Post by Victoria
Why you’ll love Casa Susegad
The term ‘susegad’, meaning laidback, is often used to describe Goa and its residents. It’s also the perfect moniker for this beautifully restored 17th century colonial house turned convivial B&B.
Located in the sleepy village of Loutolim, surrounded by jungle greenery, it’s an extremely homely and welcoming place to stay. The rooms are sunglasses bright colourful (a yellow sitting room, red dining room and Technicolored bedrooms) with plenty of original features, including beautiful floor tiles and antique wooden window frames too. There are only five bedrooms, which makes it a great option for families travelling together or when grandparents come along.
Casa Susegad has enjoyed rocketing success over the last few years (it’s one of India’s top-ranking B&Bs) and we can’t help but feel that the owners, Brits Carole and Norman, have played a huge part in this. This friendly couple are always cheerful, incredibly helpful and have dozens of entertaining stories to tell.
Why the kids will love Casa Susegad
Carole and Norman admit that they never set themselves up to be a child-friendly B&B but they have inadvertently attracted many families over the years, no doubt owing to their qualities as hosts and their extremely friendly staff who love children.
Then there’s the medley of kiddie-friendly cats and dogs that call Casa Susegad home (six dogs and seven cats). It’s not unusual to find a pooch accompanying you to your room or a kitten trying to crawl onto your lap. It goes without saying, that this is a place for animal lovers only.
The property coves 1.5 acres and includes a small, enclosed garden with a pool (with shallow steps for novice swimmers). The remainder of the grounds are wild (Mowgli would feel at home!) covered with thick vegetation that’s great for exploring and a favourite hangout for langur monkeys. At the rear of the house is a hillock criss-crossed by winding paths and water features; great for big kids to discover but younger children will need close supervision.
The single-storey home houses five bedrooms, all pool facing. Three of the rooms are named after semi-precious stones (you’ll find samples of the stones in the decorative floor borders) and are colour-themed accordingly.
The rooms are furnished with wooden Rajasthani furniture, vibrant silk throws cover the beds and fresh flowers picked from the garden are placed in each room at the time of the guests’ stay. There are tea/coffee making facilities and fridges in every bedroom as well as spotless, light-filled bathrooms. Each room also has a small seating area outside. It’s worth noting that the property is small and noise does carry! There are no TVs in the bedrooms.
The Rose Room Painted in pink hues this pretty room has a double bed and has room for a baby cot as well. The Rose Room has A/C.
The Carnelian Room This cheery orange coloured room has one double bed and room for one extra bed. The Carnelian Room has A/C.
The Turquoise Room Turquoise is believed to instil inner calm so a stay in this blue-themed room is guaranteed to restore and revitalise! There is one double bed and room for a baby cot as well. The Turquoise Room has A/C.
The Sunshine Room Named for its ‘warm, calm and romantic atmosphere’, this is one of the largest rooms at Casa Susegad and can accommodate two extra beds (three at a squeeze). The room does not have A/C but is ‘nature cooled’ instead.
The Host’s Suite This is the personal room of Carole and Norman and available by negotiation if renting the entire house. The room does not have A/C and instead enjoys a breeze through the open rafters. The Host’s Suite can take two extra beds (three at a pinch).
Best Rooms For Families: The Sunshine Room is most popular with families given that it is the largest and can fit two extra beds (three at a pinch). If this isn’t available, Carole and Norman will consider giving up their room, the Host’s Suite, which can also take two- to three- extra beds.
The Carnelian Room can accommodate one extra bed. The Turquoise and Rose rooms have space for a cot but not much else. The rooms are very close to one another and adjacent rooms can be arranged.
Carole and Norman are very accommodating and will do their best to meet your needs. Most monitors should stretch to the bedrooms from the dining room.
The food here is very good and often a highlight for guests. Carole and Norman are keen to highlight what Goan cuisine has to offer and are very particular about the quality and presentation of food. You can expect fresh, locally sourced produce and multi-cuisine dishes including delicious Goan specialities cooked using traditional methods.
Be aware that meals often come with commentary; when we visited Norman insisted we tried a ‘bimbli’ swearing that “a Goan prawn curry without bimbli is like a kiss without a cuddle”. Menus are fixed and you should inform Casa Susegad of any dietary requirements or special requests in advance.
Breakfast is served at the tables outside your room. Expect freshly squeezed orange juice, bread from the nearby award-winning Jila Bakery with jam and homemade peanut butter, eggs to order, fresh fruit, filtered coffee and tea.
Lunch is generally fairly simple; a soup, salad or sandwich which you can enjoy either in your room, in the dining room or by the pool. Lunch requests are taken after breakfast.
Dinner is usually served around the large square table in the red dining room and all guests eat together. The food is generally Goan but international dishes are also offered. Popular dishes include pork vindaloo and a melt-in-your-mouth mango crumble complete with homemade vanilla custard. Some deserts come courtesy of Jila Bakery including, what must be one of the best fruitcakes we’ve ever eaten
For Kids: There is no dedicated kids’ menu but there are child-friendly dishes on offer. Simply discuss any requirements you might have with Carole and Norman and they will be happy to accommodate your child’s needs. It’s worth remembering that this is a small B&B with limited stock so requests should be made in advance. There are no highchairs but there are some sturdy bar stools, which work for little kids but not babies.
The property is small and so a baby monitor should work from all rooms or you can choose to dine outside your room if you need to be in earshot of sleeping infants.
Enjoy a stress-relieving massage to the sounds of birdsong in the jopri (hut) at the top of the hillock with the resident masseuse. Or, make an appointment for a treatment at the nearby Ayurvedic centre.
Rework pieces of jewellery with Carole’s jeweller…or treat yourself to some new pieces!
Take a short walk to the village of Loutolim and visit Big Foot, an open-air museum and parkland that celebrate the culture and history of Goa from around 200 years ago.
Take a trip to the coast for a day at the beach, there’s a handful to choose from all within 30 minutes drive.
Dads can experience a wet shave and head massage at one of the village barbers.
Make like Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn in The African Queen and enjoy a leisurely, one-hour boat cruise down the River Sal.
Head into Old Goa and visit the Catholic churches there as well as the tomb of St Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa. Once you’ve finished with intellectual pursuits, make a dash to Carole’s favourite shopping haunts.
Practice your downward dog with a morning yoga session on the dedicated yoga platform set half-way up in the leafy hillock.
Take a short walk to the village mill and learn how grain is milled or the traditional way to press coconut flesh to make oil.
Take a tour around a nearby spice plantation and learn about the different spices and their medicinal values. You can also learn how to climb the tall bettle-nut palms and the art of swinging from them! The plantation is also home to a docile elephant that you can wash or ride.
Lend a voluntary hand to GAWT (Goa Animal Welfare Trust – one of the NGO’s that Casa Susegad supports) and help feed abandoned puppies (usually Sunday mornings).
Ask one of the staff members to take you fishing or feed the fish in the various garden ponds instead.
Grab one of the maps detailing local walks and head off to explore the area or borrow one of the hotel bikes and pedal your way around instead.
Splash about in the pool or take a trip to some of Goa’s prettiest beaches, just a 30-minute drive south of the property.
Take some time out in the games room where you can play board games or watch DVDs. There’s also a snooker table that children aged 12 and over can play (kids 12-16 years-old must be accompanied by an adult).
A/C in some rooms, babysitting available for an additional charge, common rooms, 1 x baby cot, flexible extra bed rule, laundry, pushchair-friendly, massages available, swimming pool, travel desk, WiFi.
When to go:
The best time to visit is from November to March when the daytime temperatures hover between 25-30C. Peak season is from mid-December to the end of January; if you plan to visit over this period then make sure to book well in advance and be prepared to pay extra. From April the mercury rises and by May the daytime temperatures are nudging 35C. The monsoons arrive early June when things get hot and sticky, but this is also when Goa becomes lush and green.
Location & Travel:
Casa Susegad is located in the village of Loutolim, South Goa, Goa, India. There are regular daily flights in and out of Goa to numerous Indian cities with a number of domestic airlines including GoAir, Jet Airways and Spicejet. Casa Susegad is 25 km (30-40 min) from Dabolim (Goa) Airport and the hotel can arrange transfers for an additional cost. Please enquire when booking. The main train station in Goa is Madgaon station in Margao and Casa Susegad is 10 km (15 min) from here. Goa is linked to Mumbai in the north and Mangalore in the south via the Konkan Railway. The hotel can arrange transfers for an additional charge.
1) Ask Carole and Norman to share their ‘goose bump’ tale with you! The one about the painting in the hall…
2) With advanced notice, you can rework pieces of old jewellery with Carole’s tailor or use her recommended tailor to copy your favourite shirt.
3) Bring your binoculars and a copy of Salim Ali’s The Book of Indian Birds to help you identify the multi-coloured birdlife