In Sinquerim, North Goa, the sea as the backdrop, with Fort Aguada on one side and Candolim on the other, there is a sleepy little dead-end lane; this is where Marbella Guesthouse is located. With its tropical gardens and shady courtyard, bordering jungle, discreet location, and wide stairs to the front entrance, we imagined all manner of characters turning up for cocktails, happy to be free amongst inebriated friends in what used to be a sleepy backwater state, an agricultural Goa where farmers and fishermen left a few hippies on the beach to do their thing. With its off-the-beaten-track location, Marbella still retains much of its magic; there’s no noisy traffic, no walk-in guests and, in fact, no reason to go there unless you’re staying the night.
The Penthouse Suite, as you’d expect, is the biggest and best. Also on the first floor is the Garden Room, which overlooks the courtyard below. The Bougainvillea Rooms open out into the said courtyard, but also have their own shared balcony. Then there’s the Moghul Suite and Rajasthani Suite; both are big, but the latter is the best of the two as it has more privacy. Really, all these rooms are great; it’s difficult to pick one (go for the Penthouse Suite, if your budget allows). The local staff here do a great line of Indian and Goan food; it’s all delicious and you can’t really go wrong. Eat in your room, on your balcony or in the communal courtyard. Breakfast is not included, but if you do opt for it, take your pick from French toast, cereal, and fruit; all the western staples are there and all fresh, with ample portions. Out and about there are plenty of places to eat.