In April this year, five of my closest friends, spread across four different cities, managed to match our schedules so that we could all take a trip together – no mean feat. We decided to land up in Goa since that is, of course, the default vacation destination in India when a group of friends cannot decide where else to go. One of my friends very kindly took up the responsibility of finding appropriate accommodation and chanced upon a villa, Casa San Antonio, on AirbnB. The description of the villa on Airbnb says that it’s a 100 year old Portugese villa which has been renovated by the owners.
The owner’s directions to the villa were very detailed and we managed to find the place without much fuss. The villa is just a two-minute walk from Anjuna Beach (near Starco Junction), and is one of the main selling points of the place. If you’re too tired from all the Goa-ing you can always just kick up your feet with a beer and spend a day at the shacks that are a short walk from the villa. There are also small stores and an ATM down the road, which we found convenient considering no one in Goa seems to accept cards.
However, the downside is that the villa is located at the end of a narrow dirt path which is not lit by street lights and there are a lot of dogs in the area which seem to want nothing more than to scare the bejeezus out of anyone walking down the lane. The lane is too narrow for a car so you’re forced to go on foot, and doing this in the pitch dark with the dogs barking and howling at you is nothing short of terrifying.
The Villa has been done up beautifully and you can tell that the owners have taken great care to make the place look chic without losing it’s old-world charm. It really is no wonder that it has been featured in Architectural Digest. The villa has a total of five bedrooms, a dining room with a majestic dining table that could seat at least twenty people, and a living room. It also has a plunge pool, which looked clean and well-maintained. The front of the house has a large yard with a hammock – perfect for a lazy day in.
Although the rooms looked beautiful and were quite clean, there were a few issues that we couldn’t ignore. The shower in one of the bathrooms, and the AC in one of the rooms wasn’t working (this was a huge problem since we went in April). The house is also not very well lit. The lights in most of the rooms, the bathrooms and the living room were very dim. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that the villa is really old, but the owners need to do something about this because it was rather inconvenient and a bit spooky.
The owners were kind enough to stock the kitchen with cereal, milk, bread, eggs and jam. However, the house has a problem with ants – anything you leave out, even with a lid on it, will find itself infested with ants.
We paid approximately Rs. 15,000 per night for five bedrooms. The pool comes with an extra charge. However, we went during off-season – I’m not sure what the prices are during peak season.
Despite its many obvious downfalls, I would still recommend this place if you are in a large group and on a budget. The house could easily accommodate 10 to 15 people (depending on how much “adjusting” you’re up for :p), and it isn’t a bad deal considering that the place was beautiful and quite clean. Although I must mention that the two who stayed in the room upstairs, with the broken AC, melting away in the humid April heat, would probably strongly disagree with my verdict. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!