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Cinema and Soul

Sinead McManus

Planet Hollywood Beach Resort in Utorda offers a taste of celebrity lifestyle, while The Pink Room Salon & Spa housed within ensures its guests leave feeling like one
Planet Hollywood Beach Resort in Utorda has brought the luxury of celebrity lifestyle to Goa in a manner one must see to truly soak in. I was in south Goa to experience just this – the elusive lifestyle of film stars, the world of movies and the magic of cinema, all rolled into one. Only the second one of its kind in the world after Las Vegas, and the first in Asia, Planet Hollywood Beach Resort is a movie maniac’s fantasy, melding world-class accommodation, live entertainment and distinctive dining.
First off, it is set on the Utorda beach, nestled among swathes of greenery and swaying palms. Its low-rise architecture blends seamlessly into the background, and scattered within with artful intention are dramatic sculptures and works of art. Spread across 12 acres of land, 115 rooms and suites are divided into eight blocks, each featuring a different Hollywood theme. During season time, there are 15 tents that offer a unique mélange of luxury and the rustic. The direct access to the beach means you experience your tropical island holiday whenever you want to.
I stayed over the weekend, taking in this ode to Western cinema at every turn. The twist in the tale came with The Pink Room, Planet Hollywood’s stellar salon and spa, where every guest is pampered beyond compare. There are five room categories, with mood lighting, high-speed wireless internet, individual climate control and even a leg massager! At 728 square feet, the executive suites and premier suites are palatial, and offer stunning views of the garden, swimming pool or Arabian Sea.
We met the resort’s general manager Anand Chatterjee, who took us around the property. We marvelled at the décor at The Pink Room and chatted with the staff, eager to find out which therapies we’d want. The Pink Room Spa and Salon integrates traditional Indian systems with contemporary western approaches. Treatments can be customised to individual needs, and include a range of rejuvenating therapies, body polishes, wraps and beauty treatments aimed at restoring vitality and natural harmony of the body, mind and spirit. Highlights on the menu are the La Pierre Therapy (a form of thermotherapy), the unique ayurvedic Shiraha Shanti or third eye treatment, and the Indian Ubatan body wrap.
I opted for the Skin Rejuve Therapy, while my travel companion Tracy chose the deep tissue massage. My aromatherapy combined extracts of neroli and French lavender to revitalise body, mind and soul. In the deep tissue massage, extracts of red thyme and rosemary release chronic muscle tension with slower strokes and more direct deep pressure or friction. It refreshes and relaxes the muscles, increases blood and oxygen flow around the body. We both ended with a facial clean-up that left our skin absolutely glowing.
That evening, we enjoyed a specialty dinner courtesy Chef Sundar Sudarsan. Each dish proved that Planet Hollywood Beach Resort takes its culinary art very seriously. We started off with a sushi platter consisting of a colourful California roll, a salmon roll and shoukumin – tuna with seven spice powder. Then came a mouth-watering seafood platter, laid out with crab cakes, lemon-infused grilled tiger prawns and sea bass. We ended the lovely dinner savouring the chef’s delicious ricotta cheesecake with vanilla and orange sabayon.
Adding a touch of Bollywood to the resort is its lobby, designed by Gauri Khan. Heart Bar is contemporary and classy, done in tones of brown, white and cream. A geometric montage of cinema stars in a mix of black and white and colour fills one wall of the bar, which offers a large selection of vodkas and other spirits.
Planet Dailies is the resort’s 24×7 café and buffet restaurant to satiate cravings for cuisines from all around the world. There’s also Fame, the specialty restaurant, with a unique array of grilled seafood, delectable cuts of meat and vegetables, along with Asian stir fries. Planet Hollywood provides its share of sophistication in the form of its Cigar Lounge, with an enviable collection of the world’s finest cigar brands and beverages.
The next morning, we treated ourselves to a light breakfast. Little did we know we were in for a musical surprise with Gil Mizrahi who did great justice to a Frank Sinatra piece we both love. What a soulful way to say goodbye to Planet Hollywood Beach Resort! It made certain my resolve to return.

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