Casa Susegad was built for entertaining and socialising, as well as for living. So the main part of the house is as grand and imposing as you would expect with a lofty 5 metres height up to the roof, and each room is about 30 square metres in area.
To get this far, though, you first have to climb the steps into the balcao. High status houses like the Casa were built on elevated platforms to reflect their importance and the formal balcao was where guests and workers alike were met and entertained – only those with enough standing were allowed to sit on the stone seats within, or were admitted to the house itself. Today it is still a favoured place for a cocktail or a gossip, or as a retreat for thinking and chilling.
As a favoured guest yourself, you then enter the Casa through the ornately carved front door, reclaimed from an old palace in Mysore (but found in the storeroom of a village friend – and it was a perfect fit!). The Jodhpur blue reception area within is home to the formal portraits of the past Indo-Portuguese owners and has a wonderful wooden ceiling.
Straight on leads though to the back office where a hundred years ago Francisco X E Fernandes had sat writing his literary works, and on to the rear terrace and the bedrooms. But to the right of the vestibule lie the three formal guest reception rooms, each with its own style, eclectic artwork and heritage furniture.
The guest lounge has satellite TV, a DVD player and surround-sound speakers. The original teak ceiling has been restored and the rich colour brought back to life with 50 litres of linseed oil. There are four long-and-wide L-shaped built-in sofas, centred in each corner of the room. These make an excellent base for Susegad siestas beneath cooling fans and away from the heat of the day. You will find plenty of reading material throughout the house, should you wish to relax with a book, and it is an ideal room for TV suppers when you are socialised out.
Next door is the formal dining room, with a huge dining table that can seat sixteen in a room open to the rafters for cooling. Many wonderful evenings are spent here en famille, under the lit chandelier with beautiful arched windows opened wide – a most comfortable place to spend an evening of sparkling conversation, no matter how hot the day has been, and a fantastic alternative to dining a deux under the stars outside.
Last of all is the games room, decorated in rich, warm tones. Dominated by a 3/4 size snooker table, cleverly lit in a Tiffany style becoming the house, this room hosts a carom (a Goan passion) or cards table, various board games and walls of photographs from around India. It is equally welcoming as a brief escape from the sun during the day as it is a comfortable after-dinner retreat, with window seats and sofas for spectators and scrabble players.
A guest bathroom lies off a curtained alcove leading from this games room – also within easy reach of the dining room so that the atmosphere is not broken by unscheduled trips back to your room.
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