Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from Goa.
Due to a continued strong response from readers, we are running another batch of ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews over the next few weeks. This time we wanted to hear about your ‘unique’ experiences and we’ve once again received a great amount of suggestions. Hopefully you will enjoy reading these reviews. As always you can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews by clicking here.
Today’s hotel is Elsewhere – Goa’s best kept secret.
Here is reader Hugo’s review:
After 2 ½ weeks travelling around Mumbai and Rajasthan on our ‘pre-wedding’ honeymoon, we knew some relaxation and beach time was in order so our next stop was Goa. Upon arrival at Goa airport, we were told to look for the sign ‘take me to Elsewhere’, where we were met by our charming driver with bottles of chilled water and a little snack.
An hour and a half later, having driven north through Goa along the equivalent of English country lanes full of twists, turns and beautiful greenery, we arrived in a little fishing village. Ahead of us was a narrow 60m long bamboo bridge crossing the creek – a bridge that lets you forget about the world outside as you cross it, your luggage following behind.
The area of land occupied by Elsewhere is significant – a spot of land wedged between a creek and the sea with water on three sides of the property. The interior is sand paths amongst the palm trees and peace and tranquillity are the name of the game.
To be clear, Elsewhere isn’t for everyone. If you want hundreds of staff running after your every need, room service, lots of fluffy towels etc, don’t come here! If you want barefoot basic luxury, some of the loveliest staff anywhere I’ve travelled in the world, people that really care about their guests and a management team that really cares about their staff, then Elsewhere might be for you.
It’s the only hotel I’ve ever booked where I had to fill out an application form before I was given the actual location, as Elsewhere takes the privacy of their guests seriously. There are rumours of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt having stayed there once and Salman Rushdie being a regular guest.
Due to the chilled-out convivial and very social atmosphere, the ‘dining shack’ saw lots of interactions amongst guests and tales of all sorts of coincidences were being found.
One example was that my wife had fallen in love with the ancient craft of block printing in Rajasthan so we had ended our stay there with a visit to the Jaipur museum of block-printing (and a number of purchases…)
Coincidentally we struck up conversation with an Anglo-Indian family over breakfast in the dining tent one morning who happened to be the second generation of the family that built the museum we had visited the week before!
Other interesting guests at the time of our stay were the manager of a major British singer and the singer’s drummer plus their son, and they had bumped into a couple who once ran the BBC Maida Vale studios.
Accommodation at Elsewhere consists of three permanent tents (the Otter Creek tents) and a further five houses (sleeping a total of 20 people) so there are never more than 26 guests on the property.
We stayed in one of the tents overlooking the creek. It was actually more of a fixed canvas building rather than a tent.
There was a nice comfy 4 poster bed, a basic bathroom / shower, and that’s about it! In a good way! The hot water wasn’t great, and more like lukewarm but with warm days and nights, it did the trick! It’s certainly not the Taj in Mumbai where we enjoyed true five star luxury but a trip to India should always be full of contrasts.
One of the more interesting aspects of being in a tent was the wildlife, bringing about a 2am ‘threesome’ with a squirrel scurrying across our bed!
Dining at Elsewhere
Meals in the dining shack were fabulous, from great breakfasts through to truly delicious massive tandoori prawns. The menu reflected both Indian and more Western-influenced dishes and it was perfect for lazy breakfasts, casual lunches with the sand between your toes and great dinners. The dining shack was also the only place with wifi, with an apt password – ‘ruinmyholiday’!
What to do at Elsewhere
The beach was one of the most stunning I’ve been to – practically deserted and private with perfect sand and beautifully calm sea. We enjoyed sunbeds most days at the top of the sand dunes overlooking the beach (complete with regular deliveries of fresh coconuts) followed by dips in the sea and long beach walks.
Our penultimate morning saw us get up before the sunrise to go dolphin spotting (very successfully) with some of the local fisherman, which was a memorable and fantastic way to start the day.
Twenty minutes’ walk down the beach, there were a number of fabulous restaurants and boutiques and we were highly recommended a restaurant ‘La Plage’ for a delicious French-Indian seafood dinner.
The staff at Elsewhere were out of this world and the property is run by a wonderful lady, Barbara for whom nothing was too much. She suggested and arranged some epic dinners for us, and of course arranged a car and driver to all of her suggestions. Under her management, the care and attention to service from her dedicated team was perfect and she looked after her staff incredibly well.
By the time of our departure, we had almost forgotten about the outside world and tried to see if we could change our flights home to London by a day to squeeze in one more night at Elsewhere. Alas, and not surprisingly, they were fully booked. One day, we plan to return – but this time we want to stay in one of the houses.
You can find out more about Elsewhere here.