With the launch of Ama Stays and Trails, The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) has provided an opportunity to the tourists to stay in two heritage bungalows in Candolim with all the amenities like guided tours, security personnel, hygiene staff etc. Thanks to the launch, tourists can now have a unique experience of Goan life while staying in a branded homestay
There is a segment of tourists, who don’t want to stay in a hotel because they think hotels tend to be too commercial in nature. At times, this segment is inconvenienced due to a lack of privacy in hotels.
As a result, they prefer staying in homestays because it makes them feel at home while on a vacation. To capture this segment, The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) recently launched two bungalows in Candolim as branded homestays as part of its Ama Stays and Trails portfolio.
The two bungalows in Goa, which IHCL has positioned as homestays, are Cardozo House and Villa Braganza.
There is an interesting story there. Vincent Ramos, General Manager of Taj Exotica and Area Director-Goa of IHCL, informed that the company bought these properties years ago, but they weren’t being used as homestays.
Ramos said, “Both these properties were bought around 40 years back by IHCL. Cardozo House was used as a godown and a piggery. Now, we have decided to use them like branded homestays.”
Once the decision was taken to use these properties as homestays, the IHCL turned them around while retaining their essence and started offering them as upmarket but intimate stay experience for high-end tourists in the State.
“Cardozo House is an antique and heritage Portuguese house. It is on an interior village road. Villa Braganza, on the other hand, is on the main road of Candolim and it is contemporary in looks and style,” Ramos continued.
Between Cardozo House and Villa Braganza, IHCL has got two properties with great contrasts. Cardozo House is an exquisite heritage villa belonging to the Portuguese era with its 20 ft high roofed ceiling, beautiful tiled flooring hand-painted by local Goan artisans and a massive dining room, which has a hand carved long wooden dining table that seats 10 people and is decorated with crystal chandeliers.
Villa Braganza is more contemporarily styled two-storied bungalow. Its decor is inspired by the traditional indigo and white coloured ‘Azulejos’. The other features of the bungalow are wooden panelled stairs with Azulejos tiled edgings and rooms with windows overlooking a large garden below and some even having attached verandahs.
Both the bungalows are equipped with a kitchen, fridge, washing machine and dishwasher. The guests can cook their food if they wish. The IHCL provides services of security and hygiene so that tourists have the best possible stay.
Ramos said, “When you book the Cardozo House or Villa Braganza for your stay, you have your freedom and also get two helps inside each of these bungalows. It is like staying in your own home, but with services provided by IHCL.”
So if a family wants to stay in a branded homestay, it can book a whole bungalow for their vacation rather than staying in a room in a hotel. Both the bungalows have four bedrooms each. Even a group of 3 to 4 friends can book a bungalow and have a unique experience.
“We are targeting high-end tourists for these properties. Tariffs will range from Rs 25,000 to 75,000 per night for each bungalow depending on the time of the year the tourists plan their vacation,” Ramos added.
Another feature of branded homestays is the trails. When tourists come to stay at such bungalows they get an opportunity to go on trails to explore the Goan life. The idea is to give them a closer look at Goa’s present, its history and its heritage.
As part of trails, tourists can go to a local distillery to see how feni is made, they can go fishing or they can cycle around a village to see the local culture and people.
Ramos said, “These are not run-of-the-mill experiences. We provide you with our tour guides for these activities. So, these are private guided tours, which give you a glimpse of the Goan life, its history, architecture etc.”
The concept of branded homestays has been a hit and IHCL is going to expand this portfolio by taking many more properties. Ramos informed that owners have already approached them to offer their properties, which can be marketed like branded homestays.