For a while now, I've been following The Postcard - a small chain of super luxury hotels located in India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, launched by ex-Oberoi president, Kapil Chopra. A recent trip to Goa meant I finally managed to book a stay at the Postcard's Velha property - here's a detailed review...
About The Postcard Velha, Goa
At about 20 minutes' drive from Panjim, The Postcard Velha is located in Old Goa and occupies two out of the numerous villas (some privately owned) that are at the property. The Postcard's villas are divided by soft boundaries, which makes the property seem much bigger.
Each villa has three bedrooms, one living area and an outhouse - one of the outhouses is used as the dining area and pantry, whereas the other one is used as the kitchen.
There are two gazebos at the property, a large outdoor swimming pool, and a separate facility for spa that features two spa suites.
This property provides the perfect opportunity to isolate yourself and your loved ones away from the outside world and enjoy your time here. You can also take part in a range of activities and workshops at the Velha, such as drawing and painting, cycling, cooking and table tennis.
As an aide, Postcard has two other hotels in Goa, including a beautiful property hidden away in the village of Moira. This is an old Portuguese house and it features nine rooms, across four different categories.
The Moira property is perfect for readers, writers and art lovers - basically anyone who is seeking a discreet hideaway. I had a dinner date over here, and you can read more about this place in our in-pictures article about the Postcard Moira.
All Postcard properties (there are also hotels in Sri Lanka and Bhutan) offer anytime check in/ check out, which helps you to maximise your stay and takes the sting out of the high room rates (at least a little!).
I heard that some clever customers stretch this policy to the maximum by checking in just after midnight on their first day, while leaving close to midnight on their last day - meaning they (almost) get to spend an extra night at the property without paying any extra 🤑.
Booking The Postcard Velha
Staying at a Postcard property doesn't come cheap. After checking the prices on various sites online, I made a booking directly with The Postcard for a total of INR 17,700 (USD 240) including taxes for one night (which was a little less than what I found online).
The breakfast and morning tea/coffee along with an alcoholic welcome drink were included in my package.
Arriving at The Postcard Velha
After leaving ITC Grand Goa Resort & Spa, I got myself a Heritage House in Candolim through Airbnb, where I stayed for four nights before coming to The Postcard Velha. I booked a taxi from Candolim to The Postcard Velha, and it cost me a total of INR 1,100 (USD 15).
It took me approximately 50 minutes to reach here (though I would have arrived 10-15 minutes earlier, had it not been for going around Old Goa searching for a medical store to buy my migraine medicine).
Do keep in mind that you might struggle to find a supermarket or a general store in this locality, so it is advisable to do the shopping in Panjim (or wherever you are coming from). I finally arrived at The Postcard Velha at around 10am where Akshay was waiting for me.
The Postcard Velha review
Akshay Bhende, the property manager welcomed me with a choice of cocktails, both of them quite good. However, if a guest doesn’t like what's on offer, they are happy to serve whatever you prefer, as the first alcoholic drink is on the house.
He took me to the Banyan villa’s living area briefly and asked for ID, before showing me to my room at the Mandovi villa. The name of this villa is inspired by the river it is overlooking - Mandovi river.
There were three rooms here, one of them downstairs along with a common living area, while the other two rooms are on the level above. There was only one other room occupied by a couple during my stay here, though I didn’t get to interact with them.
Before I entered my room (on the ground floor), I was offered a choice of tea or coffee, which is on the house across all the Postcard properties throughout the length of the stay. They also asked if I’d like some fruits and juices so I requested filter coffee and watermelon juice, along with a bowl of cut fruits.
The room was spacious and having windows on all the sides filled the room with light and made it feel more airy. The king size bed was in the centre of the room and was overshadowed by an artistic mirror that stretched across the wall.
Opposite the bed was the lounging space, with a coffee table in the centre and accent tables on either side. Behind this were a couple of large windows that faced the beautiful Mandovi river.
There was a striking blue cupboard, which had a safe, robes and a pair of slippers inside. Next to it was a mini stand to hang the clothes. I liked that they went for this concept, as opposed to having a large closet, because this added to making the room feel more spacious, while also serving the purpose.
There was more storage space in the ottoman at the end of the bed.
There were different side tables on either side of the bed, one with drawers, one without. There was also an old-style telephone - I found this quite fascinating as it was my first time using this kind of phone ever. I even called room service, just because I wanted to use it 🙈.
There was a large door next to the bed which opened to the courtyard, where there was seating for two. This looked like a nice place to enjoy a cup of tea in the evening.
There was no television in the room, and Akshay explained that it is because they want their guests to spend more time outside their rooms and therefore they have a screen in the communal living room. Note that if you want to have a TV placed in the room, "it can be arranged".
Tea and coffee were also missing from the room (because it's always on the house and available by calling reception, “even on the days it is raining”, said Akshay). You won't find alcohol or any other minibar items, though once again these can be requested from reception at any time.
The bathroom wasn’t exactly big in size but it was comfortable enough and featured Kohler fittings, which were apparently custom designed for The Postcard hotels.
The beautiful washbasin stand had a shower on one side and a toilet on the other. The rain shower was big and it ensured that I had a great bathing experience.
Bathroom amenities were from Forest Essentials. Apart from that, there were bamboo toothbrushes, Colgate toothpaste and cotton balls provided.
As I got done checking out the room, the coffee (served with cookies), juice and cut fruits were delivered to my room.
The cookies that were served with coffee were really good, though I forgot to confirm if they were made in-house. The juice was fresh and the fruit bowl contained pineapple, apple, watermelon, papaya and pomegranate.
I then decided to get some work done, but encountered problems in connecting the charger to the plug point and therefore had to call for help. Amit was quick to respond and solved the problem by bringing an extension. He then brought some tender coconut water, which was a really nice touch.
Thanks to the fruits, cookies and tender coconut water, I decided to take a late lunch and so I placed my order for lunch at 3pm. I ordered a chicken xacuti (Goan chicken curry), butter garlic poi (bread) and a small portion of steamed rice.
All food is prepared from scratch for every guest so I was asked to allow some time. Prashant said I could dip my hands and feet in one of the Lotus ponds at the property in the meantime, which contains Garra rufa fish that is used for fish spa. This was very relaxing.
I enjoyed this for some time, before heading back to the kitchen to see my food being prepared. Saurabh and Shubham, graduates of IHM (Institute of Hotel Management), were at work. Here are some pictures of them in action..
There are a couple of gazebos placed at strategic vantage points, to allow the guests to make the best of the property. There are dining tables placed here and this is where I was taking lunch on the day.
The food was really nice, and the view from the gazebo made the whole experience even better. There was a minor hiccup in service during lunch, when I came across a tiny insect in my rice. My assumption is that it found its way in the rice, when the food was being delivered from the kitchen to my table.
Once I pointed it out, the team there was quick to respond and got me a new bowl of rice quickly. They also amended their mistake by covering all the food dishes when I dined outside next (which was for lunch on the next day).
You'll be pleased to know that the food and beverage prices aren't at quite the same high level as the rooms, and I was actually a little surprised how reasonable it was to eat at the Postcard (especially as you're a captive customer, given the remote location of their hotels).
The lunch and dinner menus for Postcard's Goa properties look like this:
I got done with some work after lunch, and it was soon time for evening turndown service (which happened at 6.20pm). While the maid was busy, I decided to go for my consultation with the in-house Ayurvedic doctor, Dr Mubash.
I also learned that The Postcard team make turndown service different everyday by providing goodies to the guests (like coconut water). In my case, and keeping Covid in mind, I was given homeopathic pills (with prescription) for immunity-boosting on one instance, and a customised face mask on another.
Akshay mentioned toiletry bags, keychains, and gift items are among the things that they also offer during turndown in an effort to make the guests feel special.
Anyway, I headed to the communal living area to meet Dr Mubash, who is in charge of the spa facilities and treatments for all three Postcard properties in Goa (Velha, Moira and Cuelim).
A consultation comes as a part of the booking, but I recommend confirming this with The Postcard prior to your reservation.
During our hour-long consultation, Dr Mubash shared his past experiences of working at Ayurvedic hospitals in Kerala, as well as overseas, before he joined The Postcard. After asking questions about my lifestyle, sleeping habits and food consumption, Dr Mubash promised to suggest a treatment plan the following day.
He also mentioned that they offer multi-day treatment plans, specially crafted for each guest, where the guest comes under Dr Mubash's supervision, and all meals, exercises etc are planned by him.
Post my consultation, The Postcard served me some cocktails with their compliments, which were nicely prepared by Abhinav Dixit.
I informed the staff I'd like to take dinner at 9.40pm, and I was excited about this meal as it was the special Goan thali.
The outhouse in the Mandovi villa (the one I was staying at) is being used as the kitchen while the outhouse of the Banyan villa has been turned into a dining hall, which is where I chose to take my dinner.
The much awaited Goan thali was served and it had:
- Chicken cafreal (spicy Goan preparation in green sauce)
- Goan prawn curry
- Bhindi masala (okra)
- Kachumbar (salad)
- Sol curry (kokum curry)
- Sea bass rawa fry (fish fry)
- Goan brown rice
- Chapati (bread)
- Aamla achaarr (mango pickle)
They usually serve chicken xacuti (red Goan curry) instead of cafreal in the thali, but they kept in mind that I had xacuti for lunch and switched it with cafreal in order for me to try a new dish.
I was served salted caramel gelato for dessert, which was the perfect end to the meal for me. Overall, the dinner experience was really good and this thali (also known as Kokni thali) lived up to my expectations.
As I got back to my room and did a quick recap of my day before getting in bed, I found myself really happy with how it had gone: After checking in early, I explored the property, spent a lot of time relaxing and soaking in the refreshing environment at this place. Barring a slight bump, the F&B experience was really good as well.
The mattress and the pillows were soft and comfortable, just the way I prefer, and this made sure I slept comfortably.
The next day, I woke up around 8am and was eager to go for a swim. Upon enquiring with the staff member, I was told that there was cleaning going on, so I was asked to wait about 15-20 minutes to use the pool.
I finally went for a swim at 8.30am and noticed that, even though the cleaning had just been done, there were dry leaves and tiny insects still floating in water.
I did a few laps, and it felt super refreshing as I was swimming for the first time in almost a year. It was so good that I chose to stay a little longer.
I got back from the pool around 9.20am and gave my order for breakfast, which is when I noticed that my room was being made so I chose to sit in the living area instead. While I was there, I applied some oil in my hair. Abhinav offered to bring some juice or a hot beverage.
I asked for the juices to be served with the breakfast and requested some filter coffee.
After getting my caffeine fix, I stayed in the living area for a little longer and checked out the TV, which had Netflix, Youtube, and other streaming applications (though the apps required you to sign in with your registered email IDs for streaming services such as Netflix and Prime video).
The breakfast was served at 11.10am and it included ros omelette - a local specialty and a must try, as well as aloo matar bhaji (potato and peas preparation) with ajwaain puri (bread), some cut fruits, brown bread toast and orange and pineapple juices.
Guests can have breakfast at any time, and can choose items from the menu, or make their own requests.
The breakfast was quite extensive and everything building up to it, plus the positioning of the gazebo (overlooking the Mandovi river), made it all just perfect. I don’t think I would have asked for it to be any different.
I asked for masala tea at the end, and as I was waiting, Dr Mubash came to share the prescription and he explained each and everything in detail. He also shared his business card, and asked me to feel free to give him a call if I had any queries. Before he left, he especially asked me to regularly do ‘Pranaayam’ - a yoga exercise.
I got back to the living room, turned the AC on as it was getting warmer outside, and sat down to work. After about an hour-and-a-half, I headed back to my room and took a really nice shower. The bathroom amenities were from Forest Essentials and they were nargis flavoured - the smell was really good.
Since I took a late breakfast, the lunch got pushed further and in the meantime I checked out the spa facility at the property.
After returning, I did some work and I finally placed my order for lunch at 3.30pm before going to the gazebo and having a seat there. I had asked for a mutton vindaloo, some butter garlic poi (bread) and steamed rice.
At 3.55pm, Abhinav informed me that the mutton was going to take another 15-20 minutes to cook, and offered to serve a cocktail as I waited.
The food was served soon after, and, unlike lunch on the previous day, it was covered with a lid when it was brought to the table. I appreciated Postcard paying attention to details and improvising. I asked for some more rice and Abhinav made sure he brought it quickly.
Just like previous dining experiences, I was happy with this one as well and luckily this wasn’t my last, as I chose to snack on onion pakodas in the evening before checking out.
I finally left The Postcard Velha at 8.30pm and the entire team was there to see me off, which was really sweet of them.
The Postcard Velha is a beautiful property with breathtaking views. I’ve stayed at a lot of larger chain hotels recently, so I really appreciated the difference at the Postcard, like the concepts of any time check-in and check-out, and all day breakfast. It was something new and it gave me a sense of comfort, in a way that I felt relaxed.
There's no denying that a stay at a Postcard hotel is on the high side when you compare it to what's available at other luxury hotels, though the anytime check-in and check-out makes Postcard a little more attractive (and if you're smart, you can almost stay two days for the price of one).
Meals were prepared from scratch and I was impressed with the quality of the food. Dining at The Postcard Velha was conveniently priced as well.
The staff here, although few, were very helpful and made sure that all my requirements were carefully taken care of.
Personally I would recommend this place if you are looking to get away from the bustling of city life and need to be pampered. I would most definitely like to return, preferably with a larger group to take more advantage of their open spaces and let the staff arrange workshops and activities for us.
Have you been to The Postcard Velha? What are your thoughts about it?