Coco shambhala is a gated resort with 4 villas, each having a separate theme to its design. Located in the Nerul district of Goa, with popular beaches like Candolim easily accessible, the property is named after coco beach, near which it resides. With its unique offering of an inhouse team of chefs who make the most delicious food you will have in Goa, a list of suggested restaurants and their menus, and a driver and car dedicated to a villa, you have Goa in the palm of your hands, literally in this case with the mobile you’re given on check-in. These small but very important additions make sure your holiday is stress free and that you only need to plan on two things, what to do and what to eat.
The Villas: The 4 villas namely Ashvini, Rohini, Ashlesha and Bharini are all different in both the architecture and design. The Villas have 2 bedrooms each with attached baths, a common lounge area by the plunge pool and a terrace lounge accompanying the kitchen/dining area. Some of them have an open shower which can be an adventure in itself while some others have larger plunge pools and lounge areas. All of these details are readily available through their websites but going further we will be telling you of some secrets only the guests would know about.
The interiors are a visual delight, with tasteful decorations adorning the room which are both pleasant to the eye and highly convenient in use. The beds are ridiculously soft and you do not wish to get off the bed in the morning even with the crooning of the birds and the spectacular plunge pool if not the main pool beckoning you for a dip.
We went in the monsoons when between the rains and the damp weather the pool water was incredibly cold, but it felt wrong to not go for a swim in this wonderful pool and it was probably one of the better decisions we made that day. Once in however, you will probably end up spending a large portion of the day inside it. A villa tip, go for the outdoor showers. We were scared by some multi-colour insects which dropped by to say hello in our open showers. We went in a season prone to insects and we later learnt that the insects are mostly harmless, in any other season it will be the most marvellous and adventurous thing you would’ve done in the privacy of your room. It will be like Tarzan and/or Jane bathing in a waterfall, only this waterfall will have hot water at your fingertips and the wonderful toiletries lend a different, more exotic feel to what might normally be a mundane, get-it-over activity. Everything speaks luxury and practicality and by the end of your trip you will be deliberating over how you went on with your daily lives without some of these “essentials”. This does not mean you are going to do anything about it once you return back to normal life, it just means you are going to be planning another trip very soon.
The Service/Welcome: When you enter the property you will be welcomed by the manager, Savio who will meet you at the front gate and will give you a brief tour of the place ending at your villa of which he will again give a brief tour while handing over the villa’s dedicated mobile with numbers for all important people, fed in. The mobile is a no frills device of the old age and you’re requested not to store personal numbers to avoid confusing the next occupant with unknown numbers. Our welcome was a bit different considering we decided to go in the monsoons and were welcomed with two huge umbrellas not unlike our own. We were the most pleased with the chefs welcome who prepared a huge plate of sandwiches, piping hot pakodas and a kettle of tea/coffee along with a jar of sangria. The welcome was just a trailer but he gave us an indication what our next couple of days at the property were going to be like, a total foodie dreamland!
The Food: There are two meals which are included in your cost, the breakfast and lunch. The dinner is extra and should you wish to have it on the property, the chefs will have to be notified in advance because everyone usually leaves the property in the evening and all produce is brought in fresh from the local market every day. The only people giving you company in the property at night are the guards at the gate. We were very happy with the food provided especially so as every meal is customized. The chef takes extra pains to understand the requirements and then makes suggestions as to what you could enjoy. The fridge comes stocked with water bottles, cold drinks, juices, a bottle of champagne and chocolates. There are enough utensils, dishes to cook your own food if you like as well as a working oven, electric kettle and a gas connection. Should you like to visit a new place for dinner they have a list of options and their menu which you can choose as per your taste. We would recommend Wok & Roll which serves Asian cuisine and Tuscany Gardens for Italian. Both are highly recommended for their respective cuisines, have a wonderful staff and a very romantic ambiance.
The Carriage: The driver who picks you up at the station/airport is the person who will be your designated driver for the duration of the stay. Though the service is free, to take care of the fuel and miscellaneous costs they charge you 10Rs (16 cents) / Km which is very affordable and value for money considering you are getting a trusted guide, driver and a friend rolled into one. Any other mode of conveyance personal or public would likely cost you much more and/or would not be as trustworthy. To his credit, our driver showed us a bull fight, an authentic Portuguese settlement while telling a bit of their history and gave us a fair idea of what could be best covered in the time that we had. He even got us some packets of maggi (a popular brand of noodles) when we had sudden cravings for it one night of our stay. After the fairytale stay, we were a bit disappointed at the end however when the driver added charges for the pickup and drop for our stay, a service which was supposed to be complimentary. It is small things which leave a bad taste, but we didn’t mind it too much as it was of an amount which we would have gladly paid as a tip considering how good the trip and his service was.
Famous last Words: The villas are made such that every villa would beckon to a different kind of person and thus there’s probably nothing we would recommend to be changed. Our personal favourite villa would be Rohini because of its bigger size, open shower and terrace seating.
The only suggestion from our side would be probably to maybe discuss beforehand with the guests as to what they would like to do and try to get a rough itinerary in place. We missed out on an activity which we wanted to do because of paucity of time primarily because we ended up clubbing wrong things together which took up a lot of our time.
Highly recommended for those who can afford it, especially ones who end up spending a similar amount at any of the branded star rated properties in Goa. Once you’ve had a feel of its service, you’ll be comparing every property you’ll visit with it; We know we have.