By now you all probably know that we went to Goa for the New Year, and we had a lot of fun on the beach(Goa Travel: Beach Fun at Goa) and had a great experience of Parasailing (Goa Travel: Parasailing at Goa). While we loved our vacation, we had an unhappy stay at the villa we stayed in.
We had reserved an AirBnB villa called Kokum Tree Villa. It is close to Dabolim airport, maybe just a kilometer or so from the airport. We were a big group of 10 people, 6 adults, and 4 kids. The reason we chose this villa was that we needed a kitchen for the younger kids. We wanted more of a homely atmosphere, and also a place where kids could be free and run around safely. This is not really possible in a hotel. However, though our needs were in sync with the amenities mentioned on the Airbnb site, things turned out quite different in reality.
Going by the list of available amenities specified by the owners of the place on Airbnb, we had working air conditioning, car parking, good breakfast, and some toilet essentials. Let me mention here that the breakfast served was good.
What caught our first attention is that the property is extremely beautiful. It is a Mediterranean style villa with greenery all around, and it is sea-facing. You wake up every morning with a view of the sea. That is something life should be made of, correct? The rooms are done aesthetically too. There are sea-facing balconies that bring in a lot of cool, pleasant air into the rooms. The entrance leads to a foyer lined with flower planters and another entrance that leads to the main building. The ground floor has a living space, a kitchen, and a dining space. There is a beautiful patch of green overlooking the sea.
Our bedrooms were on the first floor. The two floors are connected by a flight of wooden stairs. However, the stairs have no railings. It was terribly unsafe for kids to walk down the stairs. We put two plant pots on the landings and tied the two plants with a clothesline just to give an idea to the kids that they are supposed to walk on the inner side of the stairs. In addition, the first floor has two wings, the right and the left, and they are connected by a long balcony. The mid point of this balcony opens to the inside of the building without a wall. Simply put, you can stand on the first floor and see whats happening on the ground floor. There was a sofa placed at this junction but that sofa could very well topple down to the ground floor if pushed a little. That is definitely not kid-friendly.
If we see the AirBnB ‘Responsible Hosting‘ page, it clearly mentions ‘Ensure stairs are safe and have railings.‘ Also, under ‘Child-Proofing: Ensure your home is safe for children, or else notify guests of potential hazards.’ Simply put, the place does violate the ‘Responsible Hosting’ policies of AirBnB.
The amenities on the site mentioned kid friendly, but sorry, the place is not suitable for kids who are still in the running-around age. If you have kids who are above 12 and who can sit and brood at a place, this could be a decent enough place for you, but definitely not for kids less than 10. If a house doesn’t comply to Airbnb’s responsible hosting policies, how can that house be listed on the site?
The amenities mentioned a kitchen. There was a kitchen but we were not really welcome to it by the hosts of the place. There were a lot of do’s and dont’s. The employed caretaker of the place, was however, very co-operative. He helped me take milk and some food for the kid (that I had carried in my luggage). It is understood that if there is one kitchen for the whole building, multiple usage of it may disturb the daily chores of the house, but in that case, guests would appreciate if there is a separate kitchenette for them, or if the kitchen is not mentioned as an amenity. Below is an expanded version of the listed amenities of Kokum Tree Villa.
Laundry. I will be mentioning the listed amenities a lot for obvious reasons. The amenities mentioned ‘washer,’ and ‘dryer.’ When we asked about laundry, we were told that there was no in-house laundry facility, and we would have to get our laundry done outside. The owner of the place mentioned that they took their laundry somewhere near Dabolim airport, and we should do the same. Really?! For us, it would be more of a vacation to the laundromat if we were to spend time dropping and picking up our daily laundry on a three day trip. I could then come back and post ‘Goa Travels: A visit to the laundry.’
I already mentioned that the villa was beautiful. However, one of the rooms didn’t have a door to the bathroom. There was a shade that we could roll down and that would separate the bath from the living. I had heard of an open kitchen, but not of an open bathroom! Imagine a living room with kids and your friends walking or chatting with a full view of someone actually sitting on a pot? So if you are sitting on the bed in the room, on one side you have the sea view, and on the other, you have the toilet view. Amazing right? Not really!. Im not sure if it was aesthetics, or if the door had actually broken down and was covered up by a rolling shade.
In addition, we found that the bedsheets had not been changed. Towels had not been changed or washed on any of the four nights that we stayed there. The bath essentials provided were toothpastes, towels, hand towels, bath soap, tissues. There was no shampoo in the bathrooms though it was mentioned on the site.
We were also specifically told not to eat upstairs. I was not really sure if I had come for a vacation or if someone had thrust me into a hostel where I would have to stick to the rules of the warden.
Another issue is that the villa doesn’t have a power backup. Im not sure if power disconnections are frequent in Goa, but the first night was terrible. There were two power failures, the first one for around 30 minutes, and the second one for a straight four hours. There was no backup. We had to keep the balcony doors open so the kids could sleep.
Overall, our stay was unhappy. We felt like intruders into a beautiful house. If I revisit Goa, and if I stay near the airport, I will definitely NOT reserve a room at Kokum Tree Villa, and I recommend you not to either.