Coco Shambhala Sindhudurg

nr Malvan, Konkan Coast (Maharashtra), India Book from Book from £396 per night

A sleek, tropical hideaway: just 4 villas with private infinity pools, 200m from the beach and a world away from everything else
It took a team of some 200 craftsmen from all over India to bring owner Giles’ master plan to fruition. Four villas, inspired by the ‘Tropical Modernism’ movement, are a homage to the works of Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. Clean lines and open-plan spaces abound, and the indoor-outdoor living spaces give a sense of peace and oneness with nature. It's perfect for couples or families seeking seclusion. Whether in bed, the pool, the dining or living area, you constantly feel connected with the outside world.

The setting? An unexplored stretch of the Konkan Coast framed by swaying palm trees. Save for a few local holiday-makers, the town of Malvan does not attract a crowd, although you may spot the odd parasailor gliding past neighbouring Tarkarli Beach: the place for watersports and diving. There’s no restaurant on-site but after a day spent languishing by your pool, the attentive catering team will come and take your order a few hours before serving it to you in the privacy of your villa. Cordon Bleu-trained chef Shagun Mehra has created a distinctive menu of stand-out dishes, a saving grace as there’s nothing around for miles. And that is exactly why you’d come here. Giles' previous opening, Coco Shambhala in North Goa, has been a runaway success and we predict the same for this gem.

Highs

  • Each beautiful 2-bedroom villa has a private infinity pool with panoramic sea views. Need we say more?
  • The chef-prepared meals, better than restaurant quality; all-inclusive packages are available
  • Great activities on-site include creative workshops, puppet shows for kids, a spa - and lots of nearby watersports
  • We loved the simple décor and use of natural materials such as coconut-wood furniture and traditional Mangalorean clay tiles
  • Bose speakers, a stocked minibar fridge and kitchenette make your villa feel more like a home than a hotel

Lows

  • A 3-hour drive from Goa airport, but transfers are included in the rate
  • No bars or restaurants nearby, so if you’re after a Goa-style 'scene', this isn't the place for you
  • Internet access is patchy, but it's a good opportunity to disconnect from modern-day life
  • The nearest beach is a little so-so but there are pristine ones a scenic boat ride away

Best time to go

Open all year round. The south Indian coastline is generally best visited between November and February, when the weather is dry and the temperatures in the low 30s. The Konkan Coast makes a great alternative to Goa's Christmas and New Year crowds. During the monsoon (typically May-August), special screens are erected to protect the villa's indoor-outdoor living spaces. It would be an utterly romantic spot to hole up during the dramatic downpours.

Our top tips

Be sure to pack a good selection of good books (or stock up on your Kindle) for afternoons spent recumbent on a poolside sunlounger. Download all your favourite music beforehand so you can stream it on the Bose speakers (it’s unlikely the internet will be good enough). Bug spray in the evenings wouldn’t go amiss either.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Spa
  • Boutique Villas
  • 4 villas sleeping 2-4
  • On-site catering team
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

The villas are carefully designed to let the views do the talking. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors fill rooms with natural light. White linens and mauve block prints are simple yet chic against rustic grey cement and coconut-wood furniture. Each villa has 2 ensuite kingsize bedrooms, a living area and a private sit-out overlooking your pool; drawing the blackout curtains in the morning never gets tiresome. There’s a TV in every room but you won’t spend much time watching it.

Bearing Sanskrit names, each of the 4 villas is almost identical in design. Arka, is closest to the entrance, and good for those that don’t like climbing stairs, whilst Amaresha has a small grassy area behind the pool, great for families. We stayed in Inaya which (though a tough choice) had the best views. At quite an altitude sits Varenya, which offers the most privacy of all the villas. For an unforgettable group holiday, you can take over the entire place.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bose speakers
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • DVD player
  • Fan
  • Fridge
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Kitchenette
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Swimming pool
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

There are no restaurants within a sensible distance, but thankfully Cordon Bleu-trained chef Shagun Mehra and her team are outstanding. All-inclusive packages are available are you can just order meals as required. Celebrating Malvan’s spicy, seafood cuisine, the menu goes a long way beyond the usual dishes of pomfret and kingfish. The kitchen works in tandem with local fisherman to ensure the freshest and most unusual catch of the day (sting ray, anyone?) and staff are taught authentic methods of preparation. Food is locally sourced as much as possible, resulting in innovative Continental creations with an Indian twist.

Served in the comfort of our villa, the Malabar preparation (a regional dish with a spicy tomato and coconut sauce, wrapped in a banana leaf parcel) was refreshingly light and perfectly steamed. The Thai fish cakes, accompanied by a tangy salad of julienned vegetables, were so good we ordered them twice. The chocolate chilli ganache was rich, spicy and sweet enough to satiate even our sweet tooth. For something a little unusual, try the cinnamon churros made from paneer (cheese).

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Fridge
  • Kitchenette
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Meal delivery service
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Boat trips to deserted beaches, dolphin sighting, backwater kayaking, jet skiing, parasailing, snorkelling: the list goes on. One thing Sindhudurg is not short of is watersports
  • Nearby Tarkarli Beach is one of the few places on the Indian mainland for scuba diving; newbies can get PADI certified at the Indian Institute of Diving
  • Book a car and driver to explore the laid-back town of Malvan, known for its sweet mangoes and impressive Sindhudurg Fort
  • There's a great list of in-house activities for grown-ups and children to enjoy: learn to cook traditional Malvan dishes or spin a verse at a poetry workshop
  • For those wanting to stay fit, yoga packages with some of India's best practitioners can be arranged, along with mixed martial arts lessons
  • November to February is the perfect season for whale watching and, on the odd occasion, they can be spotted right from your room
  • Keen walkers can set off with their guide on the Bhogwe Heritage Walk, plus there are plenty of longer jungle treks

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Creative writing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Swimming
  • Whale watching
  • Yoga

Kids

With 2 bedrooms and airy living areas, the villas at Coco Shambhala Sindhudurg are great for families, though the large, unenclosed pool means it is better suited to older children who can be left unsupervised. There are plenty of activities for them to get involved in, with puppet shows on site and an exhaustive list of watersports on nearby Tarkarli Beach. No excuse for the dreaded "I'm booored" here.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Villa Amaresha has a small grassy area behind the pool, great for families. Each villa can provide a single rollaway bed on request for extra guests

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots and high chairs
  • A selection of books and toys

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

Children's meals:

Kids' menus available all day

Kids Activities on site:

    • Traditional puppet shows
    • Creative workshops (for teens of 13 and above)
    • Heritage walks to the village
    • Cooking lessons
    • Beginners birding walks

    Kids Activities nearby:

    • Watersports
    • Beaches
    • Sacred forests
    • Fort ruins
    • Boat rides for dolphin sighting and fishing
    • Take a picnic lunch for a day on a secluded beach

    Families Should Know:

    The infinity pools are unenclosed. All bathrooms are shower only (no tubs)

Distances:

  • Airport: 3 hours (Dabolim)
  • Hospital: 15 minutes
  • Shops: 15 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
7/10
Service
6/10
Value
8/10
Overall

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Rates for Coco Shambhala Sindhudurg