We spent five nights at Divar Island Guest House in Nov/Dec this year and it was absolute bliss. We were looking for somewhere that was easy to reach from Mumbai but also quiet and we were lucky enough to stumble upon this place, which was everything we wanted and much more.
Where to start? The location – it is Goa, but not as you have imagined it. Divar Island is in the Mandovi River (so don’t expect beaches) and reached by ferry from Ribander or Old Goa. It really is an oasis of calm and you feel as if you have got away from it all. Perfect. And if you want to head to the mainland then it isn’t too difficult, whether it is a trip to Old Goa or a night out at the beaches.
Next, the house. It has been beautifully and tastefully restored and decorated and the rooms are perfectly in keeping. Clean, crisp linen, traditional wooden fittings and mod cons like air con and TVs with a full range of channels. The bed was comfortable too. The pool area is beautiful and there is always some shade if you want to keep out of the sun. Eating areas are dotted around the pool and are also lovely.
The hosts: Jan and Arati are absolutely brilliant as hosts. From the help Jan gave us in sorting out a driver from the airport, to the warm welcome and then the incredibly generous hospitality we received throughout our stay. We had some days of perfect relaxation and others where Jan and Arati drove us to nearby places when they were heading out and really treated us as part of the family. I don’t think I have ever experienced hosting like this (and I’ve stayed in a lot of places.)
The food: Some of the best I have had in India. We opted for Indian breakfasts and had a different one every day, all of which were fantastic. We ate most evening meals there too as the food was so good, Goan curries, fish and an amazing seafood platter (which we went to source at the fish market with Jan and Arati). Oh, and if you are pining for something from home there is a continental menu too.
The staff: Brilliant and attentive to every need. Luku is an absolute gem and the guys in the kitchen are very, very talented.
Generally I can’t say enough about this place. If you want to relax in comfort in a quiet part of Goa then go here: you will not be disappointed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to our home and a new state of mindfulness! We believe in ‘now’. Come and experience living in an antique Indo-Portuguese house which behaves like a retreat for the soul. We welcome you to take a holiday or a break at our home and experience the old Goan way of life on one of the last protected parts of Goa in terms of flora, fauna and culture. We do not have a menu and will not give you bills all the time, but we welcome you to wander off to where the Wifi is weak. We are in an island called Divar where the sounds of birds are still more audible than the vehicles and man. The island is accessible by ferries on the Mandovi River from Old Goa, which has the historic capital of the state during the Portuguese times. Our home is a few hundred years old and we have maintained it to hold the grandeur while upgrading it to incorporate modern luxuries as well. We have rooms, a dining hall, a swimming pool, a bar, a shuttle court, a duck pond, a meditation spot and so on for the use of our guest. We do try to remind everyone that this is not a hotel or a resort but a high end home which operates the way an affluent family use to live in the age of the past. The guests have plenty of activities in the house as well as the island from bird watching to fishing and also savouring a fine scotch to a session of Bob Dylan poetry appreciation. We like to live in the now and invite you to experience this through your holiday. We have a program called ‘Mindfulness’ at the Island House and this is a unique mechanism which has been designed for the traveller to live the experience of this holiday to the fullest. If you are interested in knowing more about this program, please get in touch with us. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Divar Island Guest House Retreat Goa, India