Homestays We Love: Arco Iris for Old Goa Charms and Feni, the Dog

The peaceful, colonial side of the sunshine state. | By Anuradha Goyal  
Arco Iris Goa
Spend a restful afternoon reading a book on Arco Iris’ expansive verandah. Photo: Anuradha Goyal

A night at Arco Iris Homestay, a 200-year-old bungalow in south Goa, transports you back in time. Every element, from the high ceilings and thick stone walls to the spacious rooms, decorated wall niches, and vintage furniture, is reminiscent of a different era. In the hands of owners Bennita Ganesh and Ganesh Subramaniam, maintaining this sense of history seems effortless, but I learn that three years of intense work went into restoring this house.

Soothing music and aromatic incense set the tone in the dining room, which overlooks the backyard. The rooms are named after the colours of the rainbow, or “arco iris” in Portuguese. I enjoy the red stone veranda at the entrance of the house the most. I’m as captivated by the distinctly Goan floor design, made with broken ceramic tiles, as the view of the seasonal lake across the road and the paddy fields beyond it. Sitting there beside Feni, the family’s Labrador, with a book from the well-stocked library is very restorative.

The flower-bedecked front garden has hammocks slung invitingly between trees. Arco Iris and its surroundings are particularly lovely during the rains and just after it. To stretch their legs, guests can stroll through Curtorim village and explore the many seasonal ponds that form around the bungalow during the monsoon. During the rest of the year, a boat ride on the Zuari River, a kilometre away, is a great way to see the villages that dot the interiors of Goa.

Appeared in the October 2014 issue as “Feni with the Folks”. Updated in January 2017.

The Guide

Arco Iris has five large double rooms, four on the ground floor and one on the first. Two rooms have independent balconies and two are air-conditioned. Each room is decorated according to the colour it is named after and has a distinct personality. The yellow room, for example, has a stone bed decorated with embedded tiles. The en-suite bathrooms are large and modern (96049 64482;; doubles from ₹4,500 during low season, and ₹7,500 during high season; tariff includes breakfast and Wi-Fi.) Lunch and dinner are served on prior request (₹600 per meal for adult [above 12 years] and ₹300 for children between 6-12 years).

Getting There
Arco Iris is 32 km/45 mins southeast of Dabolim airport and 10 km/20 mins east of the nearest railhead at Margao. Taxis charge ₹1,000 from Dabolim airport and ₹350 from Margao station. The Goan capital Panjim is 40km/1hr north.

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