#0363: India, Goa

Property #0363
Property #0363
Property #0363
Property #0363
Property #0363
Property #0363
Property #0363
Property #0363
Property #0363
Property #0363
Property #0363
Property #0363
Property #0363
Property #0363
Property #0363

    Description

    Vivenda dos Palhacos is a hundred year old, carefully renovated house set on a very quiet* cul-de-sac in the village** of Majorda, in South Goa.  Read review here

    Vivenda dos Palhacos has three quite different atmospheres. At the front of the house, is a modest Portuguese Mansion, built in 1929. It has a hall, two large bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, a sitting room leading out to a veranda and a large dining room to seat twenty.

    The older Hindoo house, behind, is made from thick rammed earth walls with three double bedrooms all with ensuite bathrooms. All our bedrooms have fans as well as air-conditioners. The latter are not usually required until March or April. At the back of the house is the main garden with a 12m swimming pool, private dining and sun bathing areas and a self-contained cottage.

    The Bedrooms are named after the places we have lived in and loved, in Bengal and Tamil Nadu. They all have fans, air-conditioners and en-suite bathrooms. They don’t have TVs or phones. Though either of those menaces can be easily rustled up for children or major sporting events. There are two rooms in the Portuguese part of the house.
    KONNAGAR, the master bedroom has an old four-poster and its own balcony. The large bathroom next door has a shower and a cast iron bat tub saved from the Royal Bombay Yacht Club.
    ALIPUR has a window seat that is either a love seat or prayer spot, overlooking the next door coconut plantation. So if you hear a small explosion overhead every now and then, it is more likely to be a coconut than the Taliban. It has a simple teak antique double bed and a long, narrow ensuite bathroom hidden between the two houses.
    In the older, Hindoo part of the house MADRAS is a large double room with French doors leading out to the garden from its open-air bathroom.
    BALLYGUNGE has two large single beds in it that can be pushed together. With a distinctly Gujarati bathroom.
    OOTY, with its private entrance from the courtyard, has a built-in double bed and sitting area and a secret bathroom ensuite.
    CHANDPARA is a huge tent, with twin beds, rugs and old camping furniture, including a Thunder Box and an early version of a mini bar. It has a private entrance and young garden of its own, in a coconut plantation by the pool.
    The CHUMMERY is a self-contained, air-conditioned cottage with a bathroom, small kitchen and two verandas.

    Vivenda sleeps fourteen in perfect comfort and more, in emergency. KONNAGER, MADRAS. THE CHUMMERY and CHANDPARA are the four rooms with most room for children’s camp beds. We are happy to arrange spill-overs at various price points, round and about. We also rent out the entire house. But any individual reservations we may have cannot be cancelled. So do book early, if you would like the entire house and staff. Let’s talk about whether you’d prefer to have the house completely to yourselves and organize your own food and drink or for us to do the needful.

    Our food is best described as modern European with a strong Asian flavour. As well as his own repertoire, our Keralan Chef Jibby has been trained by Helen Mainland, an award winning young kiwi chef from my favourite restaurant in New Zealand. (See links) Signature dishes include Iced Gazpachio topped with Lobster, drizzled in Paprika oil. Excellent steaks on caramelised onions with Masala mashed potato and an exceptionally gooey chocolate mouse, which my children have been known to eat for breakfast. Continental breakfast is complimentary. Lovely first growth teas from Darjeeling and fresh organic coffees from the South of India. Fresh fruit and fruit juices & the ubiquitous buttertoast or butterhomemademangomarmaladetoast. Unless you’d prefer something heavier, like ham from the Royal Bombay Yacht Club and my scrambled eggs which, though I say so myself, are usually unsurpassable. Picnic and Alfresco lunches can be arranged on the beach or by the pool. Cocktail eats, snacks and children’s meals will be served at all times. Dinner has to be booked the night before. This will allow us to discuss the menu with you and ensure the freshest ingredients.

    Our wine list will have twin purposes: a) to quench the sometimes-unquenchable thirst of those who favour quantity over quality b) to tickle the taste buds and memories of those who prefer quality to quantity. I will choose the former, and Ivan Scholte Esq. (former butler to the The Queen, ex-wine merchant and currently a high-class hotelier in Laos) will choose the latter. HAYWARD’S 5000 strong beer will be served with our compliments. It is stronger than wine and very popular with North Indian lorry drivers. I am confident there will not be many takers.

    Swim The 12 x 4 metre swimming pool is set in a young tropical garden with private sun bathing areas. The shallow end of the pool is three feet deep so will not suit very young children. We’d be happy to set up a piddling pool in the front garden for tiny tots.

    Location

    Car needed no
    Car useful yes
    Car available no

    The longest beach, with the most beautiful sand in Goa, is about a kilometer away. Guests are very welcome to rent a bicycle or grab a lift down there in our customized Tuk-Tuk.

    This is what one of the travel guides has to say about the area we are in: -

    "The presence of the big five stars seems to have inadvertently shielded the area immediately inland from other kinds of development, with the result that once out of sight of the resorts, you find yourself in a pleasantly uncongested, traditional belt that will appeal greatly to anyone seeking peace and quiet within walking distance of the longest beach in Goa."

    Please note that we are in a village, so we do not have a view,unless you count blue skies and coconuts. Also, being in a village in Goa means cocks crow; chickens cluck; pigs grunt; children play; parents grumble; dogs bark; Christians sing and Church bells ring amid all the other signs of life you would expect in a South Goan Village.

    Accomodation

    Ooty | sleeps 2

    bedroom 1: 1 x queen double

    bathroom 1: bath, shower, toilet

    Konnager | sleeps 2

    bedroom 1: 1 x double

    bathroom 1: shower, toilet

    The Chummery | sleeps 2

    bedroom 1: 2 x single

    bathroom 1: shower, toilet

    Ballygunge | sleeps 2

    bedroom 1: 2 x single

    shower 1: shower, toilet

    Alipur | sleeps 2

    bedroom 1: 1 x double

    shower 1: shower, toilet

    Madras | sleeps 2

    bedroom 1: 1 x double

    shower 1: shower, toilet

    Chanpara | sleeps 2

    bedroom 1: 2 x single

    shower 1: shower, toilet

    Amenities

    General
    central heating air conditioning fireplace telephone
    fax machine internet access linen towels
    sofa bed baby high chair baby crib hair dryer
    disable friendly computer available wifi sauna / steam room
    gym indoor pool ceiling fans high speed internet
    home security gated community water view lift /elevator
    Kitchen
    oven hob / stove dishwasher washing machine
    clothes dryer fridge freezer microwave
    coffee maker toaster iron & ironing board condiments/essentials
    Entertainment
    tv vcr cd player/hi-fi dvd player
    cd library video library dvd library cable / satelite tv
    ipod dock      
    External
    parking garden / yard shared pool balcony/terrace
    outdoor grill private hot tub outdoor furniture private pool
    shared hot tub garage beach / water front canoe/cayak
    Services
    nanny /babysitting caretaker housekeeper cook
    gardener doorman resort privileges  

    House rules

    Units
    Ooty | sleeps 2 (4 to 11 credits)
    Monsoon rates are the same as our summer rates and last from 2nd May to 30th September. The Festive Season is from December 20th to January 5th. The High Season is from October 1st to December 19th. And from January 6th to May 1st.
    Konnager | sleeps 2 (6 to 16 credits)
    ..
    The Chummery | sleeps 2 (6 to 15 credits)
    ..
    Ballygunge | sleeps 2 (4 to 11 credits)
    ..
    Alipur | sleeps 2 (5 to 14 credits)
    ..
    Madras | sleeps 2 (5 to 14 credits)
    ..
    Chanpara | sleeps 2 (9 to 13 credits)
    ..
    Cleaning included yes

    No Smoking inside

    Vivenda dos Palhacos is extremely child friendly. Children below 12 can be included for Rs 500/- a night for a very comfortable camp bed. Extra beds can be accommodated in Konnager, Madras, Chandpara and The Chummery. A cot is available. Only immaculately behaved children, like my own (Hannah 12 and Buster 10), will be welcome in the sitting and dining rooms.

    Services

    Complimentary Bicycles. Airport pick-up (Rs 600 per car).
    Sight seeing and shopping tours from Rs 1,800 a day. Baby-sitting.
    Laundry. Hair dryer. Around three-quarters-of-the-clock food and drink.
    Relatively high speed internet access. Advice as to what is worth going to see and what is worth avoiding.
    A television and DVD player that can be booked.
    A very sophisticated 24 hour, native English speaking concierge service.
    Mobile phones to rent.Picnics and parties planned.
    Weddings arranged, though not necessarily in the desi sense of the word.
    The spas at The Grand Hyatt and Leela are both excellent and almost next door.

    Activities

    Sports

    Swimming (on site)

    Horse riding (10 minutes drive)

    Scuba diving (10 minutes drive)

    Other

    Shops (2 minutes walk)

    Restaurants (on site)

    Culture (2 minutes walk)

    Beach (5 minutes drive)

    Getting there

    We are less than half an hour's drive south of Goa's airport at Dabolim. Goa is a fifty-minute flight from Bombay and Bangalore. There are frequent flights on a variety of India's excellent new private domestic airlines (see Links) connecting Goa with India's main tourist cities including Jaipur and Agra. The flight from Delhi is under two hours and Calcutta is two and a half hours away. We are twenty minutes from the main station in the second city of Goa, Margao. The daily overnight train to and from Bombay, The KonKan Express, is recommended in one direction if you are feeling adventurous. We would be happy to suggest places to stay and things to do in Bombay for a couple of nights at the beginning or end of your trip. Or further afield if you would like to combine a relaxing week in Goa, with a more rigorous trip elsewhere in the sub-continent. It is sometimes possible, if you book far enough in advance, to spend a night or two en route in a beautiful old club instead of your average, characterless five-star hotel. The Tollygunge Club in Calcutta, The Royal Bombay Yacht Club, The Ooty Club, The Madras Club or Delhi's Gymkhana Club are all highly recommended. We are fifty minutes south of Panjim, the capital of Goa. We are five minutes from the Grand Hyatt at Utorda and within half an hour of the Leela Palace Hotel and Taj Exotica, which are both just south of Benaulim.

    Guestbook

    • Overall property review

    Vivenda dos Palhacos in Majorda, Goa turned out to be a real gem. Simon and Charlotte Hayward were extremely hospitable and the staff there couldn’t do enough to help. Highly recommendable.

    • Was the property description accurate?

    Yes, except that Chummery has a double bed, not 2 singles as advertised; I have mentioned this to Simon.
    Vivenda is like an extended family group, with people arriving and leaving the various rooms during the course of our week. Life circulates around the huge outdoor stone table where everyone just meets up for refreshment, starting with a cooked breakfast. We feel we have made a lot of friends.

    • Was communication good with the owner?

    My communication with Simon was mainly from UK via email; He couldn’t have been more helpful, with him always replying promptly; he even recommended a Goan travel agent friend Mario, who then went on to organize the whole of our second week in Goa before we even left UK. Charlotte mostly meets and greets their guests and is always around to help organize things like money exchange, massages, how to get to the beach, places to visit, taxis etc. Again, Charlotte couldn’t have been more helpful and was always around and nothing was ever too much trouble for her. Simon and Charlotte’s love of their place is obvious.

    • Were there any unique local activities not to be missed?

    We went mainly to chill out, but we did arrange a trip to Hampi, the 2nd most important sacred site in India after the Taj Mahal, we were told. We went as part of a group, organized by Simon’s travel agent friend Mario and travelled 3rd class by train; this too is an experience not to be missed and having a courier all the way, including travelling on the train with us, was a huge plus. The priest’s house, recommended by Charlotte is also not to be missed, with an amazing 7-course luncheon thrown in as part of the visit.

    • Anything else you would like to share?

    Acommodation at Vivenda is lovely, comfortable, friendly and absolutely full of character, having been designed and converted by Simon from dilapidated buildings. The only problem we had was with the mattresses (we stayed in two different rooms and were able to look at the others). My husband has a back injury which only causes him a problem at night and he did find the beds too hard and unyielding as the mattresses were of foam set on, for the most part, solid bases. It wasn’t a problem for me, however anyone who needs a sprung mattress (as we had at other Goan hotels) would be advised to check this out with Simon before booking.

    • How was your experience with the IVHE trade coordinating team?

    As new members we didn’t really know what to expect from IVHE, however we needn’t have been concerned – from start to finish it all went like clockwork, with nothing left to chance. Communication with your team was excellent, with emails answered quickly.

    Mrs Pauline Diplock and Mr Stuart Diplock (26 Feb 2015)

    Simon & Charlotte are truly excellent hosts, having recommended the best restaurants to visit, as well as suggesting day trips to see as much as their region of Goa. We truly appreciated their help arranging reliable taxi drivers with such professionalism and skill. (Charlotte is fluent in Hindi, and knows how to get things done quickly in India, not a small feat!)

    The lovingly restored historic property they run as a boutique inn is a true architectural gem. For the avid reader: the property is filled with lots of lovely books on India, and Indian culture to leaf through during those hot afternoons. A wonderful collection of bikes were available for us to use, too.

    Their staff members were all so lovely and bubbly, helping taking such good care of us during our stay. Their young chef created simply divine Goan cuisine for us to savour over many memorable dinners during our stay. Plus, they feature a very good selection of domestic and international wines to choose from, all extremely affordable.

    To conclude, if you want to experience the real Goa, this is the place to stay, as Simon & Charlotte are true characters to meet, and they will make your visit to Majorda truly unique.

    Namaste,

    Richard & James

    Mr. Richard Maloney And Mr. James Morris (01 Jun 2010)

    Recently I stayed at the charming boutique hotel, Vivenda Dos Palhacos in Goa, India. Simon and Charlotte Hayward (a brother and sister team) were wonderful hosts attending to every detail, helping plan each day of their guests sightseeing tour in the state of Goa. The boutique hotel is furnished in a chic style with a quirky flair, reflecting the owners personalities. I stayed in the luxury tent which was quite comfortable and added a bit of fun and adventure to my visit. Thank you IVHE for your professional service and wonderful communication and consideration to detail throughout my booking.

    Sandy Simonian

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    Sandy Simonian (28 Apr 2010)

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    At a glance

    Property Boutique hotel, Resort, B&B (rental property)
    Exchanges Credits Exchange
    Units
    Ooty | sleeps 2 (4 to 11 credits) per week
    Konnager | sleeps 2 (6 to 16 credits) per week
    The Chummery | sleeps 2 (6 to 15 credits) per week
    Ballygunge | sleeps 2 (4 to 11 credits) per week
    Alipur | sleeps 2 (5 to 14 credits) per week
    Madras | sleeps 2 (5 to 14 credits) per week
    Chanpara | sleeps 2 (9 to 13 credits) per week
    Guests 14
    Min stay none
    phone verified
    experienced exchanger