Lifestyle & Living

The art of luxe

The only place where Alt+Control =Disconnect really works, is the winding hills of the Konkan West Coast overlooking the curve of the Arabian Sea into infinity. You must be, surely, at Coco Shambhala, Sindhudurg.

Holidays mean different things to different people. It was pouring rain, and I almost cancelled. Who ever thought of a work break with the monsoon lashing relentlessly and a 100 odd kilometer drive beyond cosy comforts of home into unknown territory. But I’m one always to disrupt the status-quo, or risk a challenge, so it was a monsoon drenched drive. Beyond highways and fallen trees, roads leading to tiny villages, GPS on blink and the local radio barely struggling to catch up, we drove deeper into the mountainsides of Sindhudurg.  No sleep lulls you as the rushing, refreshing greens –Nature’s mood board — reminds you just how kind and generous Mother Nature really is to us.

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Then a mind popping vista of a cliff-hanger opens the horizon…the sky and sea meeting as far as the eye can see. The door to Coco Shambhala, Sindhurg (from the owners of Coco Shambhala,Goa) is really what it is: You want to know what lies beyond. And you do almost immediately. A flight of stairs cut into the hill and four gorgeous villas standing tall on stilettos, each paying ode to the grand captivating sea that rolls beyond as a canvas. Spread  across 3200 sq meters within a gated property, well appointed, spacious, two bedroom villas with living areas, each with its own infinity pool all designed to overlook the sea. You have to detach from the outside and within, to be able to let Nature work her way with you. And she does with me, every time I find myself in her grace.

Scouring the Konkan coast for the past decade looking for land for his next venture,  Director, Giles Knapton says the connect was almost spiritual. “The view just took my breath away.” Then began the arduous task of building, Knapton being the architect and designer, as each villa took a life of its own rising high above the ground to enable a head shot view of the ocean.

Once the vistas have their hold over you, its Chef Dilip’s turn to attempt a culinary seduction with a personalised, curated Malvani lunch. All produce sourced from nearby markets, including staff hired and trained from the local village. A sumptuous lunch of Mutton Sukha, Malvani Fish Curry, local rice, bhakri and kheer for dessert; and a mix of Mediterranean and Thai with a Pomegranate and Feta Salad, Basil Lemon Prawns, Pad Thai Vegetable noodle, Fish in Herbs and a Chocolate Chilly Ganache for dinner.

As the rain pelted and the wind howled, the moon dancing between the clouds, the sea a blackness of void, the only light bouncing off the tossing waters of the infinity pool were perhaps our starry eyes transfixed with this raw play of nature. Yes, a bottle of wine to go along with the sensory surrender.

 FACT FILE

Spa Pavilion:Packages and treatments created in partnership with beauty brand, Forest Essentials,  I indulged with a head massage – the scented aroma of Narayana Niligiri infused oil relaxing nerves instantly. Spa head Harish Parab soothingly advising why health is wealth. I agree.  The spa also hosts a range of organic bath soaps, face scrubs, tea products by SOS Organics sourced from Uttarakhand.

Local Activities: Snorkeling, exploring coral reefs, dolphin sighting, boat rides with picnic brunches, trekking into the hills available on requests.

Distance from Dabolim airport: 122 km

Inquiries: reservations@cocoshambhala.com

Website: www.cocoshambhala.com

Food Photography by Lira Rodrigues

Ethel da Costa

Fashion & Lifestyle Journalist, Founder-CEO, Think Geek Media

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