Why Sol De Goa is a good place to soul-search

When I said yes to an invitation from Sol De Goa a few months ago, little did I realise that it would open my heart to a very different Goa – where one feels faint need to go even close to a beach (although Candolim beach is just 2 km from this tucked away resort in Nerul, overlooking the Sinquerim river). Strangely, Sol De Goa seems unperturbed by its more opulent neighbour LPK, which going by the signs all along Candolim, seems to be some sort of party capital – a thing I am perhaps too old or too sensible for.

Once a getaway for distinguished Portuguese officials, Sol was redesigned, renamed and restored by its current owner, Suraj Morajkar – one of the few real estate people who genuinely cares about restoration and heritage. Designed by acclaimed designer Tarun Tahiliani with strong Goan influences and a classic Portuguese feel, the property includes 21 rooms: four suites, two deluxe suites and 15 well-appointed rooms. All these are made further charming by the fact that they hug a beautiful central courtyard pool, flanked by some exquisite pottery.

So unwittingly, I found pieces of my soul in different ways at Sol De Goa:

Like when I entered the resort and felt it was someone’s grandparent’s home, with all that old world charm.

img20160902113001Or when the same night, it transformed into this high octane place that never went to sleep. Thursdays is when  Goa’s best come to shake a leg at Sol De Goa:


Or when I sat in my balcony the next afternoon and nibbled at my chilli cheese toast, listening to bird song by the Sinquerim river. img20160901171044Or when I partnered with the resident chef, a lovely man named Prashant in creating mangane, a traditional goan kheer of sago, yellow gram, coconut milk and jaggery for Ganesh Chaturthi. And had two full bowls of it.
img20160902080006Or when I stared into space, eating my pancakes with strawberry butter one morning, wondering just how long would the twin towers of Our Lady of Hope church be. img20160901090738Or when I attained zen just by loUnging by the courtyard pool, doing nothing, wondering which one was a more exquisite shade of blue: the pots or the pool.img20160902113025



10 reasons to love Novotel Goa resort and spa

So I spent a few days in Candolim during my Goa R&R last month and one of the places that hosted me was the Novotel Goa resort and spa (Pinto Waddo, off Candolim road). Here’s why you should go too:

  1. There as much room to do nothing as there is to pack it all up
  2. img20160905154352There is splashes of color when you need it
    img201609051223323. And then there is tranquility when you need it too. And some wonderful spa treatments at their poolside spa.img201609051523154. And how can I forget the memorable Sunday Brunch at La Briese, their beach-side restaurant, which also features a live band every weekend. And is also a great spot for sunset cocktails. img201609041427195. Just when I was missing the boy, I saw this father-son duo X-box connecting or Nintendoing (to me, it’s all the same) in the lobby. There’s plenty more where that came from. img201609051222076. And certainly it’s not all about the kids. Some things are all yours img201609051524277. And while you sip your poolside cosmopolitan, you can stare at this viewimg201609051526228. Or take a selfie (or if you are lucky, a photo) before you say good bye to it all photo-79. Did I forget to mention there is a special tree sandwich for those you have the eye for it? img2016090413201410. And how can I leave you without a sunset? photo-8

About a house called Maia that let me be…… and a cat called Maia that showed me how to be

Around a month ago, I took a train by myself to Goa in search of some me time. There was too much happening, I was too overwhelmed, and somehow the presence of a child in your life makes you act stoic even when you are not feeling so, and it was taking a toll on me. So off I went to Maia House in Saligao. The house belongs to Heta Pandit, a lady who has done exemplary work in the area of conservation, and whose other house (another heritage home, Dhun Heta in Panchgani) I had visited a few years ago. You can read more about her homes and contact details here.

What can I say about the house? Here it is:

Maia House in SaligaoFour poster dreamsIt’s a 19th century heritage home completely restored with modern amenities, a 15 minute drive from the beaches of Calangute and Candolim. The house is largely old world, with modern touches added for convenience.  The best part is a private sit-out among two rare trees and a freshwater well. I spent a large part of my time here with Maia.

It’s hard to say if the house was named after the cat or the other way, but going by the looks of it, Maia owns the place. She was the one who actually taught me the real meaning of me time. photo 2photo 4photo 3photo 2photo(41)I don’t know much about design or architecture, but I know when a house talks to me, gives me a hug, tells me it’s going to be okay. I know when I look at windows that are neither open nor closed and when they tell me all I have to do is reach out and I can have them either open or closed. photo 3And what can I say about a house that has a tombstone for it’s first cat, Maia’s predecessor, Catalyst.

photo 5I’m not sure if this is the kind of travelogue you wanted to read, but sometimes, places are more than things ticked off a list. I have been to Goa many times and I know there are many Goas, but this was the first time I went to Goa and never once felt like hitting the beach. Instead I sat home and wrote a letter to my future self.

photo 4Perhaps there’s something about Saligao. Maybe it’s Maia.