Nestled in the sleepy town of Sawantwadi is the Sawantwadi Royal Palace - a red laterite mammoth that has become the heart of the city. The former Tai-Saheb Wada that housed the five queens (yaas!) of Sawantwadi has been converted into an art-forward boutique hotel housing 6 palatial suites, a global cuisine restaurant and a swimming pool you'll never want to leave.
Shraddha Bhonsle (Princess) and Lakham Bhonsle (Prince) who are cooler than any millennial I know took up the task of building and running this enterprise. Both are CIA (more culinary, less spy) graduates from New York, Shraddha being a Culinary Arts Chef and Lakham mastering the art of Pastry. This chef-forward hotel offers you all the amenities of a luxe hotel with spacious rooms, sun-lit balconies, plush bathrobes, Ayurvedic bath products and OTT-loaded televisions.
The culinary offering is top notch! What else would you expect from not one, but two chefs driving this hotel. The breakfast includes freshly baked croissants, three styles of butters (the thecha butter is to die for!) and fluffy pancakes. Lunch is hardcore Malvani with veg and non veg thalis. The Sitaphal Basundi is worth writing home about. For dinner you can opt between two tasting menus, of which one is Ramen focussed. Expect rice paper crisps with truffle scented tuna, beetroot and horseradish cured salmon, a cold peanut soba noodle salad, brown butter seared scallops, Korean fried chicken, shoyu ramen and some such. The cherry (or shall I say berry) on the cake was the Chocolate Caramel Gateau with home made Kerala vanilla bean ice-cream and mixed berry jam.
The hotel is happy to organise a Ganjifa art workshop at the Palace, a local village lunch, a day at the beach, a visit to the Pinguli village for leather puppetry, and a private picnic experience amidst the Amboli ghats. Don’t miss out on Chittari Gali - the toy market and a trip to BioDye for an organic fabric dyeing experience
Attention to detail.
And the food!
Rs 13000++ per night
Thali starts at Rs 700
Tasting menus start at Rs 1200
50kms from Goa, 1 hour by road.
Closest airports Mopa, Goa and Sindhudurg Chipli Airport.
For a detailed review, check out my write up for Condé Nast Traveller India