There are so many stories still untold about my week-long stay in the Goa region of India, but today I’m sharing one of most memorable. As part of the food bloggers group during this trip, I got to stay at the incredible “Casa Menezes” in Batim Village, close to the state capital Panjim.
I didn’t know what to expect before I arrived, but I can already tell you that soon I truly felt at home and have never been so sad to leave a place on my travels before, almost as if I was leaving a new family behind!!
CASA MENEZES HOMESTAY – GOA, INDIA
The Casa Menezes Story
From their website:
Casa Menezes is meant to be a home away from home, nestled in the rustic lush greens of the Batim village, just 13 kms away from Panjim in Goa. It is one of those villages in Goa that is still stuck in time, and the owners don’t intend to change that characteristic feature!
The villa is perched in the valley of the Pilar and Santa Ana hillocks. The house is situated in ‘Gaunkarwaddo’ of the larger village of Batim. It overlooks paddy fields bordered with tall coconut palm trees.
This 300 year old ancestral home of ‘de Menezes’ family, replete with teak, oak and rosewood carved antique furniture, original art and virtuoso regal interiors combined with all the modern amenities will make sure that this will become one of your most cherished holiday experiences ever!
THE TRAVEL TESTER IN ACTION
1. What does it SOUND like?
As soon as we arrive to Batim Village, I understand why people love Goa so much. It is so green here, so lush… a true tropical paradise! Through a long road lines with palm trees, we arrive at what would be our home for the week: a heritage homestay run by David Menezes and members of his family.
Our new mom, Pamela, was waving at us as we arrived, what a welcome! Also, the Portugese-style architecture of the incredible Casa didn’t leave me untouched. So beautiful, especially since the building is older than the Taj Mahal. Wow, what a great example of how you can bring history back alive!
Sounds like paradise to me!
2. What does it LOOK like?
After freshening up, David gives us an animated tour of the house, showing us all the rooms filled with art and curious collections. We see pictures of his ancestors and end at the main dining table where we get treated with home-made, typical Goan snacks. What a way to begin our stay here!
Erin, David and Uncle Ralph (aka the clown of the family, what an amazing guy!)
Alex & David chilling
Ralph at the Pool… oh, did I mention there is a pool??
There is a whole separate building at the other side of the small road of the house with a bar and everything! So cool!
We’re being shown to our rooms, mine next to the road on the ground floor. I’m pleasantly surprised as I see my giant fairytale bed, fresh towels and even a bathrobe! The bathroom is immaculate, with a massive walk-in shower and great water pressure. I feel spoiled already!
The room also had a stocked minibar (hello cheap beers!), safe, working desk, fan and aircon. There was even a sort of changing-area with chairs and table next to the shower, just before you enter the bedroom through wooden doors with amazing shell-windows. Really, everything you could wish for in a room.
3. What does it TASTE like?
The dinners of the house turned out to be some of the best Indian food I’ve ever eaten, so we definitely always looked forward to the meals in the evening here. Most of it was also typical Goan food, which I’ll tell you more about in another blog post, one day :)
The breakfast was very simple and I think they can do a bit more with that. Most days we had dahl, some toast with jam, papaya (really wish they served some other fruit for breakfast as well, nobody in our group really liked papaya), egg (I really don’t want to eat egg every day, perhaps once a week, but here there wasn’t really another choice) and chai.
How to make food bloggers happy: amazing dishes and great mosaics… never seen so many plates on the floor before during a meal, haha!
Typical Goan desert
From left, around the table: Jenny, Emilie, Megane, Andy, David, Erin, Erin & Me!
4. What does it FEEL like?
During our stay, David made sure we were always entertained. From a spontaneous barbecue by a top-chef friend from Mumbai, to a feni-tasting (local coconut/cashew liqueur), yoga-lessons and a bike ride of the surrounding village, we explored so much in the area and got a great sense of what life in this part of the world is like.
Here are some snaps from the bike ride, which I can highly recommend:
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Batim
David resting at an Old Cross at the Lake
Visiting the local bakery
This is no grassland, it’s a massive lake with lots of birds to watch!
After the storm, a palm tree fell over and hit one of the electricity wires. So it gets fixed. On flip-flops, of course :)
Always wondered how to get a coconut out of a tree? This is how, my friends. No fear of heights allowed!!
5. What does it SMELL like?
Besides the smell of the amazing home-cooked meals, your own also smells nice, as you get your own Casa Menezes amenity kit with lovely soaps and shampoos!
After our 5-senses test, we’re ready to answer our final (and perhaps most important) question in our Casa Menezes Homestay Review:
6. Does this hotel make us happy?
If you are looking for a unique experience in Goa, where you get to meet the local people, learn about their culture & history… and have a ton of fun at the same time, then Casa Menezes is the place for you! I could go back any day and just relax here for a week and I can recommend them highly. Support local business and avoid the big chain hotels in Goa, instead, opt for a place like this where you get a much stronger feel of a place and make memories you will never forget.
VISIT CASA MENEZES HOMESTAY!
Casa Menezes – A Heritage Goan Homestay
304, Gaunkarvaddo, Batim, PO Goa Velha, Panaji, Goa 403108, India
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Disclaimer: I visited Casa Menezes as part of the #Escape2Goa Blogger Campaign, organised by LeaveURMark and the Goa Tourism Board. All opinions and photos in this post are 100% my own.