Aashyana Lakhanpal, Goa
There’s something magical about Goa when it isn’t awfully crowded and it doesn’t take forever to get from one beach to the other. It is peaceful and you can have your own stretch of private beach as you contemplate whether you are going to sunbathe or whether you are going to practice your asanas on the sand. Don’t get me wrong but I sleep a lot better when I don’t hear clubs blaring loud commercial music until the wee hours of the morning. I love visiting this beach town either in the monsoon or just around spring before most establishments shut for the season when I need some R&R.
I happened to visit Goa end February this year and wanted to ditch the regular hotel and resort accommodation for something more comfortable and familiar. You know when you’ve been travelling all year round, you want to be able to come home to home cooked food in comfy, cozy surroundings. RARE India manages a gorgeous beach front property called Aashyana Lakhanpal near Candolim and I decided that I should check it out for a few nights with a friend. Aashyana means nest and is the brainchild of entrepreneur Ajai Lakhanpal who wanted to create accommodation options for long stay guests, writers, artists and families.
I have to admit that I was quite apprehensive at first when I learnt that the car wasn’t going to be able to go through some of the narrow lanes to get to the property. The thought of lugging 3 heavy bags didn’t appeal to me after an early morning flight and no sleep the night before. When we arrived at the property- I understood why the owners might have wanted it like this. It was so quiet and peaceful that time slowed down for a few moments. Surrounded by lush, verdant manicured gardens and a gorgeous pool; the residents and guests at Aashyana looked very happy as they were walking towards the yoga shala. One of the USP’s of this place is the large Yoga Shala that is used for retreats run by renowned yoga instructors from all over the world.
Space is large with enough natural light in case you want to spend time here working on your practice. Well equipped with mats, strings, bands, yoga blocks and a tonne of mosquito repellant because everyone knows just how uncomfortable outdoor yoga can be if you aren’t protected from the bugs. For a moment, I had forgotten about the fact that I wasn’t well rested and attempted a headstand by the wall.
The property is frequented by loyalists who crave the tranquil surroundings that Aashyana has to offer coupled with facilities like morning yoga sessions, their own stretch of private beach and wholesome food that reminds one of home. The staff at the property is warm, affectionate and unobtrusive. They come in to clean your villas and replenish your stock of drinking water, pantry staples and bath essentials. I had lunch in my room on two occasions and each time it was a delicious, homemade spread of grilled pomfret, some lentils, gluten-free millet rotis and some local vegetable. These home cooked meals were delicious and did right by my body because they weren’t too rich or oily and cooked with a whole lot of love.
Accommodation at Aashyana Lakhanpal is divided into three categories-Villa Aashyana, Villa Venus and Casinhas (cottages). The rooms were large and comfortable with gorgeous outdoor showers that reminded me of my summer in Bali, Indonesia. The living room is equipped with tea and coffee makers, a fridge to chill all your groceries. I had two extremely comfortable nights on their beds and slept like a baby. They have speakers so you can plug in your iPod and zone out or do some yoga indoors when it’s awfully hot outside. Please be mindful of the guests and the surroundings and don’t play music too loudly that might disrupt the peace or disturb the guests at the property.
Expect to have power back up and wifi (albeit, spotty) because networks aren’t great in Goa. There is a massage therapist on call in case you want a traditional ayurvedic massage or just a head massage (champi). The staff makes meals based on your dietary requirements and would be happy to serve you breakfast, lunch and dinner (at a nominal cost)- if you wish. The staff will check with you and come in for daily housekeeping services but please note that Aashyana is an eco-friendly establishment so they recommend that your bed linen is changed every two days because they believe in doing things that are better for the environment. The pools are cleaned regularly and you can spend time reading a book and sunbathing or swim a few laps and work off the holiday weight gain- if you feel inclined to do so.
Verdict: I highly recommend Aashyana Lakhanpal if you want to enjoy a long weekend with your partner or a bunch of friends. It is the perfect recipe for a getaway that will relax your nerves, allow you to destress and get back to the work week with more vigour and drive. Please check with the property beforehand if you want to secure the beachfront cottages for unbeatable views and the lovely sea breeze as they get booked quite early. Light sleepers can opt for the other cottages near the yoga shala. Yoga classes and massages can be made available to you at an extra cost if you are inclined. The staff makes the place a home away from home so you never have to worry about anything when you are at Aashyana. This place is kid friendly and you can mark this spot for your next family getaway in Goa.
Thank you so much to the team at Aashyana Lakhanpal and the Rare team for organising my stay at the property. I highly recommend this place to friends, family and those of you looking to escape the hustle bustle of Goa in search of some peace and quiet. You can wake up and go for a run on the beach or sign up for some morning yoga, have a leisurely breakfast and take a nap at one of their gorgeous spots in the shade. Slather on some sunscreen and grab a book by the poolside and head out in the evening. The staff is here to help you with everything you might need to make your trip memorable and comfortable. I cannot wait to be back and spend a few nights at the beach cottage as I watch the sun set into the horizon.
About Aashyana Lakhanpal – Tucked away at the end of a quiet lane, off the bustling main road to Calangute, is Aashyana – ‘the nest. This private boutique villa on Candolim Beach set amidst a lush tropical garden, offers two villas and three Casinhas (Portuguese for cottages). The beach is but a breath away and North Goa’s happening spots can be accessed at ease. Tree shaded gardens, a shaded pavilion for yoga, private pools, a self-contained ayurvedic spa, informal sit-outs, chic spacious comfortable rooms – Aashyana is ideal to book for a week or more to soak in Goa’s timeless atmosphere.
Photo Credits- Aashyana Lakhanpal & RARE