Coco Shambhala

Bardez, Anjuna & North Goa, India Book from Book from £289 per night

Four beautiful villas with chef service and spa pools, set in lush tropical grounds in the charming village of Nerul, a short stroll from quiet Coco beach
Now almost in its 10th year, Coco Shambhala is still one of Goa’s most popular treasured properties. Just a few miles from the popular Candolim and Calungute beaches, this is a hidden slice of paradise. English owner Giles Knapton put 4 years and his ‘heart and soul’ into creating it - and it shows.

Reached by snaking paths through dense foliage around the shared, curved swimming pool, the spacious, shabby chic 2-bedroom villas manage to be both luxurious yet homely. Paint-stripped furniture and Goan antiques add a sense of history while the spa pools, sounds of nature and fragrant breezes make your cares melt away. Each villa has 2 lovingly-furnished bedrooms (1 double and 1 double/twin), a self-catering kitchen (though most guests opt to be cooked for), and an open-to-the-air-and-rafters living room/veranda with plump cushions. The lush garden canopy screens each villa into privacy so they're popular with couples, but Coco Shambhala is particularly fun for group bookings of 8-16.

Living just around the corner, owner Giles is committed to helping the local community, so he’ll encourage you to check out the area, chat with the friendly villagers and enjoy Nerul’s restaurants in the evenings.

Highs

  • A Garden of Eden feel, thanks to the rustling of jacaranda, palm, banana and hibiscus, scents of jasmine and honeysuckle, and cooing and cawing of birds
  • Lovely breakfasts, and 2 on-site chefs to whip up bespoke lunches and dinners for you
  • Elegant, unfussy design, and a homely feel
  • Friendly helpful service; each villa has a dedicated car and driver at your disposal 10 hours a day
  • A large communal swimming pool, plus softly-sprinkling outdoor showers and large spa pools

Lows

  • The kitchens, in comparison to the rest of the villa, feel a little tired and superfluous
  • There are some troublesome crows around to help finish your leftovers if you’re not quick!
  • Ashvini and Bharani’s indoor bathrooms feel a little musty and basic in comparison to the lovely open-air ones of Rohini and Ashlesha
  • Nearby Coco Beach is very much a fishing beach. For swimming there is Candolim and Calangute
  • Very popular; if it's full, try sister property Coco Shambhala Sindhudurg

Best time to go

The generally-accepted tourist season runs from October/November to March/April, with the highest season and largest numbers over Christmas and New Year. But if you 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. The villas are closed from 31 May-30 September as the buildings (particularly the fully-furnished open air verandahs) aren’t designed to cope with the monsoon. But this gives staff a good opportunity to repaint and refurbish.

Our top tips

If you’re planning to use and recharge any of your own equipment, ask staff to buy and bring you a Spike-Guard adapter (INR 400) which will protect it from the danger of meltdowns caused by India’s occasional power-surges.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Honeymoon
Spa
  • Boutique Villas
  • 4 villas (each with 2 bedrooms)
  • 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
  • Jacuzzi
  • Yoga and Pilates instructors
Room:

Rooms

Coco Shambhala’s four spacious 2-bedroom villas come in two designs showcasing indoor/outdoor living. They're beautifully designed throughout: black-and-white photographs are placed by vintage Goan pieces, contemporary comfy furniture contrasts with antique bed frames. And while the airy verandas suggest treetop living, the sandblasted wooden furniture and polished concrete floors lend a soft-edged beach-house feel.

Our favourites, Rohini and Ashlesha, have their bedrooms downstairs, big kitchens, huge verandas and - best of all - outdoor showers with dappled light off their open-sided bathrooms, and romantic spa pools.

Ashvini and Bharani have slightly smaller verandas and kitchens, 1 bedroom upstairs and 1 downstairs, each with simple grey indoor bathrooms attached. Their spa pools are bigger though - round, colonnaded and roofed.

Hot water comes through geysers, which need switching on minutes before you want it, and water is pumped in daily from their well. To cater for Goa’s frequent power-cuts, each villa has an inverter. Internet can be a little intermittent, but it comes with the territory of coastal living. Gorgeous smelling Forest Essentials toiletries are provided on arrival. Each bedroom has air-con as well as a fan, and cable TV with a CD/DVD-player; you’ll need to bring your own music, but there's a selection of movies.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbecue
  • CD player
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots Available
  • DVD player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Jacuzzi
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

There's a great choice of places to eat out locally, but it's just as tempting to stay put for the week and be looked after by Coco Shambhala's two on-site chefs. There’s a menu for your perusal, but most prefer to take their advice. Before arrival and every morning, they'll chat to you about your preferences and personalise their meals to your requests. Daily breakfast can consist of whatever you fancy, served until 4pm! Lunches, snacks and dinners are also available daily. All meals, including breakfast, are served 'in villa', either on your private terrace or inside at the dining table.

Each villa has a kitchen and BBQ, and grocery packs can be supplied on request; useful if you want to cook your own meals. When you arrive, you'll find a complimentary selection of beers, a bottle of champagne, tea, coffee, milk, sugar, a selection of soft drinks, Tropicana juices and packaged drinking water to get you started.

For eating out, your nearest restaurant is Rita’s,which serves simple, tasty local fish dishes. It is a great place to experience authentic, unfussy Goan cuisine. A little further (but still within walking distance) is Café Choccolinos. You can sit in the peaceful garden or their bakery offers takeaways - rather dangerous for the sweet-tooth. A short stroll away is The Literati Bookshop and Café which is worth popping into for coffee, eggs-any-style and Western comfort snacks. Bursting with books, its sofas are a favourite with local book clubs.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Toaster
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Ashlesha
Activity:

Activities

  • Relax and read on your lovely veranda; swim and laze on loungers by the pool; take a dip in your private spa pool
  • Have a massage in Coco Shambhala's spa, specialising in Ayurvedic and signature Forest Essentials treatments, with both male and female therapists
  • Walk to Nerul’s quiet Coco Beach to watch fishermen untangling nets, filling boats with ice or bringing in their catch
  • Bicycle along local paths and lanes through the paddy fields, vegetable crops, backwaters and Coco beach, where a slice of traditional village life can still be seen. Or rent a motorbike - Coco Shambhala can arrange bike or car hire
  • Pop into Candolim for a bit of the hurly-burly you’ve left behind and go shopping for clothes and fabrics at Fab India
  • Hang out at the Literati Bookshop and Café with toast and lassis, and eavesdrop on a book club; fascinating
  • Take a floating casino cruise up the Mandovi River
  • Swim and surf, or sunbathe and read on a cafe/restaurant-provided lounger at Candolim or Calangute beaches (the quietest bit is where they meet at the Pine Tree Shack)
  • Visit the nearby Aguada Fort and Lighthouse on the headland
  • Sightsee in Goa’s river-mouth capital Panjim, particularly the wonderful old Portuguese Fontainhas quarter which seems preserved in another age
  • Book a crocodile- or dolphin-spotting cruise; fishing is very good in the local rivers or take a boat trip from nearby Coco beach for trawl and sea fishing; go out with an experienced group of local bird watchers and environmentalists for excellent accompanied hikes and bird watching expeditions in the local hills
  • Go Cashew-Feni tasting and tour the Spice Farm
  • Watersports are the go round here: whether parascending at sunset over the sea, or windsurfing between November and April (the rip tide is too strong otherwise), or jetskiing at Sinquerim beach
  • Or go sailing or diving, which is pretty good with a wide number of fish species and wrecks to explore

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Hire motorbikes
  • Historical sites
  • Parascending
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Wildlife
  • Windsurfing

Kids

Children and families are welcome. Your villa guidebook details local activities and is updated regularly. Occasionally, during the school holidays, creative kids packages are organised, too.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

The 2-bedroom villas are all ideal for families: each has a double and a twin, and can take an extra bed and baby cot apiece. Parents and kids alike will appreciate their spaciousness.

Baby equipment:

  • High chairs
  • Travel cots
  • Sterilisers
  • Sippy cups
  • Car seats

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Prior to arrival you'll be asked about your child/ren's preferences; there's a kids menu and the kitchens are also useful. Often, children are served ahead of adults, so that you can have a candlelit dinner once they're asleep. Quality adult time!

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool
  • Hide and seek in the lush gardens
  • iPod stations, cable TV, CD/DVD players and WiFi
  • Occasional creative packages: kids yoga, pottery and cooking classes (during school holidays)

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Water park
  • White water rafting
  • Sightseeing and cycling around villages
  • Forts
  • Science museum
  • Water sports at the beach
  • Crab fishing

Families Should Know:

There is no lifeguard at the pool.

Distances:

  • Airport: 45 minutes
  • Hospital: 5 minutes
  • Shops: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 4 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

What can we say? It was excellent. Pure relaxation - even with 3 young kids in tow. The food and service was 1st class - you will have to search far and wide to beat it. The only slightly small gripe - and I must reiterate, it's only slight and won't stop us from coming back - is that the beds are very hard and a little uncomfy, but overall, it was one of the best family holidays to date.

10/10,

A heavenly oasis. The villas are beautiful but it's the team at Coco Shambhala that really make every day special. A wonderful place - we wouldn't hesitate to return.

10/10,

Stunning villa beautifully designed and furnished, we found it difficult to leave for the first 3 days (which was exactly what we needed to recharge). Wonderfully spacious and relaxing veranda and stunning pool with immaculate planting, just a joy. Coco Shambhala has shot to the top of our 'favourite places' list and we can't wait to revisit. Service was impeccable, so helpful and friendly although one thing that took a bit of getting used to was staff appearing suddenly on the terrace unannounced - It's possible they rang the (charming) bell at the front door, but with so many clangs, dongs, dings and rings from the village it was hard to pick it out. We also loved the super comfortable beds (top marks), the walk in wardrobe, outdoor showers and jet pool. Internet connection needs serious attention, especially as I needed to finish some work. Coco Shambhala is a really wonderful place. Well done to all and thank you.

10/10,

Our stay at Coco Shambhala was absolutely amazing. The villa was stunning and had everything we needed, the staff were so fantastic, the food was incredible and the service was impeccable. Nothing was too much trouble and gave us everything we needed without hesitation. We will definitely be back and have already recommended to our friends.

10/10,

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Rates for Coco Shambhala