Panjim Inn for that rare heritage experience
There is only one Latin Quarter in Goa. Fontainhas. This is a quiet, lovely area in Panjim with picturesque centuries-old mansions and winding roads. It nestles between the flowing backwaters of Ourem and the gentle slopes of Altinho. And Panjim Inn lets you live in this charming place, giving you an old-world Goa experience that will take you back in time to the charmed existence of the fidalgo, or the Portuguese nobility. Actually it's so perfect a restoration of the old world charm of Goa that WelcomHeritage Panjim Inn waltzed off with the Best Heritage hotel at the Goa Food and Hospitality Awards 2014
This is the special something that Panjim Inn and its two sister hotels, Panjim Pousada and Panjim Peoples bring to you. An ambience that harks back to those halcyon days. These Heritage Hotels are meant for the discerning traveller appreciative of the finer things in life and who has a desire to experience Goa’s history, culture, cuisine and art.
It’s a special place
You feel it as you enter a cool, sun-dappled garden with the prettiest garden furniture, the Reception like every room in the hotel is beautifully appointed with elegant antique furniture. Love seats, chaise-lounges, cabinets with intricate carving, both relief and rococo, and on the walls contemporary art that sits so comfortably with furnishing from days of yore.
Panjim Inn is different from any other hotel in Goa in that it has its in-house art gallery Gitanjali, holding both old and contemporary Goan art. This is the place where you can pick up paintings and other works of art to take back as a memento of a perfect holiday.
Panjim Inn is an eco-friendly hotel with solar water heating, rain water harvesting, energy saving lighting and garden composting which are some of the measures adopted to make the busy but historic precinct of Fontainhas environment clean, green and serene. Some of the heritage walks conducted by the Goa Heritage Action Group commence at the Panjim Inn.
This heritage hotel which is part of the WelcomHeritage Group belongs to one of the oldest families of Goa who fight against all odds to preserve and keep alive the Goan heritage. The present partner’s maternal grandfather Jack Sequeira is a legend of Goa who fought against the amalgamation of Goa with Maharashtra after India liberated Goa from the Portuguese colonial regime. But Portugal has given Goa its special uniqueness, and to lose that would be tragic. Panjim Inn makes certain that uniqueness lives on.
So much history to Panjim Inn
Panjim Inn has been a dominant part of the romantic Latin Quarter since the 1800s. This big colonial mansion of Fontainhas belonged to landed gentry. The original owner was Francis Assis D’Silveira and this mansion has been in the same family for over five generations. The gilded pelmets and the wrought iron railings of the first floor balcaos and verandas, proudly carry the family insignia or brazao of Francis D’Assis Silveira.
Today, 150 years later diligent restoration keeps the external facade unchanged retaining the old-world charm and elegance of the building. Extreme care has been taken to conserve and strengthen the 90cm thick mud, clay and laterite stone walls of the mansion.
You can imagine handsome young fidalgos on the street below the balcaos, serenading comely damsels or almost hear the haunting lament of a Portuguese Fado emerge from the shadows of the evening.
How Ajit Sukhija restored the home of his ancestors
The house passed from generation to generation and finally to Tsushima Valles who inherited the house which is today Panjim Inn. Tsushima was one of the earliest female Goan doctors in the British Army where she met and married Dr Col Chamanlal Sukhija. They were stationed in Poona and had a son, whom they called Ajit, who studied in Columbus, Delhi and also has a double degree in engineering under his belt. He worked for a mining conglomerate in Goa, left in the 80s, took a sabbatical in Italy where he saw first hand the old palaces and villas converted into heritage hotels. Ajit decided to branch out into restoration of heritage buildings. He would begin with converting the family home into a boutique hotel.
Over the years he found that he enjoyed restoration of old buildings and developed a great love for period furniture. He bought the Panjim Pousada in 1997 (one of the few Hindu homes in Fontainhas) and the Panjim Peoples in 2004. The Peoples High School was the alma mater of Ajit's wife Dr Lilia Sequeira.
Today it is a source of pride for Ajit that the buildings pay for their upkeep and are being run by his son Jack and daughter-in-law Miriam. Francis Assis D'Silveira must be a happy soul, watching his legacy emerge strong, loved and as beautiful as ever through more than a hundred and fifty years.
Rooms – big, comfy, airy, beautiful
There are 24 large, immaculately clean, bedrooms with modern facilities including air-conditioning, a mini-fridge, cable television and electronic safes in all rooms. Each room is distinctly individual in character with period furniture including large four-poster beds with firm comfortable mattresses, carved rosewood wardrobes, art and antiques being part of the décor. Their bathrooms too have won special praise. And then there’s the in-house art gallery where you can browse to your heart’s content and buy art too.
Seafood to die for
Local and continental cuisine is served on a romantic first floor veranda restaurant overlooking the street at Fontainhas. Guests are even welcome to try their hand in the kitchen or suggest changes to the menu. Guests have said that their fish curry and prawns are to die for, as are their melt-in-the-mouth desserts. Honeymooners and families, as also single travellers can look forward to a leisurely stay in an old-world setting.
Why do so many of their guests return year after year for more than a decade? In addition to the comfort, elegance, location, cuisine, Panjim Inn has something else that gives it that extra edge – a warm, caring, helpful staff.
If you need to stay in Panjim for a long spell, you could book into the Panjim Inn Service Apartments which are beautifully furnished 2-bedroom duplex apartments at Altinho, Panjim, Goa, India.
So plan a holiday for you and your loved one. Click on the website link below and book that perfect holiday.
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Panjim Inn for that rare heritage experience