that slow whirl of the fan directly above my bed was the first sound i heard as i woke up… it felt familiar, but i felt disoriented. i scrunched my eyes, closed them to dull my ‘am-awake-lets-go’ over-active morning senses and heard my brain ask, “where am i?”
rarely do i stay in a hotel that resembles my space in aesthetics and vibe so much that i get confused about where i am! there is always, yes always, a ‘hotel’ element to every room – even in the best heritage homes, a couple of months into business they become a hotel. this fact wasn’t so at this heritage home.
presenting mitaroy, panjim goa.
mitaroy is unassuming from the outside and equally so on the inside. as you approach via a tiny path, you wonder how big this seemingly small cottage can be. you step into the wicket gate still wondering if its going to be a little too cozy? once inside you look up at the high ceiling and wonder why it was deceptively small from the outside.
the heart of the house is in the central common room, with rough-cut laterite stone wall by the wooden steps leading to the mezzanine floor on one side, a couple of wooden doors, a fan whirling high above your head and thin chanderi silk (i think) curtains fluttering here and there. there is a bookshelf with books to borrow, a tiny wooden study to desire and a couple of chairs to settle into. the rooms are spacious with a living space and a bedroom for each party (my usual plug, way more spacious than an average matchbox-mumbai house)
i walked into what would be my room for the next 24 hours and was greeted by an overall chrome yellow feel, with earthy rugs strewn over the floor, warm maroon curtains flapping over the windows, dark rosewood & teak furniture dotting the room and a solitary hanging lamp that drew my attention to the study table at the corner. i stepped into the bedroom and saw thin curtains to keep out the morning light and prying eyes. a large trunk with a simple runner over it and two chairs next to it. the pale yellow of the bathroom, contrasted by white and all this play on merely painted walls that kept that story of aesthetic simplicity going.
squashed between many other old bungalows, mitaroy matches the surroundings. it doesn’t stand out like a posh house in a neighbourhood of half-window curtains, honda activas, old grilled windows, wide porches for that late evening gossip session and old-world charm. it fits in, and is a part of that… and it takes you back to the 19th century almost.
set up by mihir nayak, this old home used to belong to his great-aunt, or so jack, the manager informed us. renovated and opened to the public some years ago, a quick peep into the guest book shows a regular flow of visitors. (yes, i peeped while the manager wasn’t looking!)
there is a lot that works for mitaroy.
- openness and space: the fact that they appreciate the silence in spaces and have maintained that all over the house. without being tempted to plump it up with an excess of antique furniture
- old and quaint: it looks and feels like your grandfather’s house, that house you might have spent your summer vacations in. and this adds to the comfort and feeling of familiarity. it has that special feel of an old house where things don’t change and are growing old gracefully… let me not set up the wrong expectations. you can travel without toiletries or a bath-towel… so it’s not that non-hotel a hotel!
- local food: delicious and simple local fare is served for breakfast. not cooked in their kitchen, but sourced from a local restaurant and assembled here. i still dream of that warm, toasted pav…
- great location: a heritage part of panaji, with it’s tiny streets, old bungalows to lust for and great eating options close-by. check out my photographs from my walk around this latin quarter.
that very factor of simplicity in the aesthetics and the entire experience ends up working against it. it made me wonder if i was willing to pay the high rate… it is a double-edged sword – i like the simplicity but also if something looks so much like my house and not even a notch above it, why should i bother paying? but that’s me – it might still work for you.
if you wish to learn more, then visit their website: mitaroy, panjim goa.
i stayed at mitaroy as guests of the owner. the attempt has been to keep this review fair, without any bias.