I could fill this review with several descriptive passages about its old world aesthetic without sacrifice of mod cons (all of which would be true). Or I could just cut to the chase and say that Capella is simply one of the best place to stay in Goa. Everyone reading this already knows that Goa’s luxury hotels are not a whole lot more than luxurious (no soul) and that ‘budget’ ones are usually quite ... budget (hygine!), and that there are scores of ‘hidden gems’ all over the place waiting to be discovered. But even in its niche (‘Charming B & B’), Capella simply shines through for several reasons.
To list a few: it’s immediately welcoming, built as a private home by among the nicest people you could hope to meet (Ayesha and her husband Jamshed are locals so you will always get the best advice on what to do and where to go); it has the peace and magic of a remote forest hideaway, but it’s just a ten minute drive from all the action of the famous North Goa beaches; you wake to bird song and spectacular daybreaks every morning with real (not manicured) wilderness all around you. And thanks to the pool and bar you never have to leave the place.
I stayed here first in Feb 2010 and decided to come back in Dec 2011 for a family reunion because I suspected that there would be something here for everyone... and I was right. There were ten of us ranging from ages 15 months to 75 years old. We stayed a week, at the end of which no one was ready to leave. My three-yea¬¬r-old and his ten-year-old cousin could not get enough of dog and frog watching, my one-year-old followed around the cats and friendly gardener around all day, my twenty-something sister in law had a daily go at Zal’s (J & A’s sweetheart 11-year-old son) wave board and the older and lazier among us sat for hours in the verandah watching the day go by besides the infinity pool.
Ayesha graciously let us use her kitchen to rustle up meals for the baby and their dining table was the battlefield for our wildly exciting intergenerational ludo championships. Their library (both books and music) were ours to peruse, and when we felt like bird-watching so were their binoculars. Much joy here for the birder, novice or otherwise. And if you’re lucky you could spot a visiting troop of langurs or one of several species of spiders and (mostly non venmous) snakes.
(For those who may be concerned about the creepy crawlies, don’t be! You are ‘in nature’ here, so it would make sense to follow some simple rules – make a racket to scare off anything in your way if walking off path. For mosquitoes and other insect, don’t leave your room door ajar, especially at dusk.)
Organise your own transport as there is nothing walking distance from the house (other than beautiful forested trails, that is) and request at least some home-cooked meals (perfectionist Ayesha may discourage you, insisting they aren’t really equipped for it, but obviously they are!). Go to J & A’s critically acclaimed restaurant, Little Italy (where you can order anything on the menu and can’t go wrong.) Oh and you can book a massage in your room! Ask Ayesha to recommend a therapist.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Capella is a luxurious home-stay located on a private, forested hill in the sleepy village of Parra. We offer visitors a unique opportunity of experiencing life with a local family but with the privacy and level of comfort afforded by the best boutique hotels. Capella is the perfect choice for birdwatchers and nature lovers looking for a relaxed holiday in tranquil surroundings. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Capella Goa/Bardez