Unique Places to Stay in Goa for an Offbeat Experience
If we simply define Goa, we would call it a state in India that is a popular beach destination. However, it's extremely difficult to define Goa in detail. The definition varies from person to person. For some, Goa is a budgeted backpacking destination, while for others, it is a luxurious vacation. For some, Goa is synonymous with partying and beach hopping, while for others, Goa is for sunset chasing and fort explorations. Some picture Goa as a Portuguese land, while some see it as a harmonious blend of all major religions.
For us, Goa is a writer's inspiration and a photographer's creativity. We visit Goa for monsoon greens, for summer swims, for falling asleep on the sand listening to waves, for sunbeds and cocktails, and for smoothies and mocktails. Also, to run away from the city's busyness and cheap shopping :P And Goa is kind enough to fulfil all our and others' needs.
We always wanted to experience how Goans live every day. How they buy the paos/pois (breads) from cycle-sellers, how they retire to susegad for an afternoon nap, how to whizz past the narrow palm-fringed roads on a two-wheeler, and how they know and socialise with anyone and everyone. And what better way to feel like a Goan than to slow travel in Goa. So, we did just that during our 3-week long trip to Goa. On this slow trip, we found some unique places to stay in Goa for an offbeat experience.
While it's difficult to suggest someone a place to stay in Goa, we often find ourselves asking them questions to gauge what type of trip they are looking forward to. But whatever type of trip it is, we highly recommend trying to book these unique places to stay in Goa for an offbeat experience.
Unique Places to Stay in Goa for an Offbeat Experience
Maravilha, meaning ''marvellous'' in Portuguese, is a boutique property located in the quiet interiors of Assagao village in Goa. It is a 200-year-old Portuguese house very tastefully refurbished and converted into a luxurious stay. However, the age-old charm can still be found in the décor and antiques adorn the house.
Maravilha features 14 designer rooms, an in-house kitchen, a lounge room, a dining area, a swimming pool, and lots of open spaces in the surrounding gardens. Special mention to their selection of furniture, the extravagant décor, and the subtle lighting. The rooms are either blue or white themed, and both are fantastically done. Each room showcases a rich heritage and a spirit of intimacy and romance.
Maravilha is 2-storeyed – the rooms on the ground level have direct access to the swimming pool, whereas the ones on the first floor have balconies with private sit-outs. We stayed in a lavish room on the first floor, which was equipped with high-speed internet connectivity, a smart TV, a minibar, a safe deposit, and a tea/coffee maker. The en-suite bathroom was equally exorbitant with designer tiles, a wall-mounted shower, rich toiletries, and a hair-dryer.
Striking Indo-Portuguese elements stud the nooks and corners of Maravilha, like the tiled gable roof sloping down to a columned façade, the unique lounge chair just outside the reception, the vintage artefacts that complement the décor, the designer tiles in the rooms and bathrooms, and the illustrator paintings themed on Goa that is hung everywhere in the house.
Like all the traditional Portuguese houses, Maravilha features an inner open courtyard that filters sunlight inside the house. What made our stay at this boutique property so memorable was the staff. They are ever-so-smiling, welcoming, up for a conversation, highly hospitable, and always on their toes to make us feel at home, yet never intrusive or interfering.
There was so much to do during our stay at Maravilha. We relaxed in their backyard swimming pool, chilled on the hammocks in the garden under the palm-fringed trees, lounged on the balcony with a chilled drink, rode their bicycles to explore the nearby hinterlands, and gorged on the freshly prepared mouth-watering food. They also arrange for guided village walks, help you rent a scooter, suggest nearby places to visit and give reccos on the places to shop.
Maravilha's in-house kitchen prepares personalised meals based on your tastes and requirements. For health and fitness enthusiasts, they have a few gluten-free, fat-free dishes too. Their menu is specially curated from amongst the different cuisines in the world and has something for everyone. The staff customises everything for their guests, right from décor to food.
Maravilha is rented out as an entire property to a group of friends or family looking for small celebrations or a get-together in a private setting. It's ideal for office outings, conferences, as well as workcations too! The property is kept spic and span, and you are free to roam anywhere. They spoil you with their authentic hospitality. Maravilha also has a massage room beside the pool, where they offer authentic spa services.
If you are looking for a secluded private vacation far from chaos yet close to the beaches, Maravilha is one of the best places to stay in Goa for an offbeat experience.
If you would like to book a stay at Maravilha, you can check their official website or click on the below sites to find the current prices -
Dudhsagar Plantation & Farm stay
Dudhsagar Plantation and Farm stay is a simple yet elegant stay located in the forested interiors of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa. Situated 50 kilometres from the Goa airport in Dabolim, this family-run farm stay is very close to majestic waterfalls, including Dudhsagar Falls and Tambdi Surla Falls. The property features 5 cottages that are set amidst spice gardens on a 30-acre estate.
The cottages at Dudhsagar Plantation & Farm stay are traditional, spacious, and simplistic, with an attached washroom. The room is well-ventilated and provides a feeling of being close to nature. It is surrounded by tropical forests with tall palm, betel nut, and banana trees. Each cottage has an outdoor verandah seating where you can spend a relaxed time. The property has an open dining space with a thatched patio that adds to the feel of oneness with nature.
The farm stay's host, Ashok, is very friendly and welcoming and will instantly make you feel at home. He and his family have worked hard on nurturing the local bio-diversity while simultaneously managing the farm stay by including initiatives like rain-water harvesting, converting food waste into biogas, and protecting the rare flora and fauna. They have even constructed an eco-friendly swimming pool with water-purifying aquatic plants growing in it.
Ashok charted out a perfect itinerary for us to explore all the nearby places. Dudhsagar Plantation & Farm stay makes for a perfect base to visit Dudhsagar Falls. After a stressful 22-kilometre hike, returning to the farm stay felt like a huge relief. We wonder why anyone would want to do this long hike and then return to the crowded beaches 50 kilometres away!
Ashok and his family are typical Goans by heart, and we were lucky to have sampled some delicious Goan cuisines during our stay. We spent a lot of time in the dining area where the dishes kept coming, from Goan paos to avocado chutney to a dessert made out of coconut and passion fruit. Food and like-minded conversations, what else does one need!
At Dudhsagar Plantation & Farm stay, we explored the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and nearby waterfalls, swam in the property's eco-pool, spotted birds and butterflies, walked through the spice garden, ate organic food, and talked to like-minded travellers.
Dudhsagar Plantation & Farm stay also offers activities like cashew picking. These cashews are then washed, taken to their in-house distillery, and brewed to produce local Feni. Ashok has perfected the art of making Urak (a milder version of Feni), and he serves it with the utmost affection. You can also explore the village around the stay and spot beautiful rare birds.
All in all, Dudhsagar Plantation & Farm stay is amongst the most unique places to stay in Goa for an offbeat experience. Away from the chaos and amidst nature, we're sure you wouldn't regret booking your stay there. Here's our honest experience of staying with Dudhsagar Plantation and Farm stay.
If you would like to book a stay at Dudhsagar Plantation and Farm stay, you can check their official website or click on the below sites to find the current prices -
Vivenda dos Palhacos
Vivenda dos Palhacos (that translates to House of Clowns) is a 100-year-old Portuguese villa that is beautifully restored by a brother-sister duo into a luxurious 8-bedroom mansion. Tucked in a corner amongst the coconut grooves in Majorda village, this boutique stay is just about a kilometre from the beach, yet set in peaceful surroundings.
The house belonged to a Hindu family and was sold to Catholics somewhere around the 1920s; hence it has bits and pieces of Indo-Portuguese architecture. The house's front porch has pretty sit-outs on both sides, typical of Portuguese architecture. Whereas there's a central open courtyard in the middle of the house, which is typical of old Hindu homes.
When Simon and Charlotte, the brother-sister duo, bought the house, it was in a derelict condition. You will find a photo book at the property where you will be able to view the old photographs of the dilapidated house and accompanying photos of how the mansion was refurbished gradually. Right from the living room, the balconies, to the tiled roof, you will be able to differentiate the architectural styles.
All the rooms at Vivenda dos Palhacos are differently themed and innovatively designed. The rooms are named after places in India that the owners have lived in and have loved. Like there's a room named Konnagar (a posh locality in West Bengal), and it is styled luxuriously with a 4-poster bed and a huge bathroom featuring a big bathtub from the Royal Bombay Yacht Club.
The other room, named Ooty (a popular hill station in Tamil Nadu), where we stayed for 3 nights, is all white, styled with sensual framed paintings, overlooks an open courtyard, and has a bathroom tiled with pieces of mirror. We learnt that this was the kitchen of the old Indo-Portuguese mansion. Isn't it interesting?
The other rooms are Madras, Alipore, Chanpara, Chummery, Darjeeling, and Ballygunge, each themed uniquely and adorned with interesting antiques. The living room has big sofa sets, and the dining room has a 16-seater antique wooden dining table. Every corner is decorated with unique antiquities, like the balconies feature high chairs found in a barber's shop, and the dining table features quirky utensils. The café plus bar is constructed out of the back of a truck and is full of vibrant colours.
Vivenda dos Palhacos is a mini library where you will find a variety of books on all the topics under the sky in each room. If you are a book lover, you can easily spend a couple of days inside the house without an urge to wander outside. Oh did we mention they have a swimming pool too? The hosts are charming, and we loved having detailed conversations with them about the Goan way of living. And oh, did we mention that they have 2 pet dogs and are super friendly?!
If you are looking for authentic Goan experiences, and an opportunity to delve into a new culture, then Vivenda dos Palhacos is the best place to stay in Goa for a unique experience. Read our detailed review on Vivenda dos Palhacos here.
If you would like to book a stay at Vivenda dos Palhacos, you can check their official website and call/ mail them directly.
WelcomHeritage Panjim Inn
As the name suggests, WelcomHeritage Panjim Inn is located in Panjim, the capital city of Goa. Surrounded by the narrow and colourful lanes of Fontainhas, this heritage property is situated in the posh suburbs of Panjim. It is an ancestral property that is now a part of the WelcomHeritage chain of hotels.
Panjim Inn was built in the 1880s and is the first heritage hotel in Goa. Owned by the same family for over 5 generations, the family has taken utmost care to preserve the old-world charm of the building, including the external façade, the stonewalls, the teak beams, and the wrought iron railings lining the balcony.
We had a chance to stay in Panjim Peoples – a restored mansion that was formerly Goa'sGoa's first English medium school. The spacious rooms on the first floor of Panjim Peoples are extremely spacious, with handpicked Portuguese style décor, carved rosewood furniture, floor-to-ceiling windows, a royal bathroom, and a huge balcony that opens to the view of the coloured streets of Fontainhas.
During the night, the entire area surrounding Panjim Inn looked like a small Portugal town. The lime, turquoise, violet, team, and crimson-coloured buildings adorned with ajulejo tiles teleported us to a different world altogether. Panjim Inn'sInn's in-house restaurant named Verandah serves Goan, Continental, and Indian delicacies that are wholesome and delicious.
WelcomHeritage Panjim Inn is amongst the most unique places to stay in Goa for an offbeat experience that majorly includes exploring the Latin quarters of Fontainhas. The property's central location ensures that you are never far from either beaches, churches, casinos, or nightclubs. Before making your bookings, you might want to read our experience stay at Panjim Inn.
If you would like to book a stay at Panjim Inn, you can check WelcomHeritage's official website or click on the below sites to find the current prices -
Do you know of more such unique places to stay in Goa for an offbeat experience? Drop us a comment, and we'll be there in no time.