.

The king sized bed and the little corner in the bedroom were my favourite spaces. I spent so much time by the window. I even had my breakfast there! The villa had a Treat Yourself minibar, DVD player and LCD televisions (one in the living room and bedroom each). They had a wardrobe and an electronic safe, ironing facilities and other amenities. The state of the art full bath comprised of sinks, shower cubicle, toilet and bath tub! Yayyy! I loved every bit of it!



All the food you can indulge in at Taj Fort Aguada

Once we settled in, we headed for lunch at their restaurant – Morisco. They have four restaurants and bars – Morisco and Martini Bar are adjoined, then there’s SFX bar lounge – all of which are casual dining. They have their Italian restaurant Il Camino, which is more of a classy diner. And Kokum Kitchen – which is their all day dining restaurant. The nouvelle restaurants showcase the master craftsmanship of their seasoned chefs who teases your palate with their epicurean delights. I have a separate post with details about all the restaurants and my experience there. Read it here.



Some yoga therapy by the sea

During your stay at Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, you can indulge in some stress busting activities like yoga and meditation. At Jiva Spa, they offer yoga under the guidance of the Bihar School of Yoga, a holistic form of Yoga achieved through an amalgamation of physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of our lives. You can pick from one among the many yoga practices, or just attend a complimentary class that is conducted from 8 am to 9 am every morning.

I attended the yoga session and set against the backdrop of the tranquil Taj architecture and landscape, the experience is truly transcendental. It indeed was a great start to the day. We didn’t just focus on getting the postures right, but focused on the overall wellness of the body and mind.

A relaxing spa session at Jiva Spa

Taj’s award-winning spa brings the essence of the Indian wellness traditions and the promise of spiritual rejuvenation in a serenely luxurious space, right across the beach. While at Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, we happened to visit the spa and unwind in the best way possible – with a relaxing body massage. Read all about my experience at Jiva Spa here.

A dip in the pool

I was a bit disappointed by the placement of the pool though. It’s pretty convenient if you’re staying at one of the rooms (I guess!). But to get there from the villa – by calling the cab, walking past the lobby and by the pool side wasn’t the best thing. We still had a great time soaking in some morning sun by the pool! A slight relief was the outdoor furniture in our private lawn outside the villa where we could chill in the evenings!

The beach is so close. They have made a walk to the beach very convenient through the gate beyond the pool, next to Morisco. You can just walk down a flight of stairs and you’re at the Sinquerim beach. There are several water sports activities you can indulge in while at the beach or just relax and feel the sand in your feet and wind in your hair.



Other fun activities

As I mentioned earlier, Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa is spread across 42 acres and gives you the best of both worlds, the beach and the hills (and a bit of heritage too), considering it’s located on a hillock within the rampants of the fort, with the sea on one side. As a result of which, there are several fun adventure activities you can engage in while at Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa.

Their professional adventure team can guide you through a range of adrenaline-pumping activities like rappelling up the fort fa├žade and jumarring – rope-assisted climbing –  at the custom-contoured rock face within the property. They also offer snorkelling and deep sea diving.

We had some fun on the high rope activities. Oh well, for a moment it felt like MTV Roadies tasks. But fun nonetheless. We began with net walking which was the simplest. Followed by Burma bridge crossing which got slightly tougher, though we managed with ease. Probably also we had support and we could hold the ropes on both sides.

The next set got a bit tougher compared to the first two. I somehow managed the Monking bridge. But the tyre obstacle seemed very tough. Thankfully my long legs came to the rescue, but I kinda panicked when the set up began moving with the wing when I was right in the centre. That’s when I decided to cross it quickly and faired just well.

Zip lining was the most fun! The best part about these activities were, we had our safety gear and all the activities were conducted by trained professionals under supervision. And everything took place within the property – very close to the ‘bay view point’. This is a point where you get a view of the entire bay and it’s wonderful from atop – while you’re zip lining. A short walk and you reach the sunset point, which offers you a picturesque view of the sea and the setting sun at the horizon. Blissful!



My thoughts on the Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa sojourn

I’m so glad I took this opportunity to explore a bit about Taj. All we see from the outside are the tall walls gating the resort. On several occasions, while at the beach, I wondered what it’s going to be like on the inside. And experiencing TAJness with Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa it was such a great feeling.

The luxurious room, state of the art facilities, pristine garden, well trained staff, amazing food and great service made my stay such a memorable one. I loved the colour theme, the pretty bay window and the flooring of the villa; and can’t get over how beautiful the villa is just yet. I guess the bay window was my favourite part of the villa! Thanks Taj for this wonderful experience.

Details, tariffs and bookings:

For anyone interested in details about Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, the room tariffs, activities and experiences they offer, packages and restaurants, kindly head to their website:  Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa. You can also book online through the website.

Check out this photo story for a glimpse of what my staycation at Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa was like...


DAY 1

The grand welcome - with Goan music and welcome drink

The pretty living room of the villa we stayed at 

Villa 504 - our home for the weekend

Just soaking in some sunshine

How pretty and spacious is the bedroom

So arty! Loved the colours and decor

So so pretty and lavish

This is how we were welcomed in our room - a personalised note, fruits and wine

The lobby was so beautiful...I spent so much time here too

Beautiful piece of art I noticed on my way to the restaurant 

Lunch at Morisco

The kids play and activity zone

One of the pretty cottages

The view from Bayview point. You can just spend your evening here!

The lush lawns hardly has any activity and is so pristine

On our way to sunset point

I just can't get over how pretty the villa is

...and couldn't stop posing with it in the background

The bathroom was so spacious and had all the amenities

...and there was a bath tub too

That's what was in the welcome note!

The decor in the living room of the villa

A shot from the sunset ritual

Le me posing in the dining area

Chilling at SFX Lounge Bar

...with some cocktails before we headed for dinner

Dinner at Il Camino

Spent a looooooong time in the bath tub

And spent some time taking mirror selfies in this pretty mirror

...and some reading

...and watching TV

Good night

DAY 2

Good morning

Sipping tea in the balcony with the view of the beautiful garden

A jog in the garden outside the villa

...run run

...and then some yoga by the sea

Trying to learn some yoga postures

...followed by a dip in the pool

Getting in the vacation mode

...all smiles

...some beach time

Breakfast in bed

But I loved the bay window more..so well

...decided to have breakkie here

Some vintage vibes

Absolute favourite space in the villa

View of the pool in the afternoon

...sipping tea with that view

Chill time outside the villa

The man playing the piano during tea had such a calming effect

The view is so pretty, right?

High-tea with a view during the afternoon tea ritual

Then we headed to a relaxing spa session

The whimsical dinner under the stars was like a fairytale 

DAY 3

Can't get over how beautiful this was

Last day in the villa

Setting for breakfast...again

Then it was time for some adventure activity 

I did quite well

...but Isha struggled to cross the bridge 

Look at the view...

The activity was so much fun!

The waves hitting the rocks on Sinquerim beach

There was a slight drizzle just then
Time to bid adieu to this beautiful villa which was our home for three days! 

Related post: Midweek getaway to Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel
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