When it comes to hotels, there is no shortage in Goa which always tends to surprise its visitors with a new addition every year and a ‘must-try’ list. However, even after all the new hotels have emerged, everybody knows the saying, 'Old is gold ’.
Here is a classic hotel which is a 130-year-old family mansion and is located right in the heart of the Latin Quarter of Fontainhas in Panjim. The best part about the location of this hotel is that it’s only 5 minutes away from the Panjim bus stand.
Known to be one of Goa’s oldest heritage hotels, the property has three beautifully restored hotels, namely The WelcomHeritage Panjim Inn, The WelcomHeritage Panjim Pousada and The WelcomHeritage Panjim Peoples.
WelcomHeritage Panjim Inn
The Panjim Inn, Goa’s first and only classified heritage hotel is owned and managed by the same family and is now a part of WelcomHeritage, a joint venture between H H The Maharaja of Jodhpur and ITC WelcomGroup.
The property is currently run by Ajit Sukhija, his spouse Dr Maria Lilia Sequeira, their son Jack Ajit Sukhija and daughter Dr Gitanjali Sukhija, and together, the family looks after the management and operation of the properties.
Coming back to the hotel, this 19th-century restored heritage hotel is concurrent with old-world Goan hospitality for the discerning traveller with a desire to know Goa’s history, culture, cuisine, and art.
WelcomHeritage Panjim Inn is the ancestral home of Ajit Sukhija, and was built around 1880 by Francis Assis's de Silviera, Ajit’s maternal great-grandfather.
After the house was converted into a hotel, it had only 2 employees and since then it has grown, remembers Ajit. A walk through the Welcome Heritage Panjim Inn will lead you to its noticeable wooden gazebo made of Sindhudurg pillars.
The lobby of the hotel is sure to give one a vintage feel with its beautiful vintage furniture. The hotel has 24 rooms and all rooms are complete with 4 poster antique beds, period almirahs, love seats and carved pelmets that adorn the doors and windows.
Paintings hanging in all the rooms are from the Gitanjali Gallery, next door and these add to the charm and character of the hotel.
Speaking about the 4 poster beds, Ajit, who is said to have a keen eye for antique furniture, shared an incident that happened on his visit to Divar Island. “There was a man who was about to chop down a 4-poster bed, and when asked for his reason for doing so, he replied saying 'Who is going to use this bed? Instead, I can use the wood for fire!' I immediately paid the man and recovered the bed,” he explained.
The artefacts that you will see around the property are imported from China, Europe and Macau. Not forgetting the wooden pillars from Sindhudurg, old wooden artefacts, dowry chests, rosewood sofas, glassware and China crockery.
You can also see objects of wood from the Konkan, wooden palkis, cabinets and other antique items that help convert the WelcomHeritage Panjim Inn into an antique museum of sorts.
All the rooms are air-conditioned with en suite bathrooms and hot water, and, there is also a jacuzzi at the top of the hotel which is only available on request. The hot water in the hotel is circulated through solar panels, giving it an eco-friendly touch.
Even though the property has more than one floor, there are no elevators, which forces one to experience the simple art of taking the stairs.
The in-house restaurant, ‘The Verandah’, which overlooks the 31st January Road is one that will let you feast on fine Goan and continental food, sip on feni or a lemoncello and watch the town folk go about their daily chores.
WelcomHeritage Panjim Peoples
Coming to the Welcome Heritage Panjim Peoples, this place is the oldest among the three edifices and is said to have been built around the year 1840.
Before becoming a hotel, it had the distinction of being Goa’s first English medium high school and Dr Lily Sequeira, who is a partner had also studied in this very school, 60 years ago. After the renovation of the building, the ground floor was converted into a hall, housing the Gallery Gitanjali and the conference room.
The Gitanjali Gallery displays and sells fine art while the bedrooms on the first floor are let out as boutique accommodations. It is said that one of the rooms was once occupied by the Maharaja of Jodhpur, President of the Indian Heritage Hotels Association during the course of an executive committee meeting which was held in Goa.
WelcomHeritage Panjim Pousada
Lastly, but not least, is the Welcome Heritage Panjim Pousada. This house was once owned by the Ghanekhar family, and is said to be one of the rare Hindu homes in this predominantly Catholic Latin Quarter of Fontainhas.
Upon entering the house, one will find a massive courtyard with a centre tulus where the ladies of the house used to perform the aarti. There are 9 bedrooms with antique furniture and a touch of modern amenities added to them.
WelcomHeritage’s properties are among the most centrally located hotels in Goa, making it the exemplary choice for vacation!