“Feel at one with nature in these restored 19th-century Portuguese dwellings on an idyllic beach (each sleeping 2-7)”
Built in the late 1880s, and restored in 2006 by fashion photographer Denzil Sequeira, each 2- or 3-bedroom house now has stylish interiors with cobalt-blue bathrooms, muslin-draped four-posters, and bare-brick feature walls. Security guards guarantee your peace and safety, waiters and room cleaners melt into the scenery, and the houses sit on a sleepy sand bar accessible only via a 60m bamboo footbridge. Life doesn't get much better than being lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves, waking up to tropical bird calls and walking down the semi-private beach for a dip in the sea - all before breakfast under the branches of a 100-year-old banyan tree.
- Sitting on your veranda with a glass of wine while butterflies flutter and birds tweet - it's really good stuff for the soul
- We revisited in 2015 and the white-sand beach is still nice and quiet - perfect for long, romantic walks
- The open-air beach shack restaurant has idyllic coconut grove views and tasty food
- Pure peace and tranquility - there are no cars, you walk the last 500m to the houses via Otter Creek's bamboo bridge (although your luggage is carried by staff)
- Great for a 'childhood unplugged' getaway; most of the houses are suitable for families
- The houses are affordable enough that you could easily book one for just the 2 of you
- Not for those seeking your archetypal luxe resort; tech-dependents may feel adrift without in-room WiFi
- There's a longish walk (150m) along dark paths from the houses to the dining shack
- Occasional power cuts for short durations, but there's a back-up generator
- The food: whilst perfectly good, this place deserves great
- A very strict cancellation policy (and 7-night minimum stays preferred)
Best time to go
Our top tips
- The houses are hidden away in a coconut grove so bring a bright torch if you want to go walking solo after dark - mainly to avoid treading on snakes and the fallen leaves they might be hiding under
- Mosquitos are most prevalent at dawn and dusk. During this time windows and doors should be closed, long-sleeved clothing worn, and plug-in mossie-machines activated
- Beach Villas
- 4 villas (for 4-7)
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Closed: 01 Jun - 30 Sep 2019 + 2020
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
The 4 villas are situated under swaying palms, a short sandy walk from the beach, and are widely spaced for privacy. Interiors share a soothing, rustic palette of red, ochre and white. Cobalt-blue bathrooms are eco-friendly and open to the sky.
Of the 3-bedroom villas, The Priest's House is the most luxurious. Within its old ochre-yellow walls you’ll find all ensuite bedrooms and lots of character. That said, The Captain’s House is more private (set 150m from the other villas), and has a distinctly romantic feel. The master bedroom has an ensuite; the other 2 rooms share a bathroom.
The Bakery and The Piggery, both with rust-coloured walls, have 2 ensuite bedrooms each, plus better sea views. Because of its layout, with a separate entrance and veranda for each of the 2 bedrooms, The Bakery is let on an individual-room basis.
None of the houses have central living rooms, but each has its own spacious veranda with hammocks and wicker chairs. Excluding The Bakery, all have music systems with iPod docks and most beds are wooden four-posters with muslin drapes (more romantic than mosquito-proof, but mozzies aren't really a problem except at dawn and dusk).
- Air conditioning
- Boogie boards
- Coffee / tea making
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Ipod dock
Meals are served in the tented beach shack restaurant (shared with Otter Creek Tents), in the coconut grove behind the The Captain's House.
As you'd expect given the location, seafood features prominently. Dinners range from exotic European to traditional Goan - we sampled lime-drizzled poppadums dipped in tomato, onion and chilli, as well as tasty chicken xacuti (a local curry made with coconut milk and spices). Tandoor chicken, veggie dishes and Indian breads are also on offer, as are fresh fruit juices, local and international wines, Italian coffee (a real treat in India) and coconuts plucked straight from a nearby palm. If you fancy dining à deux, secluded tables can be set up underneath the banyan and cashew trees.
Breakfasts are mainly Western-style - fry-ups, pancakes, fruit salads, a spicy 'Indian omelette’ - and lunchtime snacks include bruschetta, pasta and grilled meats. Each house has an honesty fridge full of cold drinks, plus facilities for hot drinks, too.
If you want to eat out, there are lots of beach restaurants serving international dishes within a 10-15 minutes' walk. One of the best is La Plage, to the south, a French restaurant serving great steaks and seafood.
- Children's meals
- Coffee / tea making
- Restaurants nearby
- Vegetarian menu
- Take long walks on the almost-empty beach and feel silky-soft sand beneath your toes, as local fishermen haul in their nets
- Wander into the coconut grove to watch buffalo lazing and spot bright butterflies and birds flitting in and out of the trees. Field guides on the local birds, mammals, reptiles and shells can be provided
- Sunbathe and swim in the salty seas that buoy you on the surface; body boards can also be borrowed on site
- Have a Ayurvedic massage at one of the huts on the local beaches
- Empty your wallet at the famous flea markets of Anjuna, Arpora and Mapusa (approx. 25-minute drive - a car and driver are available on request)
- Visit the seething tourist hot-spots - the shops, nightclubs and bars of Baga and Calangute are a 30-minute drive away
- Sample the metropolitan culture, history and old Portuguese quarter of Goa’s capital Panjim, 45 minutes' drive
- Charter The Solita yacht to take a moonlight or sunset cruise, or arrange a voyage in a traditional Goan fishing boat. You may spot dolphins in the waves near the shore
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
The beautiful setting is great for children, especially budding naturalists. During our visit, the kids were all having a blast running around the coconut groves.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
The Captain's House and The Priest's House are the largest, each with 3 double bedrooms, and extra space for a bed and baby cots. For smaller families, The Piggery has space for 4 (2 double beds), plus 1 child and 1 baby.
Babysitting can be arranged on request.
Baby cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
No official children's menu, but there are plenty of simple Western dishes (sandwiches, pasta) on offer.
Kids Activities on site:
Lots of board games and beach games are provided.
Families Should Know:
Children will need to take care when using the bamboo footbridge leading to the property.
The Beach Houses are near Mandrem village, about 7km south of Arambol and about 10km north of Siolim in southern India. They're about 70km (1.5 hours) north of the airport.
Staff prefer to keep the houses' exact location secret, as they often have A-list celebrities staying there.
Dabolim International (70km away) is the closest airport. From there, it's easiest to arrange a transfer through the houses' staff (particularly due to the 'secret location'). You will have to walk the last 500m on foot and cross the bamboo footbridge to leave the outside world behind.
Once at the houses, you can hire a driver and a car that carries up to 4 passengers for exploring the area. You can also take your life into your hands and hire a motorcycle, but this isn't recommended for the faint-hearted.
Detailed directions with more information on the houses' location will be sent to you when you confirm your booking through i-escape.com.
More on getting to Goa and getting around
- Dabolim International 70.0 km GOI
- Beach 0.1 km
- Shops 0.1 km
- Restaurant 0.1 km