How Riad Fyzee founded Cabo Serai, a luxury & eco-conscious nature retreat, managed by Eshika and Trupti

#homestay - Cabo de Rama Beach, Canaguinim - Goa| Book on RARE India

YC -Tell us about your background - educational, personal & professional? Would also love to hear about your family?

Trupti Wesley – Resort Director, Cabo Serai - I am from Mysore, Karnataka. I did my schooling and college in Delhi. Post-graduation from The Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development in Guest Service Management in 2004.

I worked with Oberoi Hotels from 2004 to 2014. Joined Sujan in 2014 and headed the Jawai camp for one year. Moved to Goa in 2015. Started a restaurant called The Chikoo tree Project in Margao. Joined Cabo Serai in 2017 before the project began. I am a lover of nature and wildlife. I have a keen interest in the preservation and conservation of our natural resources. I am married and have a son aged 15 years.

YC - What motivates you to manage the place, especially in the role of an entrepreneur?

Trupti - My parents loved entertaining friends at home and everything we offered guests was homemade. I was always an eager observer and helped my mom with serving and cooking. My interest grew over the years and I chose to work with hotels. After working for Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, I wanted to utilise my knowledge and experience to set up a project of my own. That paved the way to becoming an entrepreneur.

YC - Starting something unique or creating a niche is always challenging, what challenges did you face in your early days? 

Trupti - The biggest challenge was the terrain and ensuring that we have the least impact. We had to find spaces to build without cutting any trees and rock as we are very conscious of the environment. This proved challenging and involved a lot of research and consultation with experts and hence, a lot of time. 

YC - As one of the founding members of this project what are your primary functions, basically how do you typically spend your day in the office?

Trupti - All operations and administration related functions. A typical day starts with taking rounds of the property, checking emails, planning the menu for the following day, checking rooms, meeting guests, implementing processes for better operations, organising special setups for guests, daily briefing with reservations team for guest information/preferences etc, monitoring social media activity - updating on FB & Insta handle (caboserai) and training staff. Instagram has been most effective for us.

YC - What are your views on personally managed travel partners like RARE India and others OTA’s like  AirBnB,, etc?

Trupti - As a retreat that is focused on offering a highly personalised experience to guests, I feel travel partners like RARE India are more suited for us as we share a similar ethos.

YC - Our readers would love to know the best time during the year to visit your homestay and why?

Trupti - Goa is beautiful throughout the year but still, a good time to visit would be October to March - during winters and June to September - monsoon.

YC - A memorable trip is a combination of a great stay + lip-smacking food and unique experiences - what are the unique experiences around your area which travellers must explore?

Trupti - Goa has a lot to offer:

  1. Forest bathing | Nature treks | Bird trails | Village walks 

  2. Visit the historic Cabo de Rama Fort

  3. Santo Antonio Church

  4. Betul - A fishing village, approximately 15minutes from Cabo Serai.

  5. Agonda & Palolem Beaches

  6. Sundowner at a cliff’s edge with sweeping views of the sea and surrounding hills.

  7. Yoga with our inhouse Yogacharya | Wellness cooking classes with our chef

  8. Breakfast by the bay | Beach candlelit dinner

YC - How is your hotel attractive to Indian domestic travellers and what are the interest points for foreign travellers? 

Trupti - Our resort is attractive to any traveller who loves nature and the privacy and seclusion it offers. Spread over 14.5 acres, Cabo Serai offers personal space to every guest while being one with natural surroundings. Our highly personalised service and customised experiences are curated to offer guests memories that will be cherished long after they leave. Our Tripadvisor rating is 5

YC - Industry experts these days are talking a lot about sustainable and regenerative travel, what are your views on it and how are you contributing to the same?

Trupti - Eco-conscious accommodation -

  1. All construction is done using wood and native materials such as laterite stones, mud and coconut thatch to create a minimum structural impact on the site.

  2. The intelligent architecture ensures sufficient ventilation in all areas of the rooms.

  3. A considerable amount of our décor is sourced from local craftsmen, providing our rooms with indigenous and tasteful detailing.  

  4. A luxurious ambience is created using natural fabrics, eco-friendly mattresses and materials.  

  5. Rooms were all planned and positioned in a way that the natural plants and trees were preserved to ensure we cause the least disturbance to the wildlife and rich birdlife.

Our commitment towards reducing, reusing and recycling waste :
1. We have taken the following measures to eliminate single-use plastic

  • Water in the rooms is served in copper dispensers to eliminate the use of plastic bottles.

  • All of our organic toiletries are provided in stone and wood dispensers to avoid plastic packaging.

  • An in-room tea and coffee bar provides guests with a selection of teas/coffees and milk in glass jars.

  • Water is provided to guests on picnics and walks in copper bottles.

  • Only banana fibre packaging used for packing food.

  • Paper straws provided only on request.

2. Waste is carefully managed through garbage segregation and composting
3. Bed linen is changed every alternate day unless requested.
4. Guests are encouraged to give bath linen for a wash when required rather than on a daily basis
5. Recycled water is used for irrigating our gardens.
6. Leftover materials used while constructing rooms are used to make furniture, lamps and items of décor in the house.

Sustainable menu offerings :
1. Most vegetables and herbs are grown on the property.
2. Grains and Seafood are sourced from neighbouring villages.
3. Menu is focused on promoting a sense of wellbeing. The freshest of seasonal ingredients are sourced locally to provide guests with innovative and wholesome daily menus.
4. Vegan and Sattvik options encourage guests to eat healthily.
5. Local Goan cuisine is prepared by our chef, hired from a neighbouring village, lending it authenticity.

Other measures :
1. Organic toiletries made using principles of Ayurveda and incorporating ingredients growing on our land like hibiscus, aloe-vera, lemongrass, kokum, coconut, neem etc.
2. Eco friendly LED lighting is used in all main areas and free-standing solar lamps are used for outdoor lighting.
3. Only Green detergents and cleaning agents are used.
4. Only necessary landscaping was done to ensure the natural forest is preserved.
5. Landscaping only uses native plants.

YC - COVID 19 has immensely affected the tourism sector, how are you coping with it and what would you suggest to your fellow boutique homestay owners?

Trupti - We have got all our staff vaccinated. 100% of our staff has taken the first shot. This is the way forward for tourism.

YC - Based on your experience so far would you have any advice for new Entrepreneurs.

Trupti -

Be conscious of the environment and the local community in the area you set up your business. Reduce, reuse and recycle should be engrained in the culture from the beginning. Allocate funds to give back to the community in whatever way you can. Commit to no single-use plastic and use recycled products as far as possible. Reduce your impact on the environment as best as you can.

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