The While Balcao has got itself a scenic spot in Fontainhas to set up a hostel, a cafe, a boutique and yoga studio, all rolled into one.
While an unusually modern sensibility would stick out like a sore thumb in this heritage area, Aalok and Swati have managed to make the quaint and the contemporary come together in a gorgeous set-up. The water fountain right at the entrance and vintage frill curtains in the cafe are perhaps our favourite elements at this place. Not to forget, vintage-looking artworks that add to the charm.
They’ve got three dorms (two with AC and one without) and one twin-sharing room. In all, it can take up to 16 guests, making this a small and sweet boutique hostel. In keeping it compact, they’re ensuring that the space is always sparkling clean and the cafe food, always fresh. We realised how much of an upgrade their bathrooms were too. All modern and with ample light streaming in, they’re sure to make you love The White Balcao a tad bit more.
While this is one wing, with the cafe, the common room with board games and an upstairs chill-out area, there’s another side that’s dedicated to an activity space and a boutique. We love that they have a complimentary breakfast so you don’t have to step out the first thing every morning. The cafe does comforting small bites (their crispy, buttery sandwiches, mango and mint iced tea and special shrewsbury biscuits from Pune are the best) and a variety of gourmet teas and coffee.
Keep an eye out for a sleepy cat who’s usually napping around and doesn’t seem to mind attention at all. Also, even if you aren’t staying at the hostel, you can pop in for a cup of coffee or to browse through their store that has lovely cotton clothes, accessories and knick knacks. We promise, your Instagram will have a great time.