“A super-elegant, revamped Portuguese mansion in Siolim, with 3 bedrooms and a riverside tree platform to kick back on”
Surrounded by woods, and only 15 minutes' drive from Morjim and Ashvem beaches, Siolim village boasts the dazzling-white St Anthony’s church, and lots of beautiful old Portuguese/Goan houses. Though sadly they’re often empty and crumbling, and the village centre is run-down and dusty.
In stark contrast, Noi Varo’s intercom-secured gate opens onto a colonnaded porch between wooden-decked, waterlily-encircled bedroom verandas. Beyond is the huge, cool atrium hallway, featuring a long, gurgling, spotlit fountain, which also serves as a heated lounge pool. The 3 bedrooms leading off this atrium are a graceful blend of charming century-old Portuguese and chic minimalist brand-new. They can be booked individually or together if you're renting out the mansion in its entirety. Out back you'll find a thin infinity pool lined by decking, plus a shady sand garden and tree-platform beside a spur of the wide Chapora river.
- The spacious, elegant and uncluttered design and décor throughout
- The original antique features - jackwood doors and shutters, brass bolts and clasps, pod chests and a dowry box
- The charming, eager-to-please staff
- The wonderful fusion menu
- The sunbathing deck with swimming pool, palm-shaded barbecue area and big river-viewing tree platform
- Despite a large government sign forbidding it, there’s rubbish in the river, which is sometimes smelly
- The delapidation of Siolim village contrasts sharply with Noi Varo’s luxury
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Guesthouse
- Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Yoga platform
The rooms are spacious, artistic and serene, with ochre polished concrete floors and air-conditioning, plus lounge areas. Heavy original jackwood doors and shutters lend a satisfyingly antique feel, though their clunky old bolts tend to need wangling. The rust-red, orange and ochre upholstery is all handwoven in India, and dressing gowns and towels are waffle-weave.
Wide beds (all doubles) are dressed in luxury-soft bedlinen. Wall-mounted TVs face the beds, and you can get a DVD player on request – though you’ll need to bring your own movies. One bedroom (in the Family Suite) has a mezzanine level with an additional double bed, reached via vertical metal rungs, so it's a good choice for parents with older children.
Bathrooms manage to be both modern (with Philippe Starck fittings and luxury rain showers) yet also soothingly earthy; natural soaps are supplied. The Presidential Suite has a walk-in double-header shower.
- Air conditioning
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Plunge pool
- Satellite TV
Shunya spent 6 months training their head chef before they finalised the exotic and extensive menu; he now cooks at Kaju and oversees the kitchen at Noi.
You need to order meals the evening before or after breakfast; prices fluctuate according to market rates. We tried the multi-dished ‘Goan feast’ which was spicy and interesting, particularly the digestif of ‘Coconut and Tamarind Curry’ in a glass; the signature 'Crab Leek Souffle', 'Bouillabaisse' and the 'Steamed Squid stuffed with herbs' dishes are all recommended. The simple window-walled dining room seats 6-8, and fresh fish barbecues out in the sand garden can be ordered a day in advance.
The following day, a simple, tasty breakfast of coffee, fruit juice, warm poi rolls and poached egg was served out on our little deck veranda; you can order eggs as omelettes, boiled, scrambled and sunny side up as well. Porridge, muesli, homemade yoghurt and condiments (lemon curd, passion fruit curd) are also on the menu.
For a change of scene, visit the quaint, tiny Candle Light restaurant just down the road. Run by the friendly Tony, it serves cheap and cheerful food: local chicken, pork and beef recipes, fried or curried seafood and Chinese. Otherwise Siolim is short on restaurants, so guests tend to eat either in-house or down at one of the beaches.
- Dinner by arrangement
- Lunch by arrangement
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Kick back on the sundeck’s 2-legged chairs and loungers or laze on the treehouse platform, cushioned garden steps or wicker armchairs
- Take a yoga class on the sand garden’s yoga platform
- Swim, windsurf or sunbathe and read on a cafe/restaurant-provided lounger on one of a multitude of beaches (15-20 minutes drive away)
- Go exploring by rented motorbike
- Sightsee in Goa’s river-mouth capital Panjim, particularly the wonderful old Portuguese Fontainhas quarter which seems preserved in another age
- Visit the plethora of old forts and dazzling white churches left behind by the Portuguese
- Visit the local Mapusa (pronounced ‘Mapsa’) market, or famous Wednesday and Saturday night markets in Anjuna, both just 15 minutes' drive away
- Book a bird-watching, crocodile- or dolphin-spotting cruise; Kaju Varo can book you in with local celebrity naturalist Rahul Alvarez for bird and reptile trips
- Take a day trip to a Spice Farm - tour, light lunch and Cashew-Feni-tasting all included
- Go sailing or parascending over the sea
- Take an (in-house-organised) coastal angling trip, for a few hours, or a day and a night with a basic lodge sleepover
- Snorkelling trips can also be arranged; locals will point you to the best secret sites
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Farm tour
- Historical sites
- Motorbike hire
- Museums / galleries
- Shopping / markets
Noi Varo might be rather too elegant for young kids, but they’d enjoy the flatscreen TVs with DVDs, computer games and iPod-playing in the colourful lounge, plus, of course, the pool, sand-garden (and barbecues) and riverside tree platform. There's a Family Suite, and cots and rollaway beds are available. Child-minding can be arranged if you want an adults-only night out.
Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
The Family Suite has a loft space with a double bed so is ideal for families with older children (the steps up to it are quite hazardous so not ideal for youngsters). The Family Suite and the Presidential Suite each have a divan in their lounge areas.
Noi Varo is in the historic village of Siolim, in the Bardez Taluka of North Goa. Close to the dazzlingly white St Anthony's church, it sits behind intercommed gates on the righthandside of the little road which heads west towards the sea, following a tributary of the Chapora river.
Dabolim Airport (60km) is served by internal and international flights. It is roughly 1 hour's drive away from Siolim.
Mapusa is the nearest railway station, 7km or about 15 minutes drive away.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.
- Dabolim International Airport 60.0 km GOI
- Beach 6.0 km
- Shops 0.5 km
- Restaurant 6.0 km