Updated: Aug 31, 2019
Anyone going to the airport from Panjim might have glanced at this ornate and beautifully decked up house to your left. For the locals they still know it as “Casa De Graca”, a hundred year old Portuguese Villa built in 1909 by Casimiro Honorato de Siqueira Nazare for his wife Maria Gracias and their five children. In this home the family lived and loved for many years.
Restoration started in late 2014 when artisans from Goa, India and other countries were called to give the house the charming and irresistible photogenic delight. The facade is a brightly coloured magenta with light pastel shades and laterite finishes inside. Beautiful pottery and antiques brighten up the interiors. There is a sunlit garden outside for your share of lovely flowers while you enjoy your morning stroll.
Each of the four rooms have different names i.e Creation, Peace, Compassion and Devotion. Peace, being the only room which overlooks a quaint lake, home to myriad migratory birds in winter. The other rooms are around a central pool, recreating the age old concept of roman baths. Creation, at 650 sq ft is the grandest suite and Peace, being the smallest is the quaintest room to enjoy a peaceful lakeside bed tea. Peace and Creation has bathtubs with Peace having an authentic copper one from which you might not want to get up. All the rooms are designed with soothing wallpapers, period furniture and lights creating the perfect antique luxury one craves for.
Restored by Alex Von Moltke and taken over by Simran Kaur and Abbas Shiekh, Amrapali was earlier known as “Morgado” meaning “dear” something which the staff live up to every moment of your stay. The cafe which is also open to non resident guests serve the best coffee with delightful savouries and pastries. The menu is ornately yet simply crafted to provide a minimal yet complete collection of authentic French, Goan, Portuguese and Indian cuisine. One can start with French Crepes and end with a delicious bowl of Dal Makhni and a wonderful Portuguese custard.
Meals for the in house guests can be taken anywhere:-the room, the pretty dining hall, poolside lounge or the verandah overlooking the lake, which for obvious reasons became my favourite spot in the house.
In the shared spaces its common to engage with other guests in the pool or the lounge. For the quieter ones the house arranges yoga sessions by the pool or the garden. They have a range of activities including a most sought after day session with Mr Subodh Kelkar, the famous artist and curator of Goan Museum of Art. They also arrange picnics in the nearby Siridao Beach and heritage tours to the beautiful churches which are just a drive away.
Its a home away from home which welcomes you with a great deal of warmth and beauty. Being so close to Panjim, yet being clothed by so much tranquility was indeed a surprise for me. I shall return again while you should pack your bags for this one.
Address: 1105 Morgado Vaddo, Goa Velha, Goa 403108
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