From the moment I got off my Audi A5 , the fleet that the W possesses, amidst the glamorous, oversized, mirrored ‘ W’ there was a sense of joie de vivre. To be met in style makes all the difference to any luxury experience. There was standing to greet me, my friend and chef par excellence, also the Executive Chef or as they say – Director Cuisine for the property, Tanveer Kwatra, Executive assistant manager Prateek Virendra Swarup, Pr person most fabulous Arjun Verma, his team and many of the staff members exuding stylish warmth with their very pleasant persona and a chilled Moet Chandon in a Schott Zweisel .
Walking on the mixture of the cobbled pathway – Goan Laterite stone floor I was embraced by the gentle scent of the sea that flows through the entire hotel. I was happy to see no overwhelming lobby, just an unobtrusive desk with the smiling Prateek Virendra Swarup, Executive assistant manager – B&F and Sohrab Parakh, assistant Pr, around it. Sohrab would also be my friendly guide during my stay, and explain to me the finer details.
I was whisked up almost immediately in the red golf cart so i could freshen up before my lunch with the General Manager, TJ Joulak.
The lobby is filled with art and sculpture by local artisans, like Subodh Kerkar’s ‘Many phases of the moon’. It works both ways, for the local artisans it serves as a chic gallery and for the hotel, the art pieces grace their walls, to support, encourage and reduce carbon footprint, their support to the local art and artisans brings a newness to the place.
Located on the foothills of the Chapora fort, it opened in November 2016, and exudes the Marriot Resorts sensibility – 109 rooms and Villas and Suites. Run by the dynamic dew. GM- TJ Joulak and overseen by Anuraag Bhatnagar, Multi – Property Vice President, Luxury, INDIA .
The W is a part of the Marriot Starwood merger.
The W sits right in the North of Goa. The breath taking view of both the historic Chapora Fort and the sea from my villa, is enhanced by the floor to ceiling glass windows which are not covered with heavy drapes, instead have elegant mechanized curtains and a personal sit out garden, where I did yoga with their instructor each morning.
Greeted with a Cinnamon Elixir with Perrier, they had all the small details of my preferences. And I have no idea how Tanveer Kwatra the super efficient and charming, Director Cuisine knew I loved smoked salmon or fresh watermelon and feta with my chilled glass of goodness.
The king size beds at the W have bespoke coir mattress and a thickness of 15 inches and a thread count of 300 for their sheets.
Any luxury hotel would generally have a mattress with over 900 coils, and a depth of over 11 inches. The thread count of the sheets should be between 200-300 in pure cotton. These norms signify the epitome of luxury and the closest to using these would be the likes of the Ritz Carlton, 111/4th inch thick mattresses, 300 thread count of pure cotton frette linen etc.
What I do want to mention are the little things that have made me fall in love with the W. Many are difficult to explain verbally, like the very much in tune with the ambience, toiletries by Bliss amenities, instead of Molten Brown ones usually found in hotels, not that there’s anything wrong with those, just that Bliss smells and seels far more superior.
Also Egyptian Cotton sheets feel very sensuous against the skin. But these details can be best described as creating that sense of yin that enhances both the productivity and serenity and the yang in the brightness, passion, growth and positivity in the air – tough combination but the W excels at this. Even their logo represents its dynamic present and exciting future, add in the growing sense of modernity that this hotel embodies and you are pretty close to perfection.
The location and the size of the hotel are real advantages. Location – quiet yet central, 109 rooms, the not so large number leaves you feeling more Chateau Retreat than a hotel. Of these, some have a direct view of the historic Chapora Fort, and each of the rooms has a private balcony and most villas a personal plunge pool.
I go up the walkway towards the grand Rockpool Bar with an out of the ordinary pool carved from a rock installation overlooking the sea .
The beautiful cabanas, the other fun elements strewn around and of course the delightful cocktails while feasting your eyes on the sun set. I had a Chilli Martini, the colors and flavors both in tandem with the setting sun.
My lunch had been set with TJ Joulak, the GM of the hotel. The bottle of Prunotto, a Barolo 2009 was a good choice, very well suggested by Sharath Gowda, who looks after the bar. Every moment was memorable thanks to Ashwin Badrinathan, the very fine gentleman who looks after the restaurant – The Kitchen Table and knows the preferences of each of his regular guests. The highlight of the lunch was the Goan Thali with Chicken lemon chili coriander, Prawn Balchao and Chicken Biryani made by the talented and gentle Chef Rajdeep Simran Singh.
Dinner at Spice Traders, as mentioned was crafted by Tanveer Kwatra, including the choice of pairings, flavors et al. Luxuriously elegant, the only thing missing was possibly Live Jazz, playing as an accompaniment to enhance the experience. Created to perfection by Chef Dawa Lama a shy soft spoken man, formerly from the chic Shangri-la Bangalore, the presentation of each dish looked like a work of art and complimented the flavors taking it many notches up. Tanveer kept presenting one treat after another starting with a Salad sampler including Spinach Gomae /Prawn glass noodle salad / Larb ga/ Pomelo salad , paired with a vodka shot with a lemon grass stick. What a refreshing start. Next came the Baked Singapore chili crab with Dry Sack, Fino Sherry from Spain. This sherry will make me go back again and again. This pairing was spectacular. Tanveer’s gems kept rolling with Fantastic Shrooms, Hanoi Hannah, Basil chili prawn, Chongqing chicken, Duck Chahan.
Good company is imperative to take any experience to another level and the guys regaled me with their many wonderful adventures and stories, while making sure the evening got more and more spectacular by sipping on a 2012, Yalumba Shiraz that was served with the Truffle tuna pizza. Unlike usual palate cleansers that are flavored sorbets, Tanveer served iced Champagne – leaving me with a happy, fresh palate to go on to the next course. The Black and White Tempura Prawns was a very superior choice. Its simplicity and boldness gave it a chic element making it gorgeous looking eating option. This was accompanied by a 2007, Louis Jadot, Pommard Burgundy.
I have to mention here, the great pairings with spirits of different genres complemented the meal and not only brought out the flavors, but created that sense of mystery making it seem like ‘Ode To Joy’ , a composition by Beethoven, where the suddenness of the next note keeps you very intrigued and engaged, uplifting you . Dessert was homemade Orange cheese cake .
After dinner, i wandered around the property and enjoyed taking in the soothing variety of sounds of the sea and other visual delights that are available for guests to sit at and enjoy a digestif if so desired.
The Spa by Clarins is possibly one of the rare Spa’s in India that has 14,000sqft of relaxation dedicated completely to beauty, inspired by the great baths of Pompeii, the spa includes an Oxygen room, a heated vitality pool amongst other very exceptional treatments to get that authentic experience. A definite recommendation is their ‘Melting Honey Deep Touch Massage’. The beauty products used for their renowned facials are very superior. The Spa By Clarins at the W is the first Clarins spa in all of India.
The fitness center is a very modern FIT gym with ample space to work out and an offering of personal trainers. Due to my short visit, I was unable to experience the gym, but the equipment looked first rate in a very well equipped gym. Around the gym is the Wet Pool deck, with pool towels with 440 gsm thread count. Wow!!
The brand also has an iconic Whatever/Whenener service, that delivers to the guest whatever they want, whenever, facilitated by a W insider.
He is the luxury czar of Hotel Luxury. With years of successful experience behind him, he is currently the Multi-Property Vice President, Luxury, INDIA | General Manager, The ST. REGIS MUMBAI
The RITZ-CARLTON Hotel Company I The ST. REGIS HOTELS & RESORTS I W HOTELS WORLDWIDE
There’s never a dull moment when TJ Joulak is around. A master of pre openings, and is the proud owner of one of the finest sense of humors’.
TJ is the General Manager for W Goa, India’s first W hotel. Situated on Vagator Beach in the northern part of Goa, W Goa draws inspiration from Goa’s rich history as a Mecca for the alternative, cultivating prominent sub-cultures. He is now sharing his passion with his team to bring alive the whatever/whenever philosophy and deliver unconventional experiences to guests as W hotel mark its debut in India and its 50th worldwide.
A master of his craft, innovation is Tanveer Kwatra’s middle name. Never one to rest, he’s constantly buzzing with ideas and more ideas.
He had wished for The W, back in 2010 and lo behold! The universe conspired and has made him Director of Cuisine , W Goa.
A native of Agra, Chef Tanveer is a product of William Angliss TAFE, affiliated to Victoria University, Melbourne. His journey has been a complete adventure, with an accomplished culinary background that began with the Starwood group as Chef de Cuisine at the Starwood Hotel Complex in Fiji. He then joined Pullman Gurgaon as the Executive Sous chef and worked his way to becoming the youngest Executive Chef at Le meridian Gurgaon. Tanveer brings with him deft artistry, innovative flavours and a zest for creating the exceptional!
“Real luxury is the pleasure of a real life, lived to the full and full of imperfections!” – A Five Star Life