By Shubhra Krishan
It was a glowing review of Goa’s Aashyana Lakhanpal in Vanity Fair that put it on my wish list. Diamond blue pool. Closed-door glamour. A dreamboat. I wondered if the resort would tick all those seemingly hyperbolic boxes. To my delight, it totally did.
Goa’s Dabolim Airport is a rather functional affair. For a destination so coveted, it could definitely be glammed up some more. But well, an hour’s cab ride away, two days of quiet luxury awaited me. The very prospect was like a balm to my city-weary soul.
The taxi sped along, its driver as quiet as the painterly landscape rushing by. “It’s so lush because of the monsoon, right?” I ventured. “Goa is always green,” came the crisp reply.
We entered the arterial road in Candolim. You could mistake it for a Delhi street, lined with Punjabi restaurants, pizza places and eateries offering pure-veg thalis. Dozens of cashew shops beckon—if you are a fan of the nut, you’ll be spoilt for choice here! The tourist hubs of Calangute and Fort Aguada are a short drive away.
Somewhere in the middle of all the shops and eateries, the map instructed us to take a left turn, into a long, narrow lane. A couple of minutes later, a signboard led me into the resort’s sweeping driveway.
At first blush, Aashyana Lakhanpal looks like a palatial bungalow of yore. Which indeed it is. Ajai Lakhanpal converted his own home into this lovely seaside resort, which holds a place of pride among Goa’s top-rated properties. Its style elements include whitewashed walls, neutral décor, terracotta-tiled roofs, stone floors and traditional built-in seating. The owner’s private art collection is a visual treat.
After a refreshing kokum-flavoured welcome drink, I was ushered into Gemini, a well-appointed two-floor cottage with a patio overlooking the vast backyard. I noticed a tree loaded with a plump green fruit, unfamiliar to me. “That’s Nirphanas,” explained the affable Simran, who ushered me to my room. Also called breadfruit, it is a popular Goan snack, sliced, coated with semolina (rava) and fried. “In Goa, we like to fry almost everything with rava,” I was told.
Impatient to be beside the sea, I asked how to get to the beach. “Oh, just walk out of the back gate, Ma’am. It is right past the pool.”
Too excited to wait, I made my way out. The “diamond-blue pool” mentioned by Vanity Fair appeared. A cluster of swaying frangipani and coconut trees was arched around it, rippling the waters like a caress. A short walk down the brick-lined path set the tone for an evening of deep communion with nature.
The Beach in Your Backyard
And then there it was—the Arabian Sea, surging in all its endless glory.
The sight of the clean, serene Candolim Beach stopped me in my tracks. It took a while to register the fact that for two whole days, I was going to be in such close, easy proximity to this mesmerising sight. Such a relief to hear the gentle lapping of the waves after months of meandering through deafening Delhi traffic.
I would highly recommend settling down with your cup of coffee or glass of wine at the resort’s sit-out, and watching the sea swallow the evening sun while you sip. That alone is worth every penny you spend on your booking at Aashyana Lakhanpal.
The resort’s signature villa boasts 5 plush bedrooms, ideal for an extended stay with family or friends. A group was staying there when I went, so I couldn’t take a look inside, but even a glance of the spacious verandah was a clue enough to its splendid comforts.
Chatting with the resort’s team, I learned that together with the Casinhas, Cottages and Villa Venus, Aashyana Lakhanpal can accommodate 40 adults. This makes it an ideal choice for intimate weddings, anniversaries, special events and corporate meetings.
The ground floor unit where I stayed reflected the attention to detail that has gone into ensuring guest comfort. Firstly, every fixture worked and the room was spotlessly clean. Besides the AC, two fans let me adjust the temperature exactly as I wanted. I never needed to call housekeeping or reception to fix this or change that.
Homely Dining At Aashyana Lakhanpal
A word about the food. While I was out both days, exploring Goa, my breakfast and dinner came warm and fresh from the resort’s kitchen. What better way to begin the day than with aromatic, lightly spiced meals. From the fluffy poha to the comforting dal-chawal, everything was sumptuous and satisfying. You can also order from Zomato or Swiggy if you wish.
Even as I write this review in the autumn of 2023, the folks at Aashyana Lakhanpal are hard at work, refreshing and redecorating the resort to welcome a fresh lot of guests for the upcoming peak season. Whether you plan to go alone, with a friend or a whole group, the resort has the ideal cottage or villa for you. The 6-acre property has a yoga pavilion and a spa too.
In this luxurious, verdant setting and with the sea in your backyard, I can’t think of a better place to enjoy a blissful Goa weekend.
Escrivao Vaddo, Candolim, Bardez,
Goa. India 403 515
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