Kahani Paradise

South Goa & Gokarna, India Book from Book from £108 per night

Just along the coast from Goa, and yet a whole world away, sits this exquisite beachfront hideaway with six antique-filled suites
At the end of a winding earth track in Gokarna, where the Western Ghats dip into the Arabian Sea, and paddy-fields yield to lush palm forest, hides a very special boutique guesthouse. Opened in 2018, it's the lifetime project of a British family whose quest for a new Goa - without the crowds or construction sites - led them to this 20-acre estate deep in the jungle, yet a short walk above Paradise Beach.

Through a mix of sympathetic design, painstaking craftsmanship and curatorial genius, the house effortlessly blends the inside and the outside: think Grand Designs meets Goa. You enter through an antique Rajasthani door - the first of many - to be hit by a breathtaking panorama of land meeting sea, fringed by an infinity pool and canopied sundecks. Taking our chilled coconuts and face towels, we soon realised this is a place to hit the reset button, to enjoy slow, graceful living: delicious lunches on the kitchen terrace, afternoons watching bobbing fishing boats from the pool, sunset G&Ts at the hilltop hideout. Made up of just six suites, tranquility is total: our only companions (besides the infallibly smiling staff) were monkeys and parakeets in the trees above. This place is really, really special.

Highs

  • The gardens are an oasis of tropical flowers, coconut, betel and banana orchards
  • The wellness: there's a small spa, guided yoga sessions and healthy Indian cooking
  • Gorgeous decor: from Burmese teak floors to Delhi-designer chairs, it's an exquisite restoration
  • Staff are welcoming and attentive, yet never invasive or stuffy
  • The story: a 10-year project that’s finally come to fruition, creating a home you feel welcomed into

Lows

  • Getting there is a little tricky: 3.5 hours' drive from Goa airport, with the final 15 mins along a bumpy dirt track (but it’s worth it!)
  • Fitness fanatics may want to wait until the end of 2019, when a new yoga centre will open, with a gym and treatment rooms
  • No twin-bedded rooms
  • It's expensive by Goan or Gokarnan standards - but it's a completely different experience (and bear in mind that rates include dinner)

Best time to go

October to April is your best bet: beautiful sunny days, blue skies and marginally cooler evenings. Christmas and New Year are extremely popular so you'll need to book well ahead.

Avoid May and early June, which are sweltering; the rest of June through September is pretty wet but the temperatures are more bearable.

Our top tips

We enjoyed waking early for sunrise yoga on the terrace, then back to bed until we felt ready for a swim and breakfast. At sunset, we loved our hilltop drinks overlooking Paradise Beach: one of our favourite moments (ask staff to arrange it for you).

While WiFi dongles are available (and proper broadband is "on the way"), our advice is to switch off your gadgets and disconnect. This is a place for a luxurious detox.

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Romantic
Spa
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 6
  • Dinner included, lunch by arrangement
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 27 May 2020 - 30 Jun 2020
  • 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
  • Tennis Court
  • Bicycles Available
  • Laundry Service
  • Yoga lessons
  • Croquet lawn
Room:

Rooms

There are just six sumptuous suites at Kahani Paradise: exceptionally comfortable and impeccably curated spaces, melding traditional Indian textiles with sleek modern design. Each has huge antique doors (which the owner has collected over a lifetime), gigantic beds and an abundance of pillows: relaxation is paramount here.

Restored headboards sit side by side with contemporary lamps and wooden sculptures: you could almost be in a design museum. In the bathrooms, granite floors give way to deluging rainfall showers, with a plentiful supply of Ayca's all natural skin care.

Each suite is slightly different, though the aesthetic is shared. We stayed in the Suite with Sea View, whose expansive all-black bathroom contrasted with the soft hues of the bedroom. We loved waking up and slipping through sliding doors to the patio to greet the waking jungle. The Master Suite enjoys the most majestic views at the top of the house, but unless you're on honeymoon we're not sure it warrants the extra dosh.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries

Eating

Fresh fish, local vegetables and tropical fruit - all prepared on site to traditional Indian recipes - are the order of the day at Kahani Paradise. Everything we ate came from the in-house kitchen, and food was served at a never-ending Balinese table, carved out of a single tree, with incredible views of land and sea.

Wander down to the kitchen's terrace for breakfast of fresh coffee, freshly squeezed juices and a range of Indian or international dishes: maybe masala dosa (rice and lentil crepe) stuffed with silky sambar, or eggs any way you want them. For lunch (on request) and dinner (included), the team do Indian fare particularly well: the prawn curry and fluffy appams (Iight Indian pancakes) are among the best we've had in Southern India.

One evening we had dinner outside our room on a candlelit terrace, which was magical - so do ask if you're looking for something even more special. At the time of our visit, Kahani was still awaiting its alcohol licence, but the goal is to have a small range of wine and spirits available for its first full season.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • In house cook
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Walk down the jungle path to Paradise Beach (10 mins) for secluded swims - with only dolphins for company, if you’re lucky
  • Take a boat one morning with friendly fishermen to explore the peninsula’s craggy seascape, from hidden coves to red-sand beaches
  • Jump in a rickshaw to Gokarna, where saltwater hippies line beaches and hawkers share the street with sadhus en route to temples: there are a few hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and Thursdays are your chance to haggle at the market
  • Better still, hire one of Kahani's two classic Royal Enfield motorcycles and cruise around the surrounding countryside
  • Back at Kahani, wander around the estate’s beautifully-landscaped 20-acre gardens: awash with tropical flora and fauna, it's a curator’s dream
  • Book a massage on the lower terrace or in your suite (48hrs notice required), or a private yoga class overlooking the bay (the vista is hard to beat!) You can also play croquet on the lawn, plus there's a badminton court.

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Badminton
  • Boat trips
  • Croquet
  • Dolphin spotting
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Motorbike hire
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Wildlife

Kids

Although all ages are welcome, we don’t think Kahani Paradise is the best spot for younger children. Savour the space, peace and quiet and bring them along when they’re a little older. Open-minded teens will enjoy the beach shacks and boat trips, the bustle of Gokarna town, and of course the hotel's pool.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Each of the six suites can take an extra bed.

Kid Friendly:

Location

Kahani Paradise is in Karnataka state, around 15-20 minutes drive (along a bumpy track) from Gokarna town.

By Air:
Fly into Goa Dabolim (150km / 3.5 hours' drive), or alternately into Mangalore (4.5 hours' drive).

By Train:
The nearest train stations are Gokarna Road (25 mins' drive) and Kumta (50 mins).

Kahani Paradise is happy to organise transfers from the airport, or to arrange a local pickup for those taking the train. Helicopter transfers straight to the property can also be arranged.

Airports:

  • Dabolim International Airport 155.0 km

Other:

  • Beach 0.5 km
  • Shops 0.0 km
  • Restaurant 0.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
8/10
Food
10/10
Service
8/10
Value
9/10
Overall

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