Ahilya by the Sea is a charming small hotel near the small village of Nerul at the confluence of the Indian Ocean and Mandovi and Nerul rivers. This quiet setting is a world away from the crowds of Goa's busy resorts, where you're far more likely to see fishing boats that jetskis.
The owners are artists and hoteliers and have brought their various influences to bear on the property, which is filled with antiques and local art. The hotel is formed by 3 Portuguese style villas: Sunrise House, Sunset House and Leela Villa, plus a tower suite. There are 7 rooms in the Sunrise and Sunset houses all en-suite and with views of the Old Tower, and the spacious Trinidade Suite in Leela Villa. The tower room provides cosy accommodation for 1 or 2 people. It is built around a banyan tree, has its own sitting room and terrace. Each room is named after one of the paintings of Antonio Xavier Trindade, the owner's grandfather, dubbed 'the Rembrandt of the East', and room doors and keys are decorated with miniature versions of his artwork.
The hotel has a music room, where live performances, Fado singing and painting workshops can be arranged by way of entertainment. Outside there are well established gardens with covered terraces for relaxing and 2 lap pools. Meals are served in various locations depending on the weather and number of people dining, with a choice of indoor dining room and several outdoor spots. There are many restaurants in the neighbourhood should you wish to dine out.
The lovely resorts and beaches of Calangute and Candolim are just a few minutes away, while the recently restored Reis-Magos Fort, the oldest in Goa is nearby. The capital city of Panjim and Portuguese Old Goa are 15 minutes drive away. You can take boats from the harbour near the hotel in search of dolphins.
Open: Ahilya by the Sea first opened in 2015 and is open year round, though the family (who live on site in a separate villa) may occasionally take over 1 or both guest villas. Ahilya by the Sea has a minimum stay requirement of 2 nights. It is owned by experienced hoteliers who also own and run Ahilya Fort.
Location: Ahilya by the Sea is in the village of Nerul, at the east end of Coco Beach on Dolphin (Aguada) Bay. It is one hour's drive north of Goa airport. The hotel is built on the site of the old Portuguese customs houses and overlooks the entrance to Old Goa.
Rooms: There are 7 guest rooms and 2 suites in total, in 4 separate buildings. Sunrise House has 3 en-suite bedrooms, all facing the water, a dining room and shaded terrace. Sunset House has 4 sea-facing bedrooms 2 of which are interconnecting to form a 2-bedroom suite. All have private bathrooms, with showers (no baths). Sunset House also has a family room, dining area, small kitchen and covered veranda. Leela Villa contains the Trinidade Suite which has a queen bed, 2 sea-facing balconies, en-suite bathroom and living room. The tower room, known as Arjun Tower, consists of a small bedroom, bathroom, sitting room and terrace, making cosy accommodation for a couple or a single traveller. All rooms are air conditioned, have ceiling fans, a safe, tea and coffee maker, hair dryer, bathrobes and internet access.
Activities: You can stroll around Nerul village in about 10 minutes which has a lovely old church dating back to 1569, or use the hotel's bikes to explore further afield. The beach resorts of Candolim and Calangute with their shops and restaurants are a short drive away, and Old Goa and its Portuguese colonial heritage, and Panjim the capital city are 15 minutes car journey away. Anjuna flea market can be reached in 40 minutes. There are regular dolphin-spotting boat trips.
Facilities: There is a lounge with a TV, sitting room, dining room and performance room where musical recitals, Fado singing and painting workshops can be arranged. Outside the hotel has verdant gardens leading down to the sea, with a choice of sheltered seating area and 2 swimming pools. Rooms are filled with carvings, pottery and paintings, showing the artistic leanings of the owners.
Dining: Meals are eaten at individual tables in the dining room and at various locations outdoors. There are both table d'hote and a la carte menus, and a range of Indian, Asia and continental food. As a general rule breakfast is from 08:00 to 10:30, lunch 13:00 to 15:00 and dinner 20:30 to 22:00.
Children: Ahilya by the Sea accepts children of all ages. Extra beds can be provided and there are 2 interconnecting rooms which can be used by families. Baby sitting can be arranged.
Health: We recommend malaria prophylactics for travel to India.
Communication: There is free Wi-Fi internet access and mobile phone coverage. Notes: Payment - the hotel accepts Visa, MasterCard, Amex and Diners Club, plus cash in rupees, dollars, sterling and euros. they also take travellers cheques.