Late Georgina Figuereido was the sombre image of a spinster, gleefully holding on to vestiges of Goa and the legacy of her family amidst the verdant fields of Loutolim. These are now being taken forward by Pedro Figueiredo de Albuquerque through Figueiredo’s Old Heritage Inn.
Figueiredo’s Old Heritage Inn is a homestay that is not just a home to tourists, but a house that carries the personality of a family that Georgina kept alive with her happy demeanour.
Pedro was born and brought up in Portugal and returned to his ancestral house to maintain the heritage that is now living through its thirteenth generation.
The Figuereido homestay is made up of rooms that carry the elegance of the past, furniture that smells of aristocracy and a space that reflects the good old days of fun in Goa.
“The old lived a life that many will not see today. What the ancestors of this house have left behind is only memories for the present to cherish,” says Constancio Gomes, the go-between of the old and the new.
Pedro along with his mother, Maria de Fatima, decided to return from Lisbon after the death of his grandmother to make their home a pleasant stay for tourists from the country and the world, and the freshness brought in shows the legacy is here to last.
“The idea was to showcase family history and also show the diversity of Goa’s background. My aunty always welcomed people when she was alive, and it gave her the thrill to see people happy. We are continuing with that,” says Pedro, who at thirty thinks it is too early to see the future with clarity.
The homestay has self-contained rooms, a swimming pool, a playing room, lounges and plenty of space to spend quality time individually.
It also boasts of a kitchen that serves Goan food with its preparation overseen by a Goan chef. To enjoy Goan food is a luxury difficult to find today, and Pedro and his team make sure that there are no compromises on the menu card.
“Post-Covid, we have sixty per cent of Indian guests, forty per cent of foreign guests and just around ten per cent of guests from Portugal. I think the Portuguese are more fascinated by the exotic India or the travel agents are unable to sell Goa,” discloses Pedro.
One side of the house is a homestay and the other half has been turned into a museum which houses the cutlery, furniture, crockery and essentials of what was part of the family residence decades back.
“We have groups that come to see the museum, and we also host wedding celebrations of people. We get clients who like to just come and relax and those who like to come and discover Goa from this point,” reveals Constancio.
“Tourists are now looking for high-end homestays. South Goa is leading the market with top-quality places. We have places where rooms are being sold for as much as Rs 30,000 a day, and it reflects the demand,” thinks Neil Barros Pereira, who carries a degree of Masters in Hospitality.
Pedro has made a long journey from Portugal to Goa, and in the process is going to connect many loose ends that may have been forgotten or ignored to keep the dream of his forefathers alive.
He must not forget that offering a visitor a glass of water was the basis on which his aunty Georgina left all with a smile and the desire to visit again.