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Hotel Review: Mercure Goa Devaaya Retreat, Goa in India

Words by Bindu Gopal Rao

If city life and urban chaos have got to you and you are looking for a getaway that will help you detox under expert supervision, head to Mercure Goa Devaaya Retreat.

Simple vegetarian meals – Check. No alcohol and no non vegetarian food – Check. Yoga – Check. Wellness Treatments – Check. If you are seeking wellness a list like this may be immediately appealing. And even if you are not, it is time to get the focus back on your health.

Retreat Life

The colourful villas are built in an old Portuguese architectural style

Mercure Goa Devaaya Retreat is located in Divar Island a roughly one hour drive from Goa’s international airport and has a tag line that epitomizes its offerings quite succinctly – ‘The Island of Divine Healing’. The scenic ride from the airport will show you some special vignettes of the beach city – from its old Portuguese homes to its beautiful landscape largely dotted with mangroves and amazing avian life.

Being on an island, surrounded by the beautiful Mandovi River, you need to take a ferry to reach the place but it will disturb you in no way as the car drives right into the ferry to help you cross over to the other side. A short drive and I am at the gate of a rather pretty looking and quaint feeling Retreat.

Given a traditional welcome here the drink I am offered is a favourite – the tender coconut water. Once my check-in formalities are complete, a golf cart takes me to my room and it is the décor of the rooms here that is eye catching.

Balconied rooms have open views over the Mandovi River

Built in an old Portuguese architectural style, the villas are a riot of colour – blue, yellow, sea green, pink and more. Built in small blocks over two levels, the ground floor rooms also have stone benches painted in red – much like the old Goan homes.

My room is located on the first floor and has a large spacious balcony with seating attached in one end and a bathroom and other amenities on the other. The resort is equipped with Wi-Fi that is on from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. keeping with the ethos of the space. There are 57 rooms in three categories including Superior Rooms, Villas and a Presidential Suite. There are a couple of rooms for the specially-abled as well.

Wellness First

Spinal spray therapy is one of the many treatments available at the Retreat

Being a place that focuses on health and wellness, the retreat has ‘Veda’ the Ayurveda Centre where the doctors are available for consultation and help design a custom wellness program including a combination of Ayurveda and Naturopathy techniques. All treatments and diets are based on the body constitutions one could have – Vatha, Pitha, Kapha.

“At Mercure Devaaya, we use ancient knowledge to improve your body’s health by offering traditional Ayurvedic remedies and by creating a mind – body – spirit connection through yoga and meditation. It is all about physical, mental, spiritual and emotional wellbeing” says Varun Albuquerque, Director, Alcon Victor Group.

Ayurvedic treatments are said to help treat chronic ailments and lifestyle diseases

Based on ancient Vedic philosophy, Ayurvedic treatments are believed to help treat chronic ailments and lifestyle diseases including Joint Pains, Rheumatism, Diabetes, Spondylitis, Partial Paralysis, Arthritis, High Blood Pressure, Ulcers, Weight loss and Stress related disorders. Packages start from a minimum of seven nights that may be extended per doctor advice.

This includes cleansing and detoxification programs like Panchakarma, Pizhichil useful for Rheumatic problems like arthritis, paralysis, hemiplegia, nervous weaknesses and nervous disorders, Shirodhara for insomnia, loss of memory, headaches, mental tension and certain skin diseases and Kati Vasti for back pain and spinal disorders. The retreat also has specific programs for women’s healthcare, preventive healthcare, post chemotherapy treatments and geriatric healthcare.

The Naturopathy treatments here include exercise, massages, mud and hydro therapies helped to clear the body of toxin build-up. Some ailments treated by naturopathy include obesity, spondylitis, hypertension, abdominal disorders, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, anemia, migraine, sinusitis, chronic constipation, gout, ulcers and other related disorders.

Activities Mix

Yoga is practised on the banks of the river

A typical day here starts at 6:30 am where you can indulge in a variety of yogic kriyas (meaning cleansing) for your eyes, nose and throat. A guided yoga class follows at 7:00 on the banks of the river in an open pavilion where you do a variety of general yoga postures as you see a beautiful sunrise. There is an indoor yoga hall as well where yoga classes are conducted in the monsoon. A nutritious breakfast that is well balanced and tasty awaits you at Manos Diet Center between 8:00 and 10:00 am.

If you are here for a specific wellness program, your diet is usually tailor made and customised per the doctor’s recommendations. Cycles are available in house that can be used to tour the property. There is also a gym and swimming pool on site as well for you to focus on your health.

Food served is nutritious and delicious

There are two more diet centers (as the restaurants are referred to here) Amboi and Malar where lunch and dinner buffets are served. A delightful place to experience the river over fresh cut fruits and delightful smoothies is the Jetty Café located adjacent to the Mandovi where you can also spot fishermen with their boats.

There is a meditation hall as well where guided sessions are held every evening. If you wish to explore the surrounding vistas, take a Divar Village Trip, visit the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Panjim Church, Sahakari Spice Farm, Old Goa Churches, Dona Paula Beach, Panjim Market, Shri Mangesh Temple and the Miramar Beach that lie anywhere between 2 km and 25 km radius from the resort. So start your year on the right note – health is after all wealth.

Address: Divar Island 403403. Goa.
Phone: (+91)832 2280500

Photography credit: Mercure Goa Devaaya Retreat