Goa, India

Ahilya by the Sea

Rates from (ex tax)$202.42

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (INR16,640.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Seaside art scene

Setting

Water, water everywhere

Run by a husband and wife team, beachside boutique hotel Ahilya by the Sea is a love letter to Goan culture. Dine alfresco in the hotel's luxuriant tropical gardens while you're serenaded by Fado chanteuses. Who needs galleries and museums? Within the colonial-Portuguese-style villas, an intriguing array of sculptures, paintings and trinkets – spanning various eras and nations – can be ogled from the comfort of your bed. Virgin Mary statuettes, Hindu bronzes, carved African masks… It's the most leisurely history lesson we've ever had.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of wine and one massage each for two

Facilities

Photos Ahilya by the Sea facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Nine rooms, including one suite.

Check–Out

11am. Earliest check-in, 1pm. Staff will seek out a temporary room for early arrivals, depending on availability; while waiting, take a dip in one of the hotel’s pools.

Rates

Double rooms from $202.42 (INR13,000), excluding tax at 28 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (INR16,640.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually include a breakfast of daily-changing dishes served in various locations around the hotel.

Hotel closed

The hotel is closed from 15 May to 17 June 2017, and 4 to 10 September 2017.

At the hotel

Spa, gardens, free WiFi throughout and a laundry service. In rooms: unique artworks, free bottled water, air-conditioning, ceiling fan and own-brand toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

To show your true artistic appreciation, book one of the three Rainha rooms in the Sunrise Villa. Minestrel, Barcos and Annalia are filled with bizarre curiosities and chin-stroking artworks. Abstract paintings, African sculptures, wooden wall-hangings and Asian porcelain follies create a makeshift frame around the super king-size bed in the Minestral Suite. Save on future trips with a stay in Barcos; in just 21sq m you’ll learn a fair bit about Goan, Asian and African art, without the tiresome transfers.

Poolside

There are two outdoor pools: start the day in the large Sunrise infinity pool gazing at the Arabian Sea, end it with a dip in the coconut palm-shaded Sunset plunge pool, surrounded by pink and white frangipani trees.

Spa

Banyan Spa, located on the first floor of Arjun's Tree Tower, is a grown-up lofty hideout. The spa’s therapists Nathalie and Cherrie will use their pummelling prowess to work out knots in customised massages and reflexology treatments.

Packing tips

Ladies, leave your heels at home; stilettos won’t fare well on Goa’s sandy beaches and unpaved walkways. Leave room in your suitcase for market finds and the beginnings of your own Indian art collection.

Children

Children of all ages are welcome, but the hotel is better suited to teenagers. Baby cots can be added to rooms.

Food and Drink

Photos Ahilya by the Sea food and drink

Top Table

Lunch is served from 12 noon to 2pm and dinner is served from 6pm to 8pm.

Dress Code

That free-spirited art teacher you had at school.

Hotel restaurant

Ahilya by the Sea doesn’t have a restaurant with individual tables and a fixed menu. Instead, guests dine together alfresco in the hotel’s gloriously jungly grounds. Local Goan and visiting guest chefs from all over the world work together to create a fusion menu that picks the best bits from India, the Med, Provence, Tuscany and wherever else the chef’s inspired by that day. Meals are also dictated by the daily catch. The menu changes nightly and can be tailored to suit guests’ tastes.

Hotel bar

There isn’t a bar at the hotel, but guests gather for cocktails in the drawing room of Leela Villa before dinner.

Location

Photos Ahilya by the Sea location
Address
Ahilya by the Sea
787, Nerul-Reis Margos Road
Goa
403114
Goa
India

Planes

Fly to Delhi or Mumbai and then board a Jet Airways (www.jetairways.com) flight to Goa International Airport (around an hour’s journey). The hotel is less than an hour’s drive away from the airport; there’s a taxi rank outside the airport, or the hotel can organise a one-way transfer for INR2,070 a vehicle.

Automobiles

Unless you’re planning to explore the local area extensively, you’ll have little need for a car. Ahilya by the Sea can arrange transfers and trips to the seaside, as needed.

Worth getting out of bed for

Sun-worshippers, ask hotel staff for insider tips on the most-secluded, tourist-free beaches before hitting the sand for the day – or your whole stay, if you’re so inclined. The culturally curious can take a step back in time on a hotel-organised day trip to 16th-century Reis Magos Fort or go on a church crawl to view the Unesco World Heritage site of Basilica of Bom Jesus. Drive for 30 minutes to reach the city of Panaji and pop into the Fundação Oriente for a private guided tour of their Antonio Xavier Trindade collection; known as the Rembrandt of the East, or ‘grandad’ if you’re the hotel’s owner – you’ll recognise his work from your boudoir’s walls. Between the Arabian Sea and the inland winding waterways, Ahilya by the Sea is a fisherman’s paradise; seize the opportunity to cast a line in Dolphin bay or up the Sinquerim River on a day trip with the hotel’s resident angler. Markets are a must-visit in Goa; take a 40-minute drive up the coast to Anjuna Flea Market (open on Wednesdays) or Mapusa Market (Monday to Saturday, but at its best on Friday mornings) to haggle for terracotta pots, decoupaged elephant statues or even a couple of chickens… Not a morning person? Experience the vibrant hubbub at the Saturday Night Market in Arpora held every Saturday night from 7pm to 2am.

Local restaurants

For supper with soul, head to Go with the Flow by Baga Beach (+91 (0) 7507771556), where all profits are donated to the Samarpan Foundation, which supports a wide range of social projects throughout India. Dishes are international, but use local ingredients. Try Thai chicken satay, Sicilian marinated aubergine and Goan coconut cake while watching the sunset over the ocean; as night falls, there’s live music and dancing. If you’re missing your mama’s home cooking, go to Mum’s Kitchen (+91 (0) 9822175559) in Panaji city, which takes pride in its authentic fare. All recipes and preparation techniques have been passed down from local mothers (who in turn inherited them from their mothers… and so on) making this the spot for genuine Goan grub. We recommend the kombdechem sukhem, a spicy fried-chicken dish, which hails from the Goan Ghats.

Local cafés

The small village of Reis Magos is home to Babazin’s Shack (+91 (0) 77986 85862). Go for the fresh-from-the-water seafood, but stay for the views; this laid-back, waterfront café overlooks the Mandovi River to Panaji and Miramar beyond. Take a sea-side seat and soak up the rays while scoffing prawn-stuffed papad, shark ambotik and crab xec xec. Calamari Bathe & Binge on Dando Beach lets you mingle with the locals, while tucking into spicy specialities, or western picks, including pizzas, jacket potatoes and fried chicken. If you’re in no hurry, stay all afternoon into the evening when the unassuming beach shack turns into a bar with live music.

Reviews

Photos Ahilya by the Sea reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this beachside hotel in Goa and unpacked their spices and bottle of local liquor Feni (made with cashews), a full account of their South Indian getaway will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Ahilya by the Sea in Goa...

There are two sides to a Goan beach break at coastal boutique stay Ahilya by the Sea; either take it easy with long walks on the beach, relax by the hotel’s seaside infinity pool, or book a massage in the treetop Banyan Tree spa; or, go see Goa. Just a hop, skip and at most, an hour’s car drive north from this shoreside bolthole are buzzing beachside bars where you can drink, dine and party like it’s the Nineties again. The Old Town’s Portuguese relics are a 30-minute drive away, but you needn’t venture far from your snooze-worthy bed for a cultural awakening. The hotel’s filled to its (original) rafters with intriguing historic trinkets. The owners proudly display their personal collection of art and antiques throughout: a motley assemblage of Virgin Mary statuettes and Hindu deities, antique earthenware and African artefacts. Look closely; each piece tells, in a jigsaw-like manner, Goa’s rich and varied history. 

The Guestbook

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