Travel special: Lose yourself in Goa's quaint village homestays
If you're heading out for a monsoon break, Goa is the place to be, and this time, we suggest you take the offbeat road. Opt for these cool, cosy and serene homestays that will make you fall in love with the Goan spirit once again
Arco Iris Boutique Homestay
Aeco Iris, means rainbow in Portuguese. This 200- year-old elegantly restored colonial house, built on a terraced, 1.5 acre property overlooks a seasonal lake that supplements the water requirements of the surrounding paddy fields. The Zuari flows about a km away behind the property. The proximity to the lake and the Zuari, the abundant greenery in and around the property ensure a scenic setting all through the year, and particularly during the rains. The hosts, Bennita and Ganesh, Subramaniam along with their children, decided to relocate to Goa, after having spent a better part of their lives in the urban jungle. The homestay provides boarding and guests can partake lunch/dinner on prior request. The hosts are also glad to offer any assistance for transport arrangements, sightseeing options, leisure activities, or just about anything else that will make your stay in Goa memorable. Boating and fishing at the Zuari river and dolphin-spotting are interesting things you can try here. (This depends on how severe the rains are).
At: Arco Iris, 1384, Sinai Bagh near Carmel Chapel and High School Curtorim, Goa.
Log on to: www.arcoiris.in
The Only Olive
This Portuguese style house that looks like a painting, is set in the village of Aldona, in Goa. It gets its name from the century-old olive tree that is in front of the property, and thought to be as old as the house itself. The house is set on a hillock and gives a good view of its surroundings from its balcony or what the owners refers to as the bolcao. The peace and quiet will ensure that you wake up well rested each. It is perfect for that relax weekend you have been planning for years now. The owners suggest that you go for a walk around the village, admire the famous Khorjeum Bridge, nod and smile at all the neighbours, sit in the bolcao with a book and watch the birds, go down to the river and let a fishing rod dangle in the water, help with the garden, write that book, paint that painting or complete that embroidery piece. If you still want to go to where the “action” is, head for the beaches. Most are roughly 30 minutes away. You could hire a taxi or a self-drive car or two-wheeler to help you explore the state. Santosh, the cheerful caretaker, cooks breakfast. He’ll whip up fresh local bread and cook eggs to go with it or anything else that you fancy. For lunch and dinner, there are a number of small restaurants all around or Santosh can dish up something typically Goan.
At: The Only Olive, Ranoi, Aldona, Goa.
Log on to: www.theonlyolive.com
This family-run boutique guest house is situated in the grounds of an over 500-year-old ancestral house.
It is mostly adorned with restored antique furniture. The hosts, Roberto and Raquel Amaral, love sharing the lifestyle and their village with their guests. Roberto also skippers and looks after a small French built luxury yacht, a small speedboat. The guests can avail of charters along the riverine backwaters up to the coast of Goa. Raquel loves to cook and some of
the fare is traditional recipes while some of them are her own fusions.
At: Naicavaddo, Aldona Bardez, Goa.
Log on to: www. cancioshouse.webs.com
This homestay in North Goa is a luxurious, boutique guesthouse situated on a private, forested hill in the village of Parra close to the beaches of Calangute-Baga and Anjuna. It is a mix of experiencing life with a local family, but with the privacy and level of comfort afforded by the best boutique hotels. Birdwatchers and nature lovers looking for a relaxed holiday in tranquil surroundings will particularly enjoy this space. Jamshed and Ayesha Madon who opened the first specialty Italian restaurant in Goa, 17 years ago, are your hosts at Capella. Among the other denizens of the house are their thirteen-year-old son Zal, and an assortment of pets. The place is pet-friendly. You’ll spot Elsa, a bouncy mongrel, Luca a noble Rottweiler, the two snooty felines — Lily-the-Calico-Cat and Tiffin — who are accustomed to house guests.
At: 376/1, Bokachi Aradi, Parra, Bardez, Goa.
Call: 09923459488 (call between 9 am-2 pm and 4 pm-8 pm)
Log on to: www.capellagoa.com
The Artist’s House
A stone’s throw from hip Ashwem Beach, and in the centre of Mandrem village, in far-north Goa, is this three-four-bed house, owned by renowned Goan artists Pradeep and Shilpa Naik. The interior is modern with impeccable furnishings, stunning original art, and all modern amenities with its own little dipping pool. The biggest attraction here is the long balcony overlooking the rice fields, and the sleepy village. It is close enough to the beach but smartly removed from the hubbub. Yab Yum Resort currently manages the house on behalf of the owners.
At: Ashwem Beach, Mandrem, Goa.
Log on to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This imaginatively restored Indo-Portuguese mansion, dating back more than 150 years, is unlike the typical tourist accommodation seen in Goa. Owned by an English couple, Norman and Carol Steen, the name of the house means lazing around in Konkani and it seems like a perfect place to do just that. Set in over an acre of grounds and with three huge reception rooms, artistically decorated, for guests, the property offers only five bedrooms, making it very exclusive There are dedicated terraces, or private gardens, for each bedroom, with granite tables and comfortable chairs.
At: House no 589, Orgao, Loutolim, Salcete, Goa.
Log on to: www.casasusegad.com
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