Coco Shambhala

Bardez, Anjuna & North Goa, India Book from IRs25,000

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
Opened in December 2008 and 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 villas manage to be both luxurious yet homely. Paint-stripped furniture and Goan antiques add a sense of history and the cool 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/verandah with plump cushions. You even get just the right amount of gadgetry (iPod docks, flatscreen TVs) - who could ask for more? 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.

Having moved out to live on-site in May 2010, 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 honesuckle, and cooing and cawing of birds
  • Lovely breakfasts included in the rate, and 2 on-site chefs to whip up bespoke lunches and dinners for you. Good restaurants nearby, too
  • Elegant, unfussy design, and a homely feel
  • Friendly helpful service, and each villa has a dedicated car and driver at your disposal 10 hours a day, included in the tariff
  • Softly-sprinkling outdoor showers in Ashlesha and Rohini; large, colonnaded spa pools in Ashvini and Bharani

Lows

  • Lots of tiny, biting ants in the grass by the pool
  • Ashvini and Bharani’s indoor bathrooms feel a little musty and basic in comparison to the lovely open-air ones of Rohini and Ashlesha
  • Danger of indelible ‘orange blotch’ caused by bat poo if you leaves clothes hanging outside after dark
  • Pricey but you do get airport transfers, breakfasts and use of car and driver included in the rates

Best time to go

The generally-accepted tourist season runs from October/November to April/May, 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 (IRs 250) which will protect it from the danger of meltdowns caused by India’s occasional power-surges.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • 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 4 spacious villas come in 2 designs showcasing indoor/outdoor living.

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

Ashvini and Bharani have slightly smaller verandahs 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.

Beautifully designed and decorated throughout (black-and-white photographs are placed cheek by jowl with vintage Goan pieces; contemporary comfy furniture is contrasted with antique bed frames; colours range from soft cinnamon through to kingfisher blue) - the villas feel like an idyllic home-from- home within minutes of arriving.

Each bedroom has aircon as well as a fan, and cable TV with a CD/DVD-player, though you’ll need to bring your own music/movies. And while the airy verandahs suggest treetop living, the sandblasted wooden furniture and polished concrete floors lend a soft-edged beach-house feel.

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 and battery pack which provides enough power for 1 light and 1 fan in each room for up to 6 hours if you’re frugal. You get a starter pack of toiletries on arrival, and soap daily.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbeque
  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Jacuzzi
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

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 2 on-site chefs, who personalise their meals to your requests. They don't work with any particular menu; instead, before arrival and every morning, they'll chat to you about your preferences, and create a menu for any meals you'd like. Daily breakfast is included in the rate, and can consist of whatever you fancy, served until 4pm! Lunches, snacks and dinners are also available daily (extra cost). Suggested meals change according to season and availability of fresh ingredients; all meals, including breakfast, are served 'in villa' 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 for making snacks/light meals. When you arrive, you'll find a complimentary selection of beers, a bottle of champagne, handmade Belgian chocolates, tea, coffee, milk, sugar, a selection of soft drinks, Tropicana juices and packaged drinking water to get you started.

For eating out, Posh is the smartest restaurant in Nerul, serving international and Goan food in a 150-year-old Portuguese villa. In nearby Candolim there’s the even posher, and funkier, Indo-European restaurant called Waves. It has a bar, outside dining, an art gallery and club at night, and serves up dishes like Pomegranate Serenade (marinated chicken), Create-Your-Own-Thali plus Catch of the Day.

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:

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

Activities

  • Relax and read on your lovely verandah; swim and laze on black-leather loungers by the pool; take a dip in your private spa pool;

  • Have a massage in Coco Shambhala's Ayurvedic hut or rejuvenate your mind body and soul through Ayurveda, Armatherapy and personal training from visiting 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, although there are no special facilities for them. But the iPod stations, cable TV, CD/DVD players and internet access should keep them well entertained when they’re not spending hours in the pools or playing hide-and-seek in the lush garden. Baby cots are available and each villa can fit a rollaway bed too. Coco Shambhala can pre-shop for any special food requirements you may need and the kitchens will be useful.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
10/
Overall

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