Panjim Inn is a delightful hotel located within the chromatically and architecturally stunning Panjim city! It’s the dramatic colour that envelopes a visitor to Panjim and creates the exuberant atmosphere. Nestled within this environment are other Goan villas that have been converted into small hotels and bed and breakfast inns. Yet the Panjim Inn stands out in the landscape of decaying heritage homes as a well preserved and comfortable hotel. Panjim Inn was among the earliest large homes of the Fontainhas and was built in the 1800’s by Francis Assis D’Silveira. His descendant Jack Ajit Sukhija is the partner of the hotel and is a pleasant person who manages the Panjim Inn today.
By a river
The Inn is located close to the churches, bookstores, gorgeous century-old homes, small cafes, boutiques and the promenade by the Mandovi! The location allows visitors the pleasurable experience of getting lost within the narrow and intimately scaled streets of Panjim, on foot or on bicycle. A recent visitor who stayed at the Inn was renowned Sri Lankan architect Anjalendran who mentioned that the Panjim Inn is his favourite place to stay in Goa and added that “Panjim Inn is what a Goanese holiday should be!”
The Inn is less about luxurious living but is more about the un-ostentatious beauty of the architecture, friendly staff and the good food. The hotel has been tenaciously preserved by the owners and carefully extended and restored by the owner’s father Ajit Sukhija along with Goa-based architect Ameet Sukhthankar. The hotel is a part of the Welcome Heritage Group of Hotels and consists of three buildings — the Inn, Panjim Pousada and Panjim People’s — each of these buildings maintain an individual architectural identity. My room in the original Inn was simply elegant with an antique four-poster bed, a wooden armoire, a large window with shutters made of sea shells that overlooked the facade of a beautiful Portuguese home in ochre!
For art sake
The best part of the Inn is the art that it flaunts. The owners have always promoted local Goan artists. The guests get to live amid the art. A series of transition spaces — balconies, verandahs, courtyards; common spaces such as corridors are enlivened by the display of art. Etchings, paintings, sketches by local Goan artists — Mohan Naik’s paintings predominate the selection — also form the connection between the three distinct hotel spaces giving the impression of a home with an extensive personalised selection of art. The Hindu House, the Pousada is the other building that belongs to Panjim Inn and has a long linear garden space that leads into the building. It has a wonderful central courtyard surrounded by an internal verandah. The verandah displays local Goan art and sculpture. A tulsi plant is at the centre of the courtyard, while a low clay tiled roof surrounds the courtyard; a wood Ganesha occupies a prime position around this courtyard. Panjim People’s, the third building belonging to Panjim Inn was once a prominent high school. The building has a personal connection with the owners. The owner’s wife is an alumnus of this school. The ground floor of Panjim People’s has been converted into a gallery “Gitanjali” that displays contemporary art and artifacts from Goa. It also functions as a conference room. The food served at Panjim Inn is one of the highlights of the stay. Breakfast is served in the inner courtyard, while the entrance to the hotel has a few tables and chairs that in the evenings becomes a place where guests relax and order a drink. A deep overhead first floor verandah that overlooks the street is the area that serves lunch and dinner.
Panjim Inn is memorable for its atmosphere, art and architecture. Guests at Panjim Inn experience a sense of leisure and satisfaction — the serene rewarding experience of having stayed in a hotel that is firmly anchored in history and art — a definite must-return destination for guests who re-visit Panjim!