Vivenda dos Palhaços is a painstakingly refurbished mansion originally built in 1929. Situated in a cul-de-sac in Majorda, South Goa, a few minutes away from the beach, the house has a distinct atmosphere across its premises.
The Portuguese mansion at the front has two bedrooms, a living room and a huge dining area which opens onto the courtyard. Adjoining this is the Hindu part of the house with three bedrooms. A cottage and garage have also been elegantly converted as bedrooms to add to the house.
The backyard gardens have an open dining area alongside sun beds overlooking the expansive swimming pool. Gazebos, hammocks and garden chairs dot the periphery of the pool.
Vivenda dos Palhaços provides eight accommodation options within its premises. The rooms are named after places that the owners have lived and loved between Indian states of Bengal and Tamil Nadu. Comfortably sleeping sixteen at any given point, the entire house can be rented out.
Konnager is the master bedroom with a balcony and a four poster bed. Alipore is decked with antique funiture. It has a window seat overlooking the neighbouring coconut plantation.
Madras is a large double bedroom with an open air shower. It has French doors opening out to the garden. Ballygunge has twin single beds which can be converted to a double bed. With a private entrance from the corridor, Ooty has a built-in double bed, sitting area and a mirrored en-suite bath.
Providing twin beds, Chanpara is a spacious tent amidst coconut gardens by the pool boasting a private entrace and old camping furniture and artifacts. It is reminiscent of the family's hunting lodge in Bengal.
The Chummery is a large cottage with two verandahs. Darjeeling is a refurbished old garage which has a mezzanine floor. It has its own private garden beside the main entrance.
All rooms are sans television or phones; but have en-suite baths, fans, air conditioning and Wi-Fi.
Vivenda dos Palhaços has a heritage soul with a young, playful character. The decor is cheerful; contemporary elements, antique furniture and quirky artifacts punctuate the heritage property - an A-Z guide about things to do and avoid, a bruised dentist chair, an old barber's chair alongside Portuguese styled mirrors, handcarved cupboards, wooden minibar, matrimonial ad plasters et al.
Colonial keepsakes and memorabilia - family photographs post independence in Bengal, their horse stables and polo matches in Calcutta; vintage advertisements of their then brewery adorn the house corridors.
FOOD & DRINK
The kitchen serves up delectable fare - Signature dishes include Goan Feast with a suckling pig, Iced Gazpachio topped with Lobster drizzled in Paprika oil and the Full English Breakfast. Organic coffees, teas, and fresh juices are available. The bar also prides in a selective imported wine list.
There is a sense of community at Vivenda with almost everyone converging at the bar and further toward the long communal dining table next to the pool, which can seat up to twenty guests. Dinners are like a family gathering, hosts join guests for the meal.
Other common areas include an extensive library, games and cards and the backyard garden swimming pool.
Vivenda dos Palhaços is owned by siblings Simon Hayward and Charlotte Hayward of the famed Hayward family who used to own the now renamed Hayward Brewery and Distillery. Children of the Late Sir Anthony Hayward, they were born and brought up in India. As fourth generation of their family living and working here, they have received honorary Person of Indian Origin status conferred upon them.
Simon left behind a high profile career in advertising working in Mumbai, New Delhi, Hongkong, Singapore and New Zealand to eventually move to Goa. He long since had a dream to purchase an old house, renovate it to his tastes and convert it into a boutqiue hotel. A budding cook, he occasionally gets behind the kitchen tables.
Charlotte has travelled extensively across India and prefers Goa for its cultural heritage and progressive nature. Having lived and worked in Japan, Hong Kong and London donning hats of a teacher and advertising executive amongst others, she now is responsible for guest relations at Vivenda.
After a series of attempts to purchase heritage properties, this house fell into the hands of Simon whilst his stint in New Zealand. The mansion was restored to its current condition with significant amount of care. Both brother and sister are now very much part of the local community in Majorda.
John Gracias, a consultant Goan chef, who has been with the duo since the beginning, manages the property, meets guests' needs and supervises duties of the staff.