Even after having lived in Mumbai for a really long time, I missed the wanderlust beach weekend visit to the phenomenal and chilling city of Goa. I’d heard many stories and was excited for the fact that I was finally visiting. We were an enormous and loud family of 22 and out to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of my parents. We programmed a short 2 night stay at what I consider to be the best hotel-villa establishment I have seen and experienced. Named Ahilya by the Sea, it is an Ocean facing luxury lodging, extremely exquisite, consisting of 3 beautiful Portuguese-Balinese style villas, an exotic tree house villa and 2 fine alluring pools. The facing sea shore is the coco beach, one of the last beaches in Goa with its own fishing village. It is also known as the Dolphin Bay and you can spot Dolphins frolicking in the mornings from your room balcony!

This stunning housing was built as a family home 14 years ago by the granddaughter of Antonio Xavier, Goa’s most famous painter.

The greens and tranquility make a flavorful mix with the entire place that is strongly inclined towards arts, music and cuisine (the owning family’s passions!)

We received one of the warmest welcomes by the owner, on-property Manager and staff there. I couldn’t blink because of the beauty that struck me as I stepped into the villa. A salty and relaxing breeze hit my mind and I instantly felt at peace. I took a tour of the villas and knew then that I would not be able to capture the beauty of each corner and room in my camera.

Situated in Nerul, North Goa, it is neighboring to the buzzing Candolim beach and streets with great shopping and delightful restaurants. For the first night we had pre booked restaurant Antares in Vagator beach (Masterchef Australia contestant Sarah Todd’s own restaurant and also one of the most popular places to be). An evening that was too good because of the great ambience, music, food, cocktails and shisha and two unforgettable beautiful entertainment dancers whom we joined as the mood of the night uplifted. Renting self-drive cars is reasonably convenient although google maps will not always be spot-on while taking you through the skinny roads of the inner city. Something pleasantly different about this trip was that I only wanted to spend as much time as I could in the Villa. Being an avid traveler, for the first time, I didn’t feel the need to discover the city. I was so touched by the homely and highest-quality service of the staff and the proactive care and provision shown by the Manager Mathieu Chanard who had stolen many hearts because of his warm and exceptional conduct and divine meal preparation. We cancelled all our plans the next day to be blessed to eat one of the best lunches (Italian and Greek) I had ever had and an authentic Goan dinner prepared by the best Goan chef in town, Sarita, also their in-house chef. Some did head to the beach nearby for water sports and parasailing, while some of us stayed back and had a fun time in the pool.

It was a lot to do with the celebrations and the happiness of being with my large, warm family. Yet, the villa and its little world of experience made my trip wholesome and alleviating. One needs to live there and experience so much more than what I have to say. I am sure to stay there sometime again. Next time I will probably extend the days and explore more of the city too! Or maybe I’ll just stay in and enjoy the bliss and the beauty of, and indulge in, the Paradise vacation that doesn’t seem to vacate my heart!

– Shreya Gupta (admin@gratistales.com)