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A Private Sanctuary for the Soul
A world away from north Goa's commercialized Calangute beach, but in reality only just a few kilometers, is an exceptional luxury three bedroom villa that's really a private sanctuary for the soul. Lazy sunny days with friends or family by the infinity pool at the aptly named Summertime villa will leave you feeling sublimely rested and replenished.
Summertime is the magnificent creation of Hans (who originates from the Netherlands) and his wife Sucheta (who was born in Mumbai). Anyone with a passion for travel will find them to be absolute treasures. And, admittedly, it's hard not to be envious of the adventurous life they've led. Hans and Sucheta set up an India tour business together in the 1980s, and over the last three decades have explored almost every nook and cranny of the country to uncover remarkable places to stay. It's not surprising, then, that they'd go on to establish one of their own.
Summertime opened in October 2015, after a span of two years from design to completion. Hans and Sucheta actually built it as a potential retirement property for themselves. Their current home is located on adjacent land, and understandably they have no intention of ever leaving their bit of paradise. However, while their home is of equal (if not more) splendor, its many levels mean that it may not be suitable in old age. The conceptualization of Summertime brought together their wonderfully complementary artistic talents. Hans handled the design and construction, while Sucheta was responsible for the gorgeous interiors.
No expense has been spared or detail overlooked. The villa has been built as a place they'd want to live in themselves -- and, they did for six months, just to make sure it was comfortable and homely for guests.
Read on to take a look inside.Continue to 2 of 6 below.
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Living and Dining
The inviting interiors of Summertime villa are bright yet elegant, and contemporary yet classy. The expansive living space overlooks the infinity pool and opens out onto a veranda, which encircles it and encompasses an outdoor dining area.
The villa is furnished with many items handpicked and imported from Bali, where Hans and Sucheta go every year to escape the heavy monsoon in Goa. Upon chatting with them, you'll find that each item has a story -- whether its the pool loungers made out of recycled teak wood from Tamil Nadu's Chettinad region, or the lamps made by underprivileged women from Pondicherry (using skills that Hans and Sucheta taught them).
Much to my surprise and delight, there's even a bibliochaise bookshelf chair, which they got their carpenter to handcraft.
The architecture is just as thoughtful and interesting. As Hans pointed out, the living room roof is made out of concrete for strength but has been cleverly disguised by solid wooden beams.
To add to the veritable utopia, there's an organic vegetable and fruit garden, plus foliage all around. Hans and Sucheta planted 90% of it themselves, which would've been no small task as the substantial two acre property is brimming with vegetation.
Meals at Summertime
Summertime has in-house staff to prepare fresh and tasty Goan, Asian, Indian and Continental cuisine for guests. The eclectic menu includes many dishes that are family favorites and features seasonal produce from the organic garden.
Breakfast is complimentary and consists of eggs made to order, bread, fruit, juice, tea and coffee, and gourmet preserves.
Snacks and drinks (including wine and beer) are also served. The Big Banyan is very decent Indian wine and definitely recommended if you like reds.Continue to 3 of 6 below.
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The three bedrooms at Summertime villa are spread over two floors, and individually they're an enormous 730 square feet! Each room has a sitting area with writing desk and lounge chairs, plus a dressing room with inbuilt wall-to-wall wardrobe and huge bathroom (which is worth a separate look at below). The bedrooms are all air-conditioned and have TVs.
The highlight is undoubtedly the graceful Koi Suite, named after the soothing fish pond that its wide glass patio doors open out onto. For me, sitting by the pond with cup of coffee, being serenaded by the sound of morning bird song and the meditative trickle of the waterfall, was the perfect way to leisurely wake up every day.
Upstairs, couples will love the Coral Suite, with its evocatively draped four-poster bed and warm red tones.
Also on the same floor, but at the opposite end of the hallway, the cheery yellow and white Sunflower Suite has two single beds.Continue to 4 of 6 below.
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The bathrooms, which are almost as big as the bedrooms, are masterpieces themselves!
Each features an Italian marble bathtub, separate shower area, washbasins for two, chairs, lamps, rugs, and artwork.
The bathtub in the Koi Suite is supersized and looks out onto its own private garden with water feature. Blissful!Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Things to Do
The glorious infinity swimming pool is the centerpiece at Summertime villa, and evening sunsets are magical and mesmerizing.
Bird watching is a popular activity, as there are many different types of resident and migratory birds around the villa (and they feature prominently in the artwork and photographs that adorn the property). Bird books, a folder with a list of birds, and binoculars have been placed on the coffee table inside the villa for guest use.
Summertime is a joy for book lovers. The whole family are avid readers, so you'll find a diverse collection of books on shelves in all the rooms. If you wish, you can choose a book and leave one of your own behind. Board games and a DVD library provide extra entertainment. Of course, there's wireless Internet and iPod docks as well.
Massages and yoga are possible on request.
Feel like venturing out? The beauty of Summertime is that it's situated so close to the action (although you'd never guess it)! The multitude of restaurants and bars at Candolim, Calangute and Baga beaches are only 10 minutes away and a reliable taxi service is available.
Hans and Sucheta also own a classic 42 foot luxury yacht called The Solita. It's available for charter and Summertime villa guests get a 25% discount. Read more about The Solita and the cruising options.Continue to 6 of 6 below.
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The Bottom Line
Summertime villa will appeal to friends and families who are looking for a palatial and private home away from home, with outstanding personalized service and a superb location. As Hans and Sucheta own a tour business and are so well-traveled, they understand the art of hospitality and know exactly what guests require. They are a friendly, fun and welcoming yet not intrusive couple, who keep busy with their tour business but are on-hand if needed.
Summertime villa is conveniently situated a few kilometers inland from Calangute beach in north Goa, in a quiet lane with little traffic. It's approximately an hour from the airport and 45 minutes from Old Goa. Mapusa and Panjim are both 20 minutes away.
The villa must be rented as a whole and there's a minimum three night stay. Rates are seasonal and start from 27,000 rupees per night, plus taxes. Airport transfers, breakfast, and wireless Internet are included in the price.
More information is available from the Summertime Goa website.
Not surprisingly, the villa was awarded Asia's Most Romantic Boutique Retreat 2016 in the World Boutique Hotel Awards.
The Traveller's Palm, Hans and Sucheta's expert tour business, provides bespoke vacations to India as well as customizable itineraries. They offer a selection of atmospheric, handpicked hotels from budget to luxury.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.