Zuri White Sands, India
After arriving in Goa and enduring a car journey complete with the Indian art of overt horn-beeping – more customary than the English person’s vocal expressions of road rage, I arrive at the stunning Zuri White Sands, Goa Resort and Casino. One only has to catch sight of Varca Beach, one of the longest beaches in the world and on which the resort sits, at its cusp, to appreciate the Zuri resort’s explicit appeal. It may be nicely cushioned by the fringes of the Arabian Sea, an idyllic fluid expanse which is (tried and tested) blissfully like bath water but the Zuri White Sands is much more than just a pretty beach-adorned face.
Zuri White Sands, Goa Resort and Casino, definitely delivers wow-factor of the lavish kind. The comfortable suites are a mix of modern design and contemporary chic with hints of Indian art and culture entwined. Upon arrival, I am spoilt for choice by all there is to do. Having carefully contemplated whether I should order a mojito from the Blue Lagoon pool bar or cut through the Indian Ocean on a jet ski, (times are hard) I decide to tend to my taste buds by sampling some Oriental cuisine at one of their restaurants, Saké which offers live teppanyaki cooked right in front of me.
There is a plethora of delicious cuisine available at the Zuri White Sands from Pan Asian to Goan specialities. The barmen at the outrageously glam Dinks Casino bar are not shy when it comes to making a strong tangy cocktail or two either. I take to bed boringly early, in an attempt to be hangover-free for one of the Zuri’s signature excursions the next day.
On our way to the Sahakari Spice Plantation, our guide tells us more about Goa, in between dodging meandering cows (sacred to Hindus in India and thus treated wonderfully – mini abodes included). The entrance to the spice plantation is a sight to behold: a rickety bridge across a murky river, which is uncannily like a scene out of Indiana Jones and definitely a selling point.
Note here, that whether you’re a foodie or not, what one learns about the various spices here will definitely inspire the laziest of cooks to conjure up a feast. Vanilla pods, turmeric (which I am told also makes a good facemask when mixed with milk), 5-spice, chilli powder, cinnamon, black pepper, lemongrass, fresh aloe vera gel and fresh honey are all amidst my purchases before we sit down to eat.
After red snapper, chicken xacuti, pau and other delectable Indian dishes, freshly adorned with the spices from the plantation, we are served the popular Indian liquor, Feni, made of coconut or cashew fruit. It is an eye-watering 80% proof but I manage to drink it each time my glass is topped up. Lucky I’d avoided that potential hangover, then.
I leave Zuri White Sands feeling like I’ve had a bespoke experience of India. It delivers the indulgent treatment you expect of a 5-star resort whilst fully encouraging immersive experiences of Indian culture. It’s definitely a prime contender for any holiday hit-list.