Go to Goa
Vivenda dos Palhacos, Goa. www.vivendagoa.com. I can’t express how much I love this hotel! It was such a lucky find…and the food! Ohhhhh the food!! It was so delicious I compare every bolognese (yes I know I was in India but in my defence…I needed bulking up after losing 2 stone in the humidity) to the one the chef made for me, from scratch, one sweltering afternoon in april. I arrived in the middle of the morning. Dazed. Confused. Exhausted. Charlotte the kindest of all hostesses, let me sleep on the sofa bed on the porch until the morning when she would show me to my room. I was roused by the cockerels crowing and in the dappled sunlight, this old portugese house looked at it’s best. Simon and Charlotte (brother and sister) own this boutique bolthole in Majorda, the south of Goa. It’s surrounded by jungle but just off the main road and is near to the beach and to an amazing restaurant. Breakfast was unusually social, set around a 22 seater outdoor dining table so you get to chat to your fellow guests. I met a gorgeous English family who worked in Hyderabad and a charming Brazilian chef during my short stay, all with a million stories to tell. From £57 a night in the high season (£38 in the low season May-October-but be prepared for rain), it’s a bargain considering how beautiful it is. A word to the wise: if you book an ayurvedic massage (lots of oil but amazing), be aware that you will be fully naked, so discuss this first if it’s a problem. Flights: I flew with Quatar airlines (you can negotiate a cheap upgrade if you ask nicely enough) stopping in Doha for 2 hours inbetween. You can fly British Airways to Mumbai then Jet Airways from there to Goa and this is normally cheaper. I paid approx £400 for my flight in April. Temperatures: The best time to go is November-March for hot and dry days. In April the humidity is really building up. It’s hot. And it’s sweaty. But if you can cope with this then you can just about squeeze April in before the monsoon starts.