Casa Bottu is everything we have ever dreamed of! Photographs don't do it justice.
As I write this review, my young family is lazing by the pool, after spending an active morning swimming, interspersed with treats for the boys-french fries and ice cream and a lazy poolside lunch. The boys (4 and 8) are still fooling around in the pool, my husband (a slave to the modern work force) is working on his laptop and I am writing this long overdue review while relaxing on the sun bed.
It is our second long stint here, during the pandemic. Need I say more! We stayed here a month and a half earlier. Again, our original booking was for two weeks but from day one it felt like home. Finally we left after 6 weeks because they had a prior booking, or else we may never have left. And as soon as we could, we were back. This time we are spending two months here and already wish we had booked it for longer.
The mornings are misty as the weather turns, and we enjoy our morning walks amongst the calls of the multitude of peacocks, pea hens and egrets every day. Not to forget the cows, of which there are 100s on Chorao. This morning we spotted a woodpecker outside the bedroom window.
It offers the perfect mix of village life (our neighbours actually wish us good morning on our morning walks) and access to the city (an hour's drive), while being ensconced in our own little piece of nature's paradise, cut off from the world. When we are in the villa, nothing exists outside- not the stress, traffic or covid. We feel safe and at peace.
Simplefern, in her review dated 8th March 2021, has already described the location, the commute and the amenities in great detail and accurately so I wont get into it again.
It is a beautiful property...an oasis in this already beautiful state of Goa. The exteriors make for a perfect setting for relaxing with a cup of tea, coffee or a beer. The periphery is lined with towering teak trees (actual teak!) There are plenty of palms, chickoo, mango, and guava trees. There is ample space for football, badminton and cricket in the paved courtyard and when you're tired, you can jump into the pool or take a walk on the verdant, rolling slopes outside, circumambulating the 450 year old St. Bartholomew's Church. The church makes an impressive sight bathed in the early morning sun, the golden light of the setting sun or on a full moon night. The walks take you to the paddy fields, in the direction of Pomburpa, where you can enjoy spectacular sunsets.
Of course, with so much nature, comes the usual bit of creepy crawlies outside but we have learnt to live and let live and are happy that the boys are getting this unique experience to see nature do its thing. of course, we are respectful and aware of our surroundings and take care too, The only thing I would happily do without are the mosquitoes but that is to be expected with so much greenery around. The staff is well prepared with mosquito repellent.
We could and do spend hours in the pool. It is like swimming in a lagoon with the colour of the natural tiles giving it the colour and feel of the sea. The only thing missing are the fish! In the morning, the dappled sunlight makes for an interesting "ocean" floor, afternoons are well shaded thanks to the trees and in the late evenings, the pool transforms into a magical land with the lawn and pool lights casting a glow. It is uniformly 5' deep and all adults can stand comfortably while the children happily tread the water. The pool is well maintained.
The villa itself is a 120 year old property and we love living in it. It's fascinating to see the architecture and understand how it was designed keeping the elements in mind, The staircase, dining table and benches are also 100+ years old upstairs. The verandah is where we spent most of our times- morning and evening tea and with the kids doing their online schooling from different corners while getting some air and sun.
The living and dining area is probably the least used by us as it is minimilastic and doesn't really make for hanging out for long periods but it serves the purpose sufficiently. The downstairs bedroom is used as an office by us and is a little smaller and darker but will offer solace in the summer months. The accompanying bathroom is as large as a bedroom itself! The second downstairs bedroom is a tiny twin bedded room and can be used as kids' room or a staff room. Bathroom is shared with the earlier mentioned bedroom.
The upstairs has two equally large bedrooms which are a treat with their large windows which let the sun and air in and the fantastic view of the pool and surrounding forest. One has an open bathroom while the other has a regular closed one. Take your pick! The beds are comfortable and the linen is clean. The bathrooms have a rustic feel but not lacking in any modern amenity. As mentioned already, the shower pressure is fantastic. Nothing to beat the exhaustion from your bones after a hot, sandy day at the beach.
The WIFI and electricity is more than sufficient and efficient enough for us to be able to run three video meetings simultaneously on most days. One odd day, when it's down, the owner has provided extra Jio dongles. Also, there is an inverter on the property.
The isolation and greenery of Chorao is exactly what we wanted and we spend all week here peacefully. On the weekends, we drive out and cross over to the mainland on the ferry or via the Calvim bridge and drive to one of the various gorgeous beaches. The Panjim beaches are the closest (Miramar, Dona Paula, Vanguinim etc.), 35- 40 mins away. Candolim is also close enough (one and a half hour one way) and offers a good mix if you need to also stock up or pick up anything from the shops. We have also driven a lot to the southermost beaches as well and they are beautiful. However, they are about 2 hours drive each way.
The staff is rock solid, caring and affectionate. Bishnu is an excellent cook and very quick to fulfil any requests. Raghu is the rocksolid backbone of the property and makes sure he holds the fort if Bishnu is out grocery shopping or arranging things.
We have really found a home away from home and hope to come back as often as we can.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Between simplyfern's review and my review I think we've covered it all but if you still have questions, feel free to ask.
Now i am jumping back in the pool :)
Casa Bottu is a lovely place located on an island just off Panjim city... A short ferry ride and you are completely disconnected from the city.. On the property u can't even hear a honk from a vehicle, just the sounds of crickets and birds... The pool is blissful and kept very clean and circulated by the caretakers who stay on the property and they also helped with our needs... The rooms were kept clean and tidy before we arrived...
Charles has done a great job with the whole place and also maintained it very well.. He was the best host one could ask for.. Even though he wasn't there. He would ask if we needed anything and co-ordinated with his boys on the property to get it done.
A couple of days here and our minds were kind of reset from the hustle and bustle of the city. Will definitely do this again.
Kudos to you Charles for creating such a marvelous place and also to your team who made us feel at home..
We had an amazing, comfortable and relaxed time at island pool villa..perfect for families.
The caretakers were so polite and made us feel completely at home.
Definitely worth a visit,i will definitely be going back.
Casa Bottu has such a lovely vibe to it. The house is maintained so well and tastefully done keeping the rustic goan touch to it,yet at the same time having all the amenities needed for a perfect getaway.
The caretakers are both really helpful and did an amazing job with the bbq . Charles was very easy to communicate with and was pretty accommodating with a few of our personal requests.
Would def visit again
Casa Bottu is a 100 year old house which is updated with modern amenities and a pool that’s overlooking the woods. It’s great for a weekend getaway and a truly rejuvenating experience. Surrounded by nature and a few homes it’s primarily quiet and blissful. The staff is overly helpful and have maintained the property well. It’s a stones throw away form the St. Bartholomew Church and centrally located on Chorao Island. One can indulge in Bird watching at the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, trekking along the hills or streams or just taking a nature ramble. This villa gives you a taste of life in Chorao, a beautiful Goan village. 5 stars for amenities, accessibility, cleanliness, safety, friendly-staff and ambience. Highly recommend!