By Sinead McManus
The hospitality watchword these days is eco-sensitive, and rightly so. When a hotel cares about the environment, you know it’s going to give a little more thought to details. The Fern Gardenia Resort understands the beauty of the raw nature bountiful in Palolem, South Goa, and strives to maintain it while giving guests a complete luxury experience.Despite being tucked away in one of the most beautiful corners of the state it is pretty well connected and only a furlong away from the beach. With just two types of accommodation, The Fern makes it easy to choose from, both offering cottage-style living nestled in the midst of lush greenery.
Walk into the rustic Winter Green Cottage and you will find a plush bed perched in the centre of the air-conditioned accommodation. These cottages are laid out in a swastika pattern around a courtyard of gardenias that mimic the traditional ‘aangan’ of the Goan architecture of yore. The unmistakable fragrance of blossoming flowers fills the open space and transports you to another world altogether.
The Fern Club Cottage on the other hand is larger and has a few added amenities including balconies that overlook a very inviting swimming pool. Both are perfect for couples looking for a bit of privacy, young families who’d like to treat themselves to some time away, friends who want to catch up, and older folk looking for some quiet time in the lap of the nature.
For an extra dose of pampering visit the spa and wellness centre and get an ayurvedic massage. Nothing feels better than ending the perfect day at the swimming pool or beach with the unknotting of muscles at the experienced hands of one of the hotel’s trained masseuses.
Unlike many resorts, The Fern Gardenia doesn’t complicate things. There’s one restaurant, The Azolla, but it serves delicious multi-cuisine food round-the-clock to ensure you’re kept well-fed and happy throughout your stay. The staff are only too happy to help you with satisfying nibbles after a long swim or choices for a full plated meal when you’re feeling famished.
The Azolla offers an a la carte menu with a tantalising range of Goan, Indian and continental dishes, with some outstanding sandwiches and steaks. Authentic Goan recipes ensure guests have a taste of the real local experience. And for those looking for something a little different, simply ask the chef, who is constantly experimenting with new recipes to lend them a special twist.
The Fern Gardenia Resort has sought to fill in a long vacant gap in the market, being the only three-star hotel in Palolem. Before it set up, visitors to that gorgeous stretch of beach were left choosing between very basic thatched huts or guest houses and a lavish resort. The Fern provides a great balance between budget prices and luxury accommodation.