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    Check-in at a quaint hotel or drop by designer studios – here’s how to spend a summer getaway at the beach state

    There’s something about Goa, hot weather or not, that gets you into that perfect holiday frame of mind. Not surprisingly, it still remains #1 on the holidaymaker’s India vacation destination list even during the off-season. Just back from a buzzing Goa weekend, I’m happy to report that the party vibe has not been dented by the heat. So what does one do on a summer visit to Goa, when there are no music fests or beach shacks to keep oneself busy? I managed to stay occupied with visits to familiar old haunts and some fun new ones. Here are a few…

    Vivenda dos Palhacos, Majorda village
    If you’re visiting South Goa, consider a change and stay at the quaint Vivenda dos Palhacos. A Portuguese hacienda converted into a seven-room boutique hotel (feels more like a home than hotel) and run by British brother-sister duo, Charlotte and Simon Hayward, the rooms are filled with antique furniture and mementos from their own long history in India where they were born and raised — including old barber chairs, planters loungers, sepia photographs (all original!) and a pool which looks straight out of The Great Gatsby. A talking point for sure, Vivenda is a tiny green space nestled in the bylanes of Majorda village and if you’re yearning for a slice of Portuguese-accented Goa, look no further.
    Details: vivendagoa.com

    Wendell Rodricks Design Space, Panaji
    Not new, but familiar and delightful for fashion aficionados, a visit to the studio of Goa’s big name designer Wendell Rodricks is a must. Situated in an old house, you won’t be bothered in the quiet space…meander and leaf through the racks. I love his white room, but his range in glorious pastels is also worth a dekko. Details: wendellrodricks.com

    Koi, Calangute
    Goa is famous for its beach shacks and casual dining, but a few noteworthy fine dining spaces also exist. Koi, tucked away in a refurbished, old Portuguese house off the Calangute main road offers fusion Asian cuisine (including teppanyaki, dimsum and sushi), well-made cocktails from a well-stocked bar. The great news is that it has an air-conditioned space as well as an extensive open air area where you can sip your Martinis and nibble on dim sum all day or late into the night. If you’re tired of cheap cutlery and crave a little culinary pampering, there’s now a year-round choice here. Shefali Gandhi, the owner, is insistent that the focus must remain on good food – like their hoisin snapper or Singapore chilli crab.
    Details: koigoa.com

    Fashion by Stephany at Republic of Mode, Candolim
    Keen on browsing cool summer wear ala Goa? Stephany D’Souza, an upcoming Goan designer, is quickly getting popular for her flowing chiffon drapes and funky colour combos. Her clothes, along with other resort-friendly designers like Eka and Péro, can be found at a tiny new boutique on the Fort Aguada road, Republic of Mode. Just the place to hunt for outfits with that chilled Goa vibe.
    Details: facebook.com/republicofmode

    – Ruma Singh


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