Where Bali Lives Next to Baga

Not your average Goan getaway, Baale offers unparalleled luxury with its private pool villas, lush environs, and on-the-button service in Arpora.

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The common swimming pool adjacent to the restaurant and bar has in-built body massager stations and jacuzzi. Photo courtesy: Baale Resort Goa

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Most of my Goan holidays follow a certain pattern. I begin with washing down plates of butter garlic calamari with beer on a beach shack while curling my toes in the sand. Then, there’s a trip to the night market to pick up trinkets and flowy kaftans one only ends up wearing in Goausually capped with spending the night downing cocktails at whichever bar is the toast of the season. 

But something told me this wasn’t going to be my standard Goan getaway. Baale was on the books this time around, an uber-luxury villa resort in Arpora that breaks away from the typical slice of surfside life served up on India’s most popular shores. This Bali-inspired resort comprises seven spacious villas, each with its own swimming pool and a private butler. Before I was chauffeured into the lushly-landscaped environs of Baale, I did have an inner dialogue about why anyone would want to be transported to Bali when in Goa. Is Goa not tropical enough? But the conclusion I came to at the end of my stay allayed any misgivings. Baale is a great blendoffering Bali’s famed hospitality and service under the gorgeous Goan sun in a laid-back setting that brings together the best of both worlds. 

 

 

Where Bali Lives Next To Baga

The luxuriant dining area in one of the villas. Photo courtesy: Baale Resort Goa

 

A 10-minute drive from the crowded Baga Beach, Baale is an oasis of calm. Right from the giant elephant ear palms lining the pathways from the wooden lattice gate, Baale sticks to its theme of tropical paradise. Spread across three acres, there are six four-bedroom villas and one three-bedroom villa, each spanning over 5,000 square feet. Built in a contemporary Indo-Portuguese style, accentuated with Balinese elements by famed Indonesian architect Popo Danes, the villas are luxurious without being ostentatious. As we are ushered into our villa by our solicitous butler, Larry, I can’t help but notice the rich teakwood interiors complemented by the earthy upholstery. Tall ceramic and stone planters, clearly imported from Bali, adorn every corner. Of course, the piece de résistance is the 40-foot swimming pool running along one side of the villa. Playful frog and tortoise stone statuettes—another Balinese import—line the pool, so charming that simply gazing into the blue waters is a welcome respite from the humidity. 

Spread across two levels, the ground floor of the villa consists of the living room, dining and kitchen area, as well as one bedroom. On top, are three more bedrooms, all of them opening out to a common passageway overlooking the pool. As I sink into the plush sofa in the living room, nursing a tall glass of virgin cucumber mojito and munching on the chocolate almond clusters and makhana thoughtfully placed on the coffee table, I know I am not  going to step out of my villa anytime soon. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors on one side of the living room overlook the pool, while the other side opens out to an ironwood patio complete with lawn chairs, tables, and a few deck chairs. Beyond this, lay green paddy fields also part of the Baale property, giving the villas a simultaneous sense of openness and privacy. And despite sharing a wall with the villa next door, strategically grown palms and foliage-lined walls do a great job of disguising the fact. Given that most people come with families and friends, kids and nanny in tow, there’s also an additional room downstairs to accommodate staff.   

 

Where Bali Lives Next To Baga

The bathrooms and corridors have been lined with imported Spanish limestone. Photo courtesy: Baale Resort Goa

  

Perhaps, the standout feature of Baale is the quality of service. Larry, for instance, is a quick call or message away from appearing like a genie in a bottle ready to grant our wishes! Whether it’s hot water in a flask, a customised plate of food, or a morning cuppa, he’s there in a flash to accommodate us. Luxury pool villa aside, this kind of personalised service could very well be Baale’s calling card. 

On our first night, we ended up dining in the villa as another group had booked out both The Mandala Restaurant and The Gong Bar for a special event. This wasn’t in the least disappointing. Under the diffused glow of elegant, shell-shaped, compressed bamboo ceiling lights, I dined on delicately steamed dim sum, Thai salad, and a light coconut broth as Larry set up a Bluetooth speaker with music. The in-room dining menu is extensive enough with choices of Indian, pan-Asian, pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, and more. For those who would like to entertain in-house, there is the option of having Baale’s chefs cook for you in the villa kitchen or organise a barbeque by the pool deck. Otherwise, Baale’s Executive Chef Shivangi Panwar, who has worked with the Oberoi group and wellness retreats like Vana in Dehradun and Atmantan Wellness Centre in Pune, is more than capable of customising food to the guests’ liking. On our last night, for instance, Chef put together a thali with flawlessly-cooked dal makhani, butter chicken, creamy malai kofta, and parathas. Lunch was simpler with a wholesome bowl of quinoa, avocados, grilled veggies, and chicken—a nod to her handle on a melange of cuisines along with the varied demands of diners’ personal preferences.

Where Bali Lives Next To Baga

The floating breakfast service is available on demand. Photo courtesy: Baale Resort Goa

A walk around the well-tended property revealed a floodlit tennis court and a large swimming pool adjacent to the restaurant and bar. The pool, lined with Balinese aquamarine limestone, comes equipped with a jacuzzi and body massagers. A private membership-based club, currently under construction, will top off the space. Upon completion, members will have access to a spa, gym, squash court, billiards room, meeting room, indoor games pavilion, and Baale’s F&B outlets. It appears owner and real estate developer Ashwin Chandiok intends for Baale to be a one-stop destination for its patrons. Chandiok, who has taken a personal interest in developing the property—including the custom oil paintings in every villa by Chandiok’s mother (Rita Chandiok)—made several trips to Bali to help curate the interiors and pick out architectural material. 

Having opened its doors to the public in June 2021, Baale continues to be a well-kept secret, one that delivers on its promise of unrivalled luxury and service. It may not be the typical touristic experience in Goa  many are familiar with, but for those who would like to escape the madding crowds and revel in intimate splendour, there’s no better place to be. 

 

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Essentials 

Situated approximately 35 kilometres from Goa’s  Dabolim Airport, airport pickup and drop-off is included for all guests. The villas start from INR 1,15,000 per night. Minimum booking of two nights is mandatory. Each villa can accommodate a maximum of ten guests.  

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  • Shivani Kagti is a Bengaluru-based freelance writer who has previously worked with publications such as Midday, People magazine and Bangalore Mirror. Having grown up with a view of the Himalayan foothills from her farmhouse in upper Assam, she's always on the lookout for wilder horizons.

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