Goa needs to be marketed as an ‘urban village’, says Edgar Afonso
Why be average when you can be the best? Edgar Afonso has asked this question in the case of tourism as he embarks on the journey to bring in quality tourists and offer a luxury experience
23rd July 2018, 02:53 Hrs
Considerable spending power and search for exclusivity with comfort and first-class facilities are the major factors that promote the demand for luxury travel by absolute luxury travellers. “We need an affluent class of tourists for Goa and it’s high time. Boutique hotels offer class of service for a particular segment of guests who yearn for serenity and tranquillity. If there is this niche market why not tap it? Why be average? Let us at least try to reverse the trend,” says Edgar Afonso, managing director of the newly opened luxurious Andores Resort and Spa in Calangute. All set to welcome world tourists who look for exclusive architecture in the natural ambience in Goa, this 25-room boutique hotel uniquely showcases and assimilates a cultural symphony of architecture, design, landscape, wellness
“This holiday home in Bardez is a new construction, but has the distinct patina of a traditional Goan villa. The central courtyard has an L-shaped pool and a statue of Nandi. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
“Our endeavour is to give our guests a unique experience of space, comfort, great food and a sense of holistic well-being and calmness,” briefs Edgar who is profiled extensively in architecture and design magazines in India for his passion for luxury houses
Edgar points out that today, Goa attracts volume and not high spending tourists. He feels, “Goa needs to be marketed as an ‘urban village’ and not as a commercial ‘happening hub’. At Andores we offer you that ‘openness’ of a village and the old Goan charm set in landscape gardens and coconut groves. We have gone the extra mile to make the whole setting calm and peaceful. Apart from spacious rooms, well spread gardens, a large pool, two speciality restaurants, spa, lounge, a cigar bar, library all encased in the traditional Goan-Portuguese architecture and interiors and being just a short walk from the beach.”
Speaking to The Goan about his taste for nostalgia, a keen eye for the classic, and an acute attention to detail, Edgar admits of having brought together a fusion of old sophistication and traditional Goan-Portuguese architecture, set in a natural co-existence with new-world contemporary elements in this boutique hotel.
Elaborating how Andores would be different that other boutique hotels in Goa, Edgar states, “There are many villas which have been converted into guest houses or boutique stays. However there would only be a handful of Boutique hotels as architecture, interior design, amenities and personalised service are ‘must have’ essentials. Andores, in this context, is unique as it has 25 rooms that face the large pool, two acres of verdant landscape gardens, a full-fledged spa, a lounge, a cigar bar, a library and two gourmet outlets - ‘Diva’ serving Italian food and run by celebrity chef Ritu Dalmia and the other ‘Cinnamon’ that serves authentic Goan and Indian food.”
Andores has two additional outdoor venues for lavish private gatherings or destination weddings. Shoppers would be glad to visit their eclectic pop up store with handpicked arts and crafts, which is a good space for quiet conversations, or, get reading the books they have on art, travel, heritage and design at the library. The spa housed in a typical Saraswat Goan home setting, includes Yoga sessions conducted by local experts, and a state-of-the-art in-house gym. It’s an independent boutique hotel with personality. Edgar who has another hotel ‘Sonesta Inns’, a beachside resort at Candolim, discloses, “I am working presently on a beach side property in south Goa and if all goes well on the west coast of Sri Lanka.”
Speaking on the policies of the central and state government and whether they are in compliance with the foreign tourist rules and regulations or if they are tourist friendly, Edgar opines, “Offering of e-visas to citizens of various countries by the Indian government is a step in the right direction. Tourism rules differ from country to country but the dos and don’ts of drugs, road safety and social issues need proper clarifications and in a sense need fine tuning.”
Goa is a highly popular destination on the world tourist map. But is Goa ready to accept and welcome the flow of tourists, both, domestic and foreign? Edgar observes, “Goa needs to put in place a policy and the required infrastructure to attract quality tourism. The native Goan should be the front face of tourism. People’s participation on cleanliness and waste management is a must and this must be made aware in all platforms like schools, colleges, offices etc.”
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