Family Hotel Review: Aashyana Lakhanpal, North Goa, India
A handful of luxury villas set within four acres of tropical gardens bordering Candolim Beach.
Best For: Art aficionados and families travelling together; kids of all ages.
Reviewed by: Victoria Westmacott
Why You’ll Love It
Hidden within four acres of coconut groves, Technicolor bougainvillea and flowering fruit trees is Aashyana Lakhanpal, a luxurious family-friendly villa complex bordering Candolim Beach. The property is set back from the sandy shores and only a small, unmarked gate reveals its location resulting in complete privacy.
Aashyana (meaning ‘nest’) is owned by local Indian entrepreneur Ajai Lakhanpal, and the complex consists of three separate accommodation options.
The main house, Villa Aashyana, is a modern five-bedroom villa that comes with 19 staff (including two masseurs and a chef) and is available for stays of one week or more. Villa Venus is a three-bedroom villa with a private pool, and there are also three self-contained two-bedroom Casinhas (cottages). All are homely yet stylish with contemporary Indian art work featuring prominently; Ajaj once allowed young painters to stay free of charge in return for a painting.
Why The Kids Will Love It
Aashyana Lakhanpal may not offer anything in particular for children but it just happens to be a great family-friendly spot for beach holidays, particularly if you are travelling with other families. The enchanting grounds are filled with palm trees, winding paths and hundreds of dragonflies and butterflies. Villa Aashyana and Villas Venus both have private swimming pools and best of all, you are just moments from the beach.
For older children the area has plenty to keep them busy and staff at Aashyana can help conjure up most activities including jet skiing, paragliding and banana boat rides. Also on offer are dolphin-watching cruises, snorkelling excursions and boat trips to Anjuna’s famous flea market. Younger globetotters will be happy frolicking in the surf and sand of Candolim Beach or splashing about in the chlorine-free swimming pool.
The main house is a large, whitewashed modern villa with a colonnaded, wraparound veranda and private courtyards. The villa was designed by French architects, Arvind and Nita d’Souza, and showcases an enormous collection of contemporary Indian artwork (the owner’s private collection) alongside Indian antiques, curios and sleek wooden furniture. There’s a large living room, TV room and plenty of communal space on the wraparound veranda. The villa has its own swimming pool that is shared with guests staying in the cashinhas.
The five bedrooms are large and feature modern art on the walls and the odd individual quirk, such as an outdoor bathtub or private terrace. There are two bedrooms downstairs, one suite and a double. Upstairs are a further three bedrooms including another suite (split over two levels), a twin and a double. The twin (Bedroom 5) is accessed either via the double (Bedroom 4) or an independent, outdoor staircase.
The newest addition to the Aashyana family is the recently restored three-bedroom Portuguese bungalow. This single-storey home dates back to 1830 yet today resembles a modern beach home with terracotta-tiled floors, white walls and thick wooden window frames and doors. It has its own 20-metre pool, fringed by decking, palms and greenery but does not have a garden. There is a large, open-plan living space with a dining and kitchen area, and three ensuite double bedrooms, each with private access to the pool area.
The three cashinhas are named after the signs of the Zodiac; Leo, Libra and Capricorn, and were designed according to Feng Shui principles. Each casinhas has two bedrooms; one with a kingsize bed and one twin, both with ensuites. There is also an open air shower in a private, enclosed courtyard and an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. Guests staying in the casinhas have access to the swimming pool at the Villa Aashyana but not the villa itself or the main gardens.
Best Rooms For Families: The villas are available to hire for your exclusive use only. If you are travelling with other families then Villa Aashyana is a fantastic place to stay as you have the run of the house and staff to cater to your every need (did we mention the two masseurs?).
Villa Venus is a particularly good option for families with big kids or teens, or those travelling with grandparents. Families travelling with younger children should note that the villa opens directly on to the pool, which is not fenced, and there is no garden.
Some guests staying at the Casinhas have reported feeling frustrated at not being allowed to access the main gardens and if you’ve got younger children then this is worth considering, as the casinhas do not have their own lawns. The casinhas are also less stylish than their neighbours although the kitchen makes this an attractive option for families that like to self-cater.
Only Villa Aashyana comes with a chef and is therefore full catered for. A breakfast hamper is delivered to Villa Venus and the casinhas daily and guests staying at these two properties can request lunch and dinner if they want.
At Villa Aashyana a complimentary breakfast is served on the veranda or in the garden. The resident chef whips up pancakes and scrambled eggs, plus fresh fruits, yoghurts, cereals and whatever else you might feel like. For guests staying in the casinhas or Villa Venus, a complimentary breakfast basket is delivered to your door every morning.
If guests staying at Villa Aashyana decide to eat in-house then the menus are discussed with the chef that day. The menus usually revolve around Goan specialities but almost anything can be created in the kitchen, all you have to do is ask. Ingredients are bought fresh and the kitchen garden supplies a variety of organic herbs and vegetables.
For guests staying at the casinhas and Villa Venus the house chef is available to prepare lunch and dinner on request. Both accommodation options come fully equipped with a fridge, gas hob, crockery and utensils making self-catering an option. Alternatively there are plenty of beachside eateries nearby that are tasty and inexpensive.
For Kids: There isn’t a dedicated kids’ menu (there isn’t a menu at all!) but if you choose to dine at the villa then the house chef can create kiddie-friendly dishes for you. The neighbouring restaurants all have child-friendly options, and there are some local western restaurants to choose from as well.
Activities for Parents
Lounge by the pool, laze by the beach and then take a well-earned break with an ice-cold Kingfisher.
If you’re staying at Villa Aashyana then treat yourself to a massage with one of the house masseuses – there’s a pretty, sun-dappled treatment room where you can listen to the birdsong while you relax.
See Goa from the sea with a trip on ‘Solita’, a two-bedroom sea faring yacht that can be booked through Aashyana Lakhanpal.
Activities for Kids
Splash in the pool or swim in the shadow of the River Princess, a grounded tanker that sits out to sea near Candolim beach which has become something of a tourist attraction.
Go jet skiing, paragliding or bounce around on a banana boat ride before hopping into a boat and sailing off in search of dolphins.
Put on your 3D specs for films at the Goa Science Centre in nearby Panjim and get busy with the interactive exhibits.
A/C, common rooms, doctor on call, nearest hospital is 2km away, extra beds available and are flexible depending on room size, Villa Aashyana has a swimming pool as does Villa Venus, the casinhas do not, travel desk, Wifi.
At the time of writing rates were as follows:
Villa Aashyana Lakhanpal (5-bed villa): From INR 2,92,250 – 8,69,610
Villa Venus (3-bed villa): From INR 1,18,580 – 3,17,660
Aashyana Casinhas (3 x 2-bed cottages): From INR 63,560 – 2,01,670
Rates may vary. Above rates include breakfast but do not include taxes. Please contact the hotel directly for an exact quote based on your family’s requirements.
When to go:
The best time to visit is from November to March when the daytime temperatures hover between 25-30C.
Peak season is from mid-December to the end of January; if you plan to visit over this period then make sure to book well in advance and be prepared to pay extra. December and January are also the peak season for beach parties, which means that it can busy and noisy, especially at night. From April the mercury rises and by May the daytime temperatures are nudging 35C.
The monsoons arrive early June when things get hot and sticky, but this is also when Goa becomes lush and green.
Aashyana Lakhanpal is open year round.
Location & Travel:
Aashyana Lakhanpal is located in the coastal town of Candolim, North Goa, Goa, India.
Dabolim International is the closest airport and there are regular daily flights from here to numerous Indian cities. Domestic airlines servicing Dabolim Airport include Indigo, GoAir, Jet Airways and Spicejet. Aashyana Lakhanpal is 38km from Dabolim (Goa) Airport and transfers are included in the room rate.
Vasco Da Gama is the nearest main railway station, 40km away. Goa is linked to Mumbai in the north and Mangalore in the south via the Konkan Railway.
Contact The Hotel
For more information or to make a booking enquiry, visit the hotel’s own website by following the link below:
Reviewer’s Top Tips!
1) Book well in advance, particularly during peak periods.
2) Fiona Caulfield’s travel guide, Love Goa is not cheap, but it is very good and worth getting if you plan on spending a few weeks in Goa.
3) Don’t forget mosquito repellent!
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