Adena tells us about her honeymoon in Goa at the beach.
I’m a simple kind of gal, and when my husband and I planned our honeymoon for early 2013, we chose 6 weeks in India. “…Okay,” was the usual response when we told friends and family. We knew that it was not going to be your typical honeymoon, but what was wrong with that? We hoped for the trip of a lifetime – and we got it! Not in small part to a surprising stay at Turtle Hill Bungalows on Patnem Beach, Goa.
I do not usually book my hotels ahead when I’m traveling for more than a week or two – I’m of the old school backpacker type that likes to plan after I land. Though before we left, the one thing I did was to book a few nights at Turtle Hill, saying to myself, “Hey, we need a little pampering, right? Hell, it’s our honeymoon!” I was a bit weary spending 100 Euros per night for a glorified ‘beach hut,’ that I had never seen, but it was right up there with one of the best decisions I ever made.
Patnem itself is a super relaxed scene. Rather than a focus on nightlife and parties, like many other Goan beaches, Patnem is popular with families, yogis, and those who’d rather see the sun rise after a good night’s sleep than a long night drinking. If you’re lucky, you’ll see dolphins swimming right off of the beach. And while we were there, the waves were large enough to surf, not so common on the West coast of India.
Turtle Hill Bungalows, as the ‘huts’ are called, are unlike anything you’ve ever seen…in real life. The huts are highly stylized, borderline kitschy, but satisfies one’s expectation for the exotic. Like all of the impermanent structures on Goa’s beaches, they must dismantle the huts for monsoon season, and rebuild every year. This protects the beach from from erosion, for one, and protects locals from debris that would come down with the rains. This season was Turtle Hill’s first time building at Patnem, and they plan to stay in this region. They only had two rentals available this year, plus their River View Villa (a short drive from the beach), but next year they plan to build three bungalows.
Turtle Hill is about the only place on the beach you can find true privacy. The huts are located at the North End of the beach, atop a literal little hill which overlooks the beach. No one goes up there unless they are taking a yoga class, and no one will follow the trail by your bungalow unless they happen to be staying in the other one.
Each bungalow has two floors, and two bathrooms(!!): the first floor is a hang-out area, in which we chose to have breakfast brought to us each morning. Upstairs is the main bedroom, and there is a deck. You might choose to do your own yoga or meditation here, unless you decide to join one of the classes that is offered by Harmonic, the attached spa and wellness business. I have to say that there is no hot water – there is none as far as I know if you’re staying right on the beach in Goa. You won’t miss it – while we were there in February the average temperature was 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Breakfast is included, and incredible: choose all that you want to have from muesli, fresh local fruit, freshly made yogurt, coffee, chai, toast, and more. It was the best breakfast we found on Patnem Beach, and they feed you so much, it could be your only meal of the day. Niten, (pronounced Nathan) the maitre d’, is always smiling and ready to help. I have to say, our Turtle Hill stay may have changed my travel habits, and it sure made our honeymoon.
Prices depend on the season in which you visit, between 7,500 INR (166 USD*) and 9000 INR (200 USD*) per night.
If you want to stay at Turtle Hill, you must book ahead through their website. They ask for 50% deposit to be paid through PayPal, and the rest must be paid in cash before you leave. Patnem is about 2 hours by taxi from Dabolim, the only airport in Goa.
More on this guest writer
Adena Harford is the travel blog editor for the tripwolf travel blog who is a regular contributor to #BeachThursday. Aside from being a travel blogger, she has been studying and teaching yoga for 8 years around the world as well as at her home-base in Burlington, VT. She ties her yoga practice in with the study of Ayurveda, and ancient Indian system of medicine. Adena loves when her passions for travel, yoga and ayurveda, come together, as they will in Jamaica this year!
Photo Credit: Adena Harford