The newest hotel from the jüSTa stable exemplifies the adage that good things come in small packages! The 18-room resort by the beach blends the serene and the sumptuous in a stay that will make your Goa holiday truly memorable.
When was the last time you walked into a hotel suite and found flowers strewn prettily? No, no, not the rose petals and towel swans on the bed. Instead, marigold and rose petals at the foot of the bed, on the dressing table, on the sink top, and in the large, unusual bathtub — more petals carelessly arranged to amp the aesthetics. Add to the flowers, the burnished orange and sapphire blue of the walls, the canary yellow of the curtains and the exquisite stained-glass lamps on the bedside tables.
There is no television but mirrors everywhere. Square, rectangular, circular mirrors framed on the partition between sleep and sitting area, wardrobes and on the walls. There are wooden settees at the entrance and a bedroom door opens into a tiny backyard on which the boughs of the mango tree lean lazily. And when you padlock the suite, walk through the lobby, the ocean waits with its salty fragrance barely 100 metres away.
jüSTa (that’s how it is spelt, an upper/lower case medley with an umlaut on ‘u’) Morjim Resort is the latest and the smallest hotel from the jüSTa stable that has 16 hotels across India. The 18-room Goa hotel that is located in a narrow lane by the Morjim beach line is designed as an old-fashioned courtyard with rooms around it. Here, however, the heart of the setting is a large swimming pool (perhaps the largest in Morjim’s commercial landscape) hemmed by tall areca palms and lilies in the flower beds.
Golden bamboo clusters are interspersed with wooden light poles hung with terracotta lampshades. A wooden elephant sits by the pool and a pathway leads to the parking area at the back of the property, where a villa will soon be added to the hotel’s luxury quotient.
Suggested read: Luxury resorts in Goa with the most magical pools ever!
The 18 rooms are divided into four categories — Suite, Premier, Deluxe and Superior. Each room has a different colour scheme but the distressed texture of the walls and antique furniture, again with distressed finishing, bestow a continued harmony. None of the rooms have modern glazed tiles; the sandstone flooring complements the antique/distressed design tropes. A few rooms have four-poster beds and a garden view. In one corner of the hotel sits a stone Buddha with marble urlis by his feet.
A flight of sandstone stairs leads to The Wire Room, the hotel’s sole restaurant and bar. Off-white chairs with elementary round wooden tables are neatly arranged in the seating area that fits 80 and has space to further accommodate 220 more inside. The bar has rattan chairs and sofas with white cushions and music is piped throughout the day. Designed like a shed with tall iron pillars holding up the wood-panelled ceiling with rope lamps, The Wire Room has deliberately gone windowless to let the gentle breeze garnish the dining experience.
Chef Saroj Kumar Behera is still firing up the pizza ovens and there are limited dish options right now. However, when The Wire Room gets fully functional there’ll be nearly 300 options on the menu, the best from Italian, Continental, Indian, Chinese, Mediterranean, and French cuisine.
There are 30 different small bites include croquettes, nachos, dahi kebabs, galouti shots, buffalo wings, tiger beef chilli, while soups, salads, sliders, grills, and bowls offer numerous variants. The desserts on the menu are Goan bebinca, dodol, serradurra as well as darsaan (crispy fried flat noodles glazed with honey, topped with sesame seeds and ice-cream) and brownies served with exotic fruits and vanilla ice-cream.
Trained in Central Institute of Hotel Management and Catering (CIHM), Bhubaneshwar, the soft-spoken chef from Cuttack is at his glorious best while rustling up all things Continental in the kitchen, especially the meats. On a hot April afternoon, he made a quinoa salad and an arugula risotto for me, both loaded with taste and presented prettily with edible flowers.
Bacchus would love a drunken feast in their well-stocked The Wire Room Bar. There are 97 drinks on the menu (I actually counted them, the numbers exclude the cocktails, mocktails, mixtures, smoothies, shakes, shots, coolers, tea and design-your-own-juice!). The signature cocktails include Negroni Sour, Marina Mule, while the classics listed are Batch No. 7, Bull Frog, Flaming Lamborghini, among a few others.
Our verdict: Morjim is overrun with hotels and homestays. What gives jüSTa an edge is the location — the beach is just a hop and skip away. Early in the morning, you can watch the fishermen sell their catch of the day and in the evening, witness the sun dip into the Arabian Sea. The beach is not so crowded, and the sunset is spectacular. Above everything else, at jüSTa, it is the graciousness and big heartedness of the hotel team members that would make you stay back. Those smiles and kind hospitality are jüSTa’s USP. That, I think, wins it all.
Good to know
Address: Vithaldaswada, Morjim, Goa 403512 | Tel: 095907 77000 | Website: www.justahotels.com | Pet Friendly: No | Free wi-fi: Yes | Swimming pool: Yes | Special diets: Yes | How to book: On Jüsta’s official website as well as OTAs | Other jüSTa hotels: Rajasthan (Udaipur, Nathdwara, Chittorgarh), Himachal Pradesh (Dharmshala, Palampur), Uttarakhand (Mukteshwar, Rishikesh), Delhi/NCR (Gurgaon, Delhi), and Karnataka (Bengaluru).