Curtorim is a small village off the main city of Margao in South Goa, almost touching the backwaters of Zuari River. Unlike villages of North Goa, South Goa villages still remain with the native population more or less. So, you see big houses from bygone era in different states of conservation. Some have been well maintained, some constructed afresh and some make you feel you have walked into the 19th CE. As we were driving towards Curtorim, I wondered how it would be have a house restored to experience the erstwhile living and Arco Iris turned out to be the perfect reply – a majestic house in lime yellow color with wide pillared corridor running all around it and a patio to sit and admire the sheer nature in front of it.
We entered the house to see the beautiful living room that to my delight had a small library with well-stocked books and some vintage furniture – the typical Goan chairs made for the leisurely lifestyle. Dining room with its triple tall doors overlooking the landscaped garden outside, gentle music playing and aromatic incense engaged all the senses. We were led to our room called ‘Violet’ that had a private balcony cum sit out right below a mango tree. We later discovered that there are 7 rooms in the house and they have been names after the seven colors of rainbow. There are hints of the name of the color in the room, but colors do not shout from the room. Yellow room has a laterite stone bed with beautiful glazed tiled adding the design element. Indigo room on first floor has a nice sit out with an opening that looks into the sky and we were told that early risers can meet a lot of birds in this space. A part of Blue room has been left exposed to give the feel of how the house was with bare laterite stones. Bathrooms are the most luxurious part of the property; some of them so huge that you can make a hall out of them – wonder if they can be converted into something like Roman baths.
Each room had a pile of 15-20 books and that is what made me fall in love with the place even more. The collected art pieces from different places are aesthetically displayed all over the property. Plants – in pots, in bottles and on earth are all around you all the times. We spotted many butterflies in the garden and in the seasonal lake around the property.
The Ganesh family i.e. Ganesh, Bennita and their two daughters Trusha and Trikaya are the hosts that add so much more to your stay at Arco Iris. Their stories of restoration of the house over 3 years that is pictorially documented on the wall of their hall can leave you mesmerized about their commitment and their ability to take up a tough challenge. You can sit and chat with them on many topics and for visitors they act as guides helping with options to explore in Goa.
As part of Neemrana hotels they hardly need any promotion, but I think this is an ideal place for creative people who may need a secluded, serene yet not empty space to work. It would be a good place for creative workshops like writing retreats, painting sessions etc. Bonus is that you get home made food and that really helps when you stay for longer duration.
We really enjoyed our South Goa exploration that included Budbudi Tal, Spice Plantation, Rock Art, Rachol Seminary and a Birding Walk, with Arco Iris as our base.