Oceanic Hotel: Celebrating a decade of making memories
A little over a decade ago, Hotel Oceanic lay dormant under the shade of mango and coconut trees awaiting the Midas touch that would make it one of south Goa’s most sought-after boutique hotels.
Les and Sheila Medcroft found it under an unsuccessful blanket of emptiness – barely any guests apart from the bands of languor monkeys and a large variety of birds. Together, the British couple have transformed it into a veritable home away from home near Goa’s spectacularly beautiful Palolem beach that continues calling guests as the boutique hotel enters its 10th anniversary year.
A place where I frequent often, Hotel Oceanic has come to be my place of solace in Canacona with Les and Sheila’s unmatched hospitality lending the sense of a warm welcome to a place you so love. It is not only perfect for couples looking for a romantic getaway, but for any guest in search of cosy nooks and quiet weekends, family-friendly vacations and great atmosphere. Now a landmark in Canacona between Palolem and its slightly less known cousin Patnem beach, the Oceanic Hotel was to once again open its arms as my hideaway for the weekend.
Having based in Palolem, my recent visits down south would be incomplete without a stop at the hotel and the hosts’ bubbly personalities. With both boasting musical backgrounds, Les and Sheila have ensured that live music nights are an integral part of the Oceanic experience, hosting and organising a number of charity events for people and animals in need. One day of the week is reserved for Indian classical music and the popular pool area magically changes faces, into a Bohemian getaway with candles and incense. Having many reason why one would go to Oceanic Hotel – it could be a soothing day at the spa, a sumptuous lunch at the restaurant or hours lounging by the pool – you will certainly come away feeling relaxed.
Les and Sheila are woven into the Oceanic Hotel; they’re always on hand for their guests, lending a listening ear, sharing a glass of wine or simply spotting resplendent colours of the rays of the setting sun. It’s hard to imagine that the couple discovered Goa during a remembrance visit for a dear friend who’d just passed away. They honoured his dying wish to have his ashes scattered in Goa, and with his blessings, had their breath taken away by the perfect horseshoe-shaped beach with swaying palm fronds tucked away in a southern corner of Goa.
Simple yet elegant décor defines each of its six rooms on the property, creating an unfussy air about the place, one of its hallmarks that keep its guests coming back for more. Over 3,000 customers have already been registered in their database, a number that continues to grow each season, and several latecomers are unfortunate to be denied a vacation at the relaxing hotel when it gets booked up sometimes months in advance.
Even though the beach is only a short walk away, I am always content to wallow in the brand new pool and enjoy a couple of cocktails at the terrace restaurant. Their understated but evident love for the environment is refreshing, as they discourage the use of plastic bags and quench your thirst with filtered, treated water instead of resorting to the bottled variety. Recently, having only just returned from a trip, I thought I’d give the Jet Lag therapy at the spa a try. It proved to be a wonderful half hour of aromatherapy, and I found myself being lulled into complete relaxation with its successive 15-minute foot and hand reflexology sessions. The couple massage and Ladies Choice therapies are very popular, and guaranteed to make you feel rejuvenated.
One of the guests I made friends with while lounging by the pool told me that staying at the Oceanic Hotel was very much like a visit to old friends with its warm ambience, friendly staff and wonderful hosts. I couldn’t agree more – this is the very USP that has brought the Medcrofts many new friends during their 10-year adventure in Goa and we all look forward to many more. Happy anniversary Hotel Oceanic!
(Sinead has lived in Goa for the last seven years. She currently works for four international travel magazines, including National Geographic Traveller UK and the Association of British Travel Agents, where she promotes India as a destination to the trade and consumer market of the US and Britain. She also contributes articles on travel, hospitality and wellness to local publications).[NT]