Sol de Goa, the luxury lifestyle boutique hotel in North Goa, recreates the essence of a Portuguese courtyard house, while carving a niche for itself as a popular hotspot for music events and high profile fashion shows By Sudipta Dev
Goa based real estate developer, Suraj Morajkar is the managing director of Sun Estates. Born and raised in Goa, Morajkar is a true son of the soil in every way, who through his projects tries to recreate the culture and quintessential charm of his home state. His developments reflect that and more so his first hospitality project, the much feted boutique luxury lifestyle hotel, Sol de Goa.
For the 21-room hotel in Nerul, North Goa, Sun Estates has collaborated with designer Tarun Tahiliani and architect Arvind D’Souza to design the property which resembles Goa’s colonial heritage. Tahiliani did most of the interiors and the Portuguese style hotel received many awards after its completion six years ago. “I wanted to bring the old charm back of a Portuguese courtyard house. I am happy that I could bring in my personality and both, Tarun’s and my vision,” says Morajkar. With a central courtyard, which all rooms open up to, the architecture, has a unique feeling of space.
It is located in quiet green environs with no buildings in sight, next to the Sinquerim river. Some of the upper rooms open to the beautiful river view and distant Candolim church, which looks almost ethereal when lit up at night. Morajkar has a lot of land around the hotel which he bought to maintain the natural environs around the property. “I do not want to make this hotel too much on your face, I want to retain the boutiqueness and give private spaces to people,” he shares.
The guests started with Morajkar’s friends. The idea was to make them feel at home, and Sol de Goa reflects that. “There is a certain clientele who come for this kind of an experience only,” avers Morajkar. The property has earned a repute as a lifestyle boutique hotel, particularly among the Bollywood and fashion world celebrity circuit. Many high profile fashion shows have also been organised in the property. The celebrity designers who have showcased their creations in the property include Wendell Rodricks, Malini Ramani, Ritu Beri.
The hotel facilities include an events space. Every Thursday night there is live music and entertainment which is popular in Goa. International as well as local bands perform. The hotel has featured Dana Gillespie, Gypsy Kings, Garry Lawyer and many other prominent names. “We do a variety of entertainment. Normally we like to maintain the serenity of the place, but once a week it comes alive. Most of those who come for the events include locals as well as tourists. We publicise the event on our social media platforms. Sometimes when we do larger events, it goes to the newspapers and radio as well,” informs Ashley James Thomas, general manager, Sol de Goa.
The rooms inventory include 15 standard rooms and six suites. There are two pools, one of which, dominates the central courtyard. All rooms are located around the courtyard, seven rooms including two suites on the ground floor, the first floor has nine rooms with two suites, and the top floor has two suites and five rooms. On one side the rooms open to the river, while the other overlook the palm trees. There is a small library area.
The restaurant is famous for its Goan speciality. There is also a consultant chef who has catered with Culinary Institute of America and has introduced international cuisines at the property. “We serve everything, from local Goan to pan-Indian to pan-Asian, Mexican food, wood-oven pizzas, etc,” states Thomas. The property is introducing a 24-hour coffee shop with various types of coffees which are not commonly served.
It is a family friendly hotel, perfect for couples, also single travellers and groups. Corporates also often book the whole hotel for off-site events. Majority of guests are Indians (90 per cent), but the hotel also gets clients from Europe (primarily the UK and France). Most of the promotion has happened organically through word of mouth. The property has also linked up with high end international travel agents. OTAs are the most important source of getting guests, both Indian and international.
For Morajkar, his mission and vision of building unique projects continues. He is coming up with an upscale 180 keys five star hotel in Candolim, for which, he has tied up with an international brand. “We are building not just one of the finest hotels in Goa but also in the country. The first phase will open soon. Though the hotel will be modern, every aspect of the property will exude the various aspects of Goa,” he says. Among his new projects is a wellness centre, which will be another unique project of its kind. He is also developing a zone in Panjim, in old Portuguese style, he has named it Bento Minguel, after an old gentleman who lived there.