Aashyana

Candolim, Anjuna & North Goa, India Book from

Kick back in these super-slick villas and cottages, set in 4 acres of tropical garden with direct access to the golden sands of Candolim Beach (villas sleep 6-13; cottages sleep 2-4)
Tucked away behind the busy village of Candolim, Aashyana Lakhanpal is one of Goa's best-kept secrets. This modern villa, owned by Indian entrepreneur Ajai Lakhanpal and designed by French architects Arvind and Nita d'Souza, brings a slice of contemporary western chic to the coast of India. With its 5 palatial suites, the main house is a super-cool venue for parties of 10-13; smaller groups and families might prefer one of the 3 casinhas (cottages) at the front of the grounds, sleeping 2-4 each; or the newer Villa Venus which sleeps 6 in 3 double bedrooms.

Aashyana means 'nest', and once you arrive you won't want to leave. And with 19 staff for the main villa alone, including 2 on-site masseurs, there is little need to. Stroll through the huge tropical gardens to the pool, or slip onto bustling Candolim beach and watch the sun go down. The chef cooks excellent Goan and western dishes with home-grown produce, eaten under the palms or on the wraparound veranda. A meditation room with Hindu votive sculptures and a nightly incense-burning ceremony in the garden give the place a spiritual feeling. Staff are on hand to attend to your every need, and can organise anything from water sports to performances by local musicians.

Highs

  • The villas, cottages and grounds are full of wonderful open spaces, with lots of verandas, open-air showers and airy bedrooms
  • The slick swimming pool is very large, with ozonated and chlorine-free water specially treated to promote wellbeing
  • Traditional Goan food is eaten under the stars in a fabulous entertaining area - great for a party
  • If you're coming with kids and/or nannies, the casinhas are perfect for little ones
  • Walking down to the beach through the tropical garden, filled with coconut palms and cashew, lime and guava trees, is a fantastic start to the day
  • You can enjoy the luxury of having your every care attended to, whether it's being massaged or driven to local hotspots for a spot of shopping

Lows

  • If you rent the main villa (for up to 13), you should be prepared for other guests in the casinhas - or pay extra for exclusive use
  • The contemporary architecture may not be to everyone's taste
  • Some people may find so many staff hanging around slightly unnerving
  • There are some mosquitoes at night - bring plenty of repellent
  • This place isn't very toddler-friendly, with lots of angular lines, and children could easily wander off to the pool or beach if unattended

Best time to go

November to March is the main tourist season in Goa and brings the driest weather. The region can get particularly busy over Christmas and New Year. If you want total peace and quiet and don't mind high humidity, sudden (warm) drenchings and occasional waterfalls on the roads and roofs, visit during the June-October monsoon months - you'll be almost alone on the beaches.

Our top tips

Pack beachwear, some sarongs and an iPod for lazing by the pool, and some of your favourite DVDs if travelling out of season. You'll also need plenty of mosquito repellent and long sleeves for the evenings.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Luxury Villas
  • 2 villas and 3 cottages
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room: Main Villa

Rooms

There's a wonderfully light and airy aesthetic to the main villa, with an easy flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. The back of the ground floor is completely open to the palms, so guests can sink into cream sofas in the colonnaded verandas and spot wildlife in the garden. At the end of the corridor, a slate pool filled with carp and a statue of Ganesh creates a feeling of calm.

Inside, the house is full of contemporary Indian art collected and commissioned by Mr Lakhanpal. Writing desks, objets d'art, lamps, vases and musical instruments are dotted around the house to break up the rectangular lines. This is also the case in the garden, where sculptures poke out from the undergrowth.

The 5 double-bedded suites are spacious, stylish and modern - and nicely spaced so you never feel like you're getting on top of each other. The cream and white main suite is split over 2 levels and has a veranda with magnificent views of the garden. The downstairs suite has a contemporary four-poster bed and imposing modern art on the wall. The other downstairs double is a little more compact but has the advantage of an outdoor bath tub - the perfect place to relax after a long day in the Goan sun. All suites have their own bathroom, excellent storage space and private outside areas. There is also a TV area with a plasma screen and DVD player.

The 3 independent, self-catering casinhas at the front of the property are cosier and a tad less stylish than the main house, but still clean and bright, with a modern aesthetic. They each have one double and one twin bedroom, plus living, dining and kitchen areas. Named after the signs of the Zodiac, they're laid out according to Feng Shui principles, with open-air bathrooms boasting coloured cement pigment and polished stone floors - perfect for feeling at one with your surroundings.

A recent addition is the newly restored, Villa Venus, a 3-bedroom Portuguese bungalow from the 19th century which you pass en route to the main villa. It looks like a great option for a larger family seeking style and seclusion (though we have not seen it in person yet). Surrounded by high walls, palms and lush greenery, it also has its own 20-metre pool off to one side.

Inside is a large (10m x 10m) open-plan, living space with a dining area and kitchen, and 3 ensuite double bedrooms each with their own access to the garden. It doesn't look quite as chic as the main villa, but white walls, dark wood furniture and terracotta-tiled floors keep the décor smart and simple, with plenty of bright cushions and artworks to bring colour.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbeque
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Oven
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Tv
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

If you're staying in the main villa the house chef will prepare your meals, starting with a mighty breakfast feast made up of pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and fruit - or a full-on curry if you prefer.

For lunch and dinner, you can discuss dietary requirements with the chef, but make sure you try the Goan dishes: our fish curry was superb. Otherwise, you can expect plenty of chicken and mutton, some excellent vegetarian fare and a small range of western food, such as a simple but tasty spaghetti pomodoro. Many dishes use fresh produce grown in the vegetable garden. There's lots of choice about where to dine - under the palms, on the veranda or at the beachside sit-out.

The casinhas and Villa Venus are let on a self-catering basis, and have fully equipped kitchenettes with a gas hob, a fridge, crockery and cutlery etc. Again, the house chef is available to prepare lunch and dinner on request, and you have a breakfast hamper provided for you, which is replenished every day.

If you prefer to eat out, the beach shacks are inexpensive and serve good Goan fish; you could order food from them and bring it back to eat on your veranda. There are also some good restaurants within a 10-minute drive, including I-95, After Eight, La Reverie and Le French, all serving western food.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • In house cook
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take a dip in the lovely 25m pool, surrounded by sunloungers and palm trees; or just chill out in one of the many screened sitting areas

  • Stroll through the private gate onto bustling Candolim Beach, where you can swim in the shadow of huge tankers, or cruise up and down the golden sands checking out the beach shacks and hawkers

  • Have a go at one of the watersports (jet-skiing, parasailing and banana boat hire) on offer at the beach

  • Ask for a massage from one of the on-site masseuses; there's a dedicated massage room with wicker screens letting a soft breeze waft through as you relax with a soothing treatment

  • A driver can take you to Old Goa to see the remains of St Francis Xavier's body, still preserved in the Basilica of Bom Jesus

  • Spare some time for exploring the backstreets of Fontainhas, the old quarter of the capital Panjim, where the Portuguese influence on Goa remains evident. You can see the colonial villas in their faded glory, visit the 16th-century Adilshahi Palace and enjoy tapas at the local eateries

  • Kids will enjoy the Goa Science Centre, also in Panjim, where interactive exhibits are scattered across a lush park. There's also an audutorium showing 3D films

  • Head to the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, set on the island of Chorao along the Mandovi River. Covered in a thick layer of mangrove, it's home to a variety rare and endangered species, including mudskippers and black drongos

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Fishing
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being

Kids

Children are welcome, provided their parents make sure they're supervised at all times (there are sharp edges, unprotected drops and no pool attendant). There are plenty of staff, but some families like to bring their own nanny/nannies, who can sleep in the cottages with the kids. The beach is sandy and Goa is generally child-friendly (but not always the most salubrious place). Extra mattresses (but not cots) are available for children and babysitters can be arranged on request.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

7/
Rooms
7/
Food
10/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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