In the run up to Christmas it’s nice to dream of sunshine, beaches and cocktails so here is my contribution to your next holiday choice… During my recent two-week break in Goa I discovered a truly magical place, my memories of which will never be forgotten. If you are lucky enough to find yourself on the coast in north Goa, you absolutely must check into Sur La Mer, a boutique Goan country house hotel, rated the top hotel in the area on the trusted Trip Advisor, a rating recognised by many guests.
Sur La Mer is a stones-throw from Ashvem Beach, which is home to the best beachfront and sublime restaurants in India. I would class the hotel as shabby chic although using the word shabby seems unjust. Stepping into the hotel is like entering an enclosed pardise, thoughtfully put together by an extremely tasteful, well travelled Goan man. The hotel grounds and its rooms are littered with beautiful and comforting antiques each telling thousands of year’s worth of stories. Rajoo the proprietor is a great presence in the hotel, and by staying at the hotel you are very much welcomed as a guest into his world. Guests of Ser La Mer are in good company; Mick Jagger, Liz Hurley and nameless actors and even the lady Maggie May (from her namesake song) frequent the hotel.
On our first night we had the pleasure of being invited to attend an Indian pre-wedding dinner as Rajoo’s guests. The extravagant pool side affair was quite a party and a chance for us to taste dozens of the hotels fine Indian dishes expertly prepared by Rajoo’s wife who it has been said cooks up some of the finest food in India. That was the view of a well-heeled Indian family.
On our next two nights we had the pleasure of staying in the Penthouse suite, which spans the entire top floor of the main house. The vast suite includes and antique four-poster bed, several indoor and outdoor bathrooms and rain showers, a private sauna and a massage tower – the highest point in the area overlooking the beach. The suite had a wrap around veranda – ideal for tanning areas you wouldn’t otherwise expose in India!
In the corner of the garden is an antique horse shoe bar which Rajoo calls his office. Whilst you can order any drink under the Indian sun, Rajoo will join you in drinking an aged rum and soda and tell stories of his decades in the business world in New York, his 13 years since in which he has built this paradise and enviably travelled most of the world. Relaxing by the pool you will be serenaded by Rajoo’s ipod containing over 50,000 songs from the 60s, 70s, & 80s. Think Beetles, Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones. Any requests instantly blasted out of the speakers!
I applaud anyone who is able to visit Sur La Mere just the once. Whilst writing this watching the sunset over the palm trees I haven’t yet left, but I know I will return.If you do decide to eat anywhere other than the hotel, the top pick is restaurant La Plage – a two-minute walk from the hotel grounds on Ashwem Beach.
Thank you again to the Sur La Mer family for an unforgettable stay, I hope I am lucky enough to be welcomed into your home once again in the not so distant future. x The London Whistler x Direct flights to Goa start from £447 with http://www.monarch.co.uk. Rooms at Sur La Mer start from £110 per night. Book direct at http://www.surlamergoa.com