Two months back, I had signed up with the AirBnB program when I learnt about the concept of travel hosting. Little did I know that I would be on my way to the west coast of India exploring how it worked! Instead of planning my trip in a conventional way, as I always did, I chose to book my stay through AirBnB. Here is a short review of my stay experience..
Booking The AirBnB Property
When I first read about the concept of hosting, I was excited and overwhelmed. I had questions- such as how is it better than staying in a hotel? How safe is it? Is it worth saving money? Will I end up in a ‘nowhere’ zone far away from the sight-seeing locations? Is the information that the owners share about their properties, accurate?
Keeping these things in mind, I started my research about choosing the AirBnB property. I was aware that South Goa is cheaper to stay than North Goa, and that the two parts are not very far from one another. After checking some properties, I decided to stay at the Colva Holiday Homes, a property close to the Colva Beach. I booked the property for 3 nights at Rs. 8500/- (108 Euros). For a peak season like November, reserving properties in less than 10 grand is often an imaginary proposition. I was happy; at the same time, a little worried about what was forthcoming.
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The D- Day
I landed at the Goa International Airport on 11 November 2015. From the airport, the property was 35 kms and close to the Colva Beach. It was afternoon and it would take us an hour by a prepaid taxi to reach the place from the airport. Our host Mrs. Gonsalves, was in touch with us on the go. An elderly lady, she had all that needed to be a perfect host. It was comforting to speak to her on the phone.
At around 04:30 pm, we reached near Colva beach, and were spotting the property. It took some time for the driver to figure out the place, but finally, we were able to reach there. Located just half a kilometre from the beach head, it was a perfect place for an undisturbed holiday.
We were welcomed at the gate by Mrs. Milward Gonsalves, our humble host for the property. We got introduced in person for the first time today. Until today, we always spoke on the phone and I was eager to meet our host.
The Stay Experience
The lady escorted us up the dark stairs and for a moment, I was still apprehensive about my decision. But when I stepped through the bright corridors, I took a sigh. The building looked decent, but we had not seen our apartment yet. Finally, Mrs. Milward led us inside our apartment and it was… great!!
Colva Holiday Homes has a total of 9 well-furnished properties available at budget for a valuable beach front stay. The other properties also have similar amenities as listed here and is luxury at value for money prices.
It was a spacious 1 bhk studio apartment with a large hall, a compact kitchen for a small family, an air-conditioned bedroom and all other essentials for a comfortable family stay. A small microwave, an electric kettle, and a set of dishes in the cabinets, a fridge in the corner, would suffice for us. Added to that was the Wi-Fi connectivity to help me share live updates of the trip. The neighborhood of the building was a chic poolside resort called the Colva Kinara. We were relieved to know we did not make a wrong choice for our holiday.
What’s In The Vicinity
The Colva Holiday Home is just 1 km from Colva beach. Surrounded by a stylish market place, lots of music in the evenings, a large shopping area from where you can buy stuff such as wooden and fabric handicrafts, spices, tea, dry fruits and apparels. Also, you can find your essentials from here such as money exchanges, ATM’s, maps, private taxi services and rented scooters within hand’s reach.
Head for the beaches in the evening where you can enjoy a candle light dinner served on the beach by the Benny’s Place. Walk back to the street to enjoy non-vegetarian cuisine at the Shawarma Hut, where they serve non-vegetarian cooked in an unique Arabian style. Step into the Bambooze for some peppy music to rock your evenings over a drink. Try vegetarian food at the Sagar Kinara which makes one of the finest Kashmiri Kofta in town or authentic sea-food at the Portofino’s.
Going for the sight-seeing from the area was also easier than I expected. The area offers several options to connect with the sight-seeing places. I chose to use the rented scooters which start from as low as Rs. 300/- for the entire day. I picked up one of these scooters from the neighborhood called the David’s and it was a really cool ride. From the south, North Goa is approximately 50 kms, and is a straight and uninterrupted drive from the Margaon highway to Panjim.
Review Of The Colva Holiday Homes
Here is how I review the place based on my booking experience with AirBnB and my stay with Colva Holiday Homes
- Booking Experience Online: 9/10 It was comprehensive, informative and helpful. I was able to do a detailed research and take an informed decision before I booked the property. Plus, there was always a timely followup of reminders emails and necessary updates about the property.
- The Colva Holiday Homes: 9/10: Wonderful. It was an ideal home away from home and worth my investment. The apartment had all the essentials that was needed for a small family and that too at a very good budget.
- The Facilities: 9/10: A studio apartment with an air-conditioned living, a small kitchen, water-supply,free parking and wi-fi facilities.
- Pricing: 9/10: The property was well-priced for a budget accommodation and the average price is around Rs. 2500/- per night.
- The Host: 10/10: She is a polite, humble and a genuinely caring person. We never felt left out of the place and she was always available at short notice.
- The Connectivity: 9/10: A well-connected place with lots of options to explore and connect with the other sight-seeing places.
The owner serves another property called the Florida Garden Apartment in Vanelim, Colva. The apartment has a capacity to accommodate 6 guests (3 couple families) at budget prices. The Airport transfers to the properties are available on request exclusive of the property booking rates.