Casa Susegad is in the middle of nowhere and Norman will refuse to be helpful with the directions – you’ll just have to figure out this one on your own. I got the oldest lady I’ve seen in Goa into my cab to show me the way! Well, luckily for everyone involved, it was worth every wrong turn. I could tell from the minute I saw the sprawling blue Portuguese house that this was a happy home more than a fancy boutique hotel. There were fairy lights strung around it though it was broad day light and someone was lazily watering the garden while a young child played under the shade of the big mango tree in front of it. A happy, lived in home.
Norman came out to the gate and got my bags himself, which certified my earlier suspicions. He was just about leading me in when Carole came looking a little scattered. She had a fish to buy for dinner, “oh hello, you must be Simrit and bread to pick up and did Norman know where the keys were?” I felt right at home.
Except, as I looked around the home – this was no ordinary home. It had mustard, yellow and magenta walls. There were cushions everywhere; it was kitschy and hectic but also comfortable and cosy. They had retained the original structure of the house but completely made it their own from the inside. The walls in every room of the house are a different colour, Sounds dramatic? Well, it is but somehow it all works. Everything from the cutlery to the paintings on the wall is unusual and comes with its own story. Coming here is like entering a zone of ‘out of ordinariness’ and the Steen couple only add to that feeling.
Things only got better when I was taken out to the back of the house where I saw the very welcoming picture of a pool that twinkled in the sunlight and had the widest sun beds. There are only five rooms available and they all open out to the pool with a private sit out and your own sun beds. The ‘open kitchen’ (you can go in and take whatever you want whenever you want) is on the left of the pool. All very convenient and very ‘susegad’ ("quiet, restful, assured, at peace"). The Steens live on the other half of the house. The couple are great hosts – they let you do your own thing, though they are always fun when you do spend some time with them.
The house sits on one and a half acres of land, part of it being on a beautiful hill that towers over the pool. There is a lovely ‘sunset lounge’ area they’ve made in the middle of the forest. It is just a short walk up from the pool but the views are fabulous, especially with the sun setting behind the glorious Western Ghats.
Though you might forget it, the old house has a lot of history. When the ancestral family heard that someone had, God rest their souls, actually revived their home from the dead, they started pouring in. All the way from Australia to Portugal, each bringing portraits or stories that they felt belong to the house. Now the house is full of beautiful old photographs and memories from a time long ago. A lovely token of appreciation for the wild Irish couple – Norman and Carole that made it all happen.