Time and again, at various points in my life I have had the need to escape. I have felt the need to retreat to a place where no one knows me but still feels familiar. A place where I can be around the things that I love and do anything as I please. While this description does make it sound like I am looking for a utopian paradise, I found this sanctuary very close to home. As a resident of Mumbai retreats come in various forms. There are so many places around the city to just go away for a while, but Goa has always been at the top of that list for me, especially when I travel alone.
Goa is one place where there is something for everyone to do. You can relax, you can give in to your need for an adrenaline rush, you can explore, meet people of different cultures and of course gorge on some amazing food! Every time I have gone to Goa I have seen a different view of the place and I have fallen more in love with the place. This spring I decided to venture into the luxuries that Goa has to offer and I wasn’t disappointed.
I immediately got on to MakeMyTrip.com to book my flight tickets and saw this tab that was flashing brightly. There was a ‘Homestays’ tab on MMT now and I didn’t even know that was a thing. Clicking on the tab opened a world full of options for me. Homestays, apartments, hostels and more - you name it and it was all there. I usually would book myself into a hotel but I had to give alternate stays a try. Maybe someone there could show me something about Goa I hadn’t already seen. I booked my trip and it was time to leave.
As soon as the Goa sun hit my face, I knew I was home. But when I saw the amazing villa where I was going to stay for the next few days, I couldn’t believe my eyes. This picturesque villa was something right out of the movies. (I found out Dear Zindagi was shot in this house, so really it was a villa of the movies.) The sprawling La Bougainvillea is a gorgeous Portuguese heritage home with a royal touch. The villa is ideal for a group of up to 14 people. The patio looks like it is straight out of a vintage postcard, and the red brick roof completes the look beautifully. The breakfast is complimentary, and other meals can also be arranged by the caretaker, so you have nothing to worry about. Guests are also free to use the fully functional kitchen.
I made a mental note to just relax around the villa, take a dip in the pool and read for the whole weekend. But the Goa sun lover in me didn’t let me have that. So after a day, I decided to get to know more about the city through the eyes of a local.
Next stop: Casa Menezes.
This heritage homestay run by David and Nicole is a 300-500-year-old property which has a history in every step. Ask David any question, and he has the answer for it. A day spent at this house almost made me regret not living here. But my head was buzzing with so much knowledge and so many things to fall in love with. It would be a thrill in itself to live in this house and immerse yourself in old Portuguese culture.
I ended up seeing a lot of non-hotel stays through the city ranging from an apartment to other villas and I realised how much travelling has changed now. While hotels are still around, there are so many other options for you to explore. If you ask me I’d pick a homestay over anything. Here the hosts live with you and tell you more about the city. That’s what makes you fall in love with where you are. Finally, before I concluded my stay, I logged onto MMT phone app and stumbled upon a new offering called ‘Expriences’. Experiences are basically a special service that is exclusively available on the MMT app where they let you explore the city you are in as a local. They have food walks, culture walks, daycation, museum visits, and more which are all handpicked and curated specifically for consumers. While they provide a lot of options, this time I decided to go on a yacht ride to Fort Aguada and let me tell you if you haven’t seen the sunset from the patio on a boat, you really haven’t seen it all.
If you’re on a budget, you have hostel options as well. That’s another experience I wish to have the next time in Goa. Meeting people from different cultures, exchanging stories, exploring together, I think that would have its own charm. Well as my trip ended, I knew I felt like I was leaving home but it isn’t going to be long before I am back there.
See you Goa, until next time.
All of the places mentioned in the article above and more are available for you to explore on makemytrip.com. While these places are ones that I absolutely recommend you stay at, I would also urge you to take some time out and explore the alternate stay options for your next time at any location. Because honestly, the city just opens its heart up to you in a very different way.
*This is a sponsored post for Make My Trip.