Praya Villas, A multisensory getaway dressed in old Goan charm with its own private stretch of beach
NOV 29, 2023 | By Krupakshi Mehta
Who would have thought that a humble boat, journeying from the shores of Portugal would wield such a profound influence on the food, architecture and way of life in a far-off coastal town – Goa? Known for its lively nightlife and roads lined with Palm trees, Goa holds a serene charm amidst those colourful facades, patterned streets and tiled rooftops. Here, a hidden gem awaits discovery — Praya Villas.
This sanctuary, ensconced along one of North Goa’s less crowded beaches, Morjim Beach — a nesting ground for Olive Ridley Turtles — stands as a testament to the passion and dedication of Neesha and Fritz Dsilva, the globetrotting duo from Mumbai, who have designed and curated Praya as a soporific destination of design, aesthetics and views galore. With fourteen idyllic villas, Praya Villas beckons souls seeking respite from the rigours of a hectic work week.
The old Goan charm
A self-contained ecosystem in its own, the property encapsulates one with its old Goan charm. As we walked down the carefully cobbled street we were introduced to the villas, adorned with facades painted in hues of yellow, blue, white and green, each colour thoughtfully inspired by the sun, sea and everything in between.
The layout is meticulously devised to foster an ongoing dialogue between indoor and outdoor spaces, categorising the villas into distinct spatial configurations: sea view villas, garden villas, courtyard villas and the Concha (meaning shells in Portugal).
Every villa comprises four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a spacious living room, a dining area and a private pool. Some of these villas even offer terraces, perfect to relish the vistas of the serene sea and the verdant landscape that stretches beyond.
Art, flavours and the profound impact of chance
Every minute detail, from the floor tiles to the curtains, have been chosen by Neesha, who was involved in every step of the process from inception to completion. “We have collected artefacts from various corners of the world. During our holiday in Thailand, we sourced many of these unique pieces. I have dedicated many years to this project even before it officially began. For instance, the doors are all made of exquisite Burma teak, and the inward-facing doors have been reclaimed and repurposed here,” shares Neesha as she guides us through the rooms of Concha, one of Praya’s premium villas.
Within the walls of this holiday haven, one also stumbles upon an impressive array of art pieces, including paintings by renowned artists and vintage maps depicting the historic Bombay port, framed to perfection. Be it the garden villa or the Concha, one is sure to spot a black turtle on one of those walls. From white sheer curtains in the verandah to the patterned tiles on the floor and from casual sit outs in the gardens to the wooden zarukhas on the facade, every sight in this serene expanse is an art to behold.
Praya is dedicated to environmental responsibility, given its proximity to the turtle conservatory. Villas were designed carefully to minimise impact, using local laterite stones and efficient UPVC doors/windows.
Art, stars and delectable delights
At Baracca, the “guests only” restaurant on the property, beneath the canopy of stars, as fireworks punctuated the night sky at every other minute, our conversation embraced the world of art.
With Neesha and Fritz’s delightful company, we savoured lobsters and spring rolls while our discussions ranged from emerging artists to Mumbai’s art deco heritage. In that moment, the passage of time became an afterthought. We lost ourselves to art, flavours and the warm camaraderie.
Whether it is seafood that you are craving or your commitment to a vegan feast – they cater to all. Explore diverse culinary choices, or take charge in your villa’s kitchen for a personalised culinary adventure.
As we made our way back to our villa, a compelling thought lingered in my mind — What if that boat had never found its way to this shore? It’s a question that forces us to consider the profound impact of chance and circumstance. From the moment that boat set sail to Goa’s rise as a tourist spot and the birth of Praya Villas, it underscores the incredible journey that has shaped this place.