Joanna Lester-George

A Luxury Villa Stay in Maharashtra ... and ahhh, those pillows

KOKOindia Luxury Travels | March 22nd, 2018 | https://www.facebook.com/KOKOindiaTravel/

Ib coco sindhudurg shot

This weekend my family and I drove from deepest south Goa (where we live) right up to the top of the 'emerald state' - and then over the border into Maharashtra. As anyone who knows me will often hear me say after many years in the sleepy south : “It's nice to get out of the village.” Even if you're just transferring to a different one.

The latest Coco Shambhala experience (see India's Best Boutique Hotel 2016 for their other fabulous five star Goa resort) is to be found in the pretty coastal village of Bhogwe in Sindhudurg. If you haven't heard of Sindhudurg as a tourist destinations yet - don’t worry, you soon will.

Four Balinese inspired, luxury villas perch on a hill overlooking an unspoilt stretch of golden coastline fringed with palm groves. The lushest of tropical plants create exotic surrounds for the handcrafted coconut wood structures, both inside and out. The design concept of the villas is intentionally simple - a chic central living/dining space with an en suite bedroom on either side, opening out onto a private infinity pool with the blue of the Indian Ocean just beyond.

The dedicated management team, Sugandha and Navarino, head up a cheerfully enthusiastic and ever professional team of staff who are constantly on hand to ensure guests want for absolutely nothing. If you’re not quite ready for a cheery good morning and a gigantic breakfast, simply string across the ‘privacy rope’ at the open villa entrance, until you are.

We (my seventy-eight year old mother, my ten year old son and my forty-something self) did very little at Coco Shambhala to be honest - except really relax and hang out, which was the idea. We sploshed around in our own beautiful infinity pool, played cards in the cosy lounge area open to the sky before us, read magazines from our private library and ate delicious food. And by crikey we ate. Chef’s bespoke menu was designed for us a week in advance to suit our individual tastes - no spice for Grandma, pasta por favore for son number one, and killer spicy specialities of the house for me.

There was a lot more we could have done, of course. The beautiful three kilometre Bhogwe beach lay just at the bottom of the lane, exclusive hotel picnics were on offer at the local fort and boat trips could be taken to secret coves. On one occasion, we actually succeeded in cutting the chord by hopping in a cab to the colourful Malvan market - a riot of bustle and colour - but in truth, we simply couldn’t wait to get back to the sanctity of our exclusive luxury villa hideaway.

Despite the lack of having to do anything too taxing, at night time sleep came incredibly easily. Lulled by the sounds of the ocean and the rustling palms outside, the vast beds came with pillows so unbelievably soft, we declared them to be the best pillows any of us had ever had the good fortune to sleep on. If the views, the food and the company hadn’t been so unbeatable, I might never in fact have got out of bed again. Altogether, a stay at Coco Shambhala Sindhudurg is a super dreamy experience - far from the madding crowds of Goa and one which I cannot recommend highly enough to anyone looking for an exclusive getaway.