A trip into the verdant coastal Konkan plains leads me to Coco Shambhala Sindhudurg, a tranquil hideaway where luxury meets nature in
By SHAHNAAZ BAKSHI
AT TIMES, A HOLIDAY ESCAPE MEANS just that. Getting away from all the chaos of urban life, towards a secluded haven of serenity and relaxation in the heart of nature. And that is precisely what awaits at the Coco Shambhala Sindhudurg, an award-winning, luxury resort nestled along the picturesque coastline of southern Maharashtra.
As I landed at North Goa’s MOPA airport and got into my waiting cab, thoughtfully arranged by the property, little did I know I was headed for a truly unique experiential getaway. I began to get an inkling of it as we drove along the winding coastal road, past mangrove forests and the Arabian Sea—I felt myself relaxing instantly.
After an easy 90-minute journey, we reached our destination in the idyllic village of Bhogwe, part of the green Konkan region. Natural like its environs, the property sits like a hidden gem amidst dense foliage, exuding an air of secluded exclusivity.
I was greeted warmly by a hospitable staff, and offered refreshing coconut water as we made our way to my villa. Making my way up the stone steps, lined by leafy plants, I was immediately drawn to the resort’s architecture. A harmonious blend of traditional Konkani aesthetics and modern design, it’s home to four private opulent villas, set across different levels. Constructed using locally sourced materials, with sloping roofs, and wooden accents, the property blends seamlessly with the landscape. It’s evident that the entire resort has been designed with a deep respect for the natural surroundings.
A small wooden bridge leads to the no-door entrance to the living room of my accommodation, Villa Amaresha. I’m told it’s a ‘celebration of the sky’. I’m not really listening. It’s hard to hear when you’re awestruck by an almost uninterrupted vision of the sea on the other side of the expansive space. I step out into the open and stand at the edge of a stunning infinity pool, framed by kokum trees. The view is spectacular.
Inside, the open layout of the living area merges the indoor and outdoor spaces, allowing the gentle sea breeze to flow freely. Each villa is home to two bedrooms, with en-suite bathrooms. A rope slung across the entrance informs the staff of your desire for privacy.
It’s evening by now and hunger pangs are calling. Notably, the resort doesn’t have a restaurant, preferring to create meals as per their guests’ specific tastes. The very affable F&B Manager, Suhas Malewadkar, had been in touch with me prior to my travel to design a menu for me. And so, I enjoy delicious dishes, prepared by the chef, with Konkani flavours, imaginatively paired with other cuisines. Fresh seafood and vegetables were the stars of every meal. Fried fish, a spicy mutton sukha (dry), and a dreamy Malwani chilli chocolate ganache are just some of the mouth-watering creations I savoured here!
Despite its remote setting, the resort offers a surprising number of activities. Encouraged by the enthusiastic Suhas, I decide on a trek to the historic Nivati Fort. A friendly guide led us through a twisting trail up a forested hill dotted with mango, kokum, and cashew trees. It was an exhilarating trek, no doubt, but the panoramic view of the Arabian Sea at the top was well worth it!
Another magical outing here was a boat ride through the calm backwaters of the Karli River, with brief sightings of kingfishers and peacocks amidst the bordering coconut trees. And as nature is addictive, I opted to trek to a gorgeous waterfall in the nearby jungle. As I watched the cascades plunge from a rocky cliff into a pristine pool, I could only marvel at the beauty before me.
Those seeking more laid-back activities can opt for indoor pastimes that include an interactive cooking class, a painting session and puppet show, and even a fun pottery class—it’s tougher than it looks, as I discovered!
Whether you choose to relax in your villa or step out, you’ll always feel enveloped by a general sense of wellbeing. Especially so at the in-house spa, where skilled therapists use natural ingredients and Ayurvedic treatments to provide a deeply relaxing experience. The soft sea breeze adds an extra layer of bliss to these rejuvenating moments.
And every moment is made further special by an absolutely exceptional staff that seems to anticipate your every need. Somehow, they manage to strike a perfect balance between attentiveness and letting one relish one’s privacy.
At the end of my stay, I realised something. Coco Shambhala Sindhudurg is a reminder that true luxury lies in the simplicity of life and the embrace of nature’s wonders. This was more than just a place to stay; it was an experience of true escapism