Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice
Casa Susegad, Loutolim, Goa, India
Nominated By: Shelley Seale, Austin, Texas, November '09
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Price Range: Rs 3750-5000 (meals additional, except included June-Sept) # of Rooms: 4 Kid-Friendly: yes
What makes Casa Susegad so Darn Good? The incredible architecture and furnishings of this amazing 400-year old mansion, as well as the warm hospitality of the hosts and staff, make this getaway in beautiful coastal Goa like no other. During my stay at Casa Susegad, I was able to attain the perfect balance between relaxation, interaction with other guests and village neighbors, and short treks to nearby activities.
Location: 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.
Rooms: A colonial mansion was completely restored to create this charming, historic four-room heritage guest house. The restoration was a labor of love for Norman and Carole Steen, who retained elements such as teak ceiling beams and the 400-year-old mosaic tile floors which are amazing in their intricacy. The four guestrooms are spacious and well-appointed with antique Indian furniture, deep-sprung mattresses, and en-suite bathrooms. Named after semi-precious stones found in each room’s decorative floor borders, the rooms have color schemes that reflect the stone, including gorgeous hand-sewn patchwork quilts that cover the beds. Each room opens up to its own terrace area with a table where breakfast or tea may be taken. While guestrooms are comfortable and inviting, the whole house is at guests’ disposal. Cozy up in a cushioned corner seating area with a good book, lounge by the lovely pool, or stroll the beautifully landscaped grounds to the top of the ridge behind the house, from which a perfect sunset can be witnessed.
Food: The four-course dinners at Casa Susegad are not to be missed. Food is a fusion of Goan cuisine and imaginative continental dishes. Carole 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 large kitchen or over a traditional wood fire. You will never have the same dish twice; ask Carole about the Goan chicken or the incredible fish wrapped in a banana leaf. 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.
Vibe: 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.
Keep in Mind: The beach is a twenty minute drive away and no restaurants or nightlife are within walking distance. Also, the Steens have six dogs and several cats on their property, all rescued as part of their support for the Goa Animal Welfare Trust.
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