History & Philosophy - Neemrana’s Three Waters

Betul, South Goa

Neemrana’s Three Waters is a villa in South Goa, in the pristine coastal village of Betul, where the River Sal, drains into the Arabian Sea. Betul is a quintessential fishing village whose people have lived there and to respected the sea for thousands of years. As Betul is one of the few villages in Goa where no mechanised boats are allowed, guests can walk around small lanes dotted with colourful homes of traditional artisans who can still be seen making hemp ropes, weaving nylon nets and carving tree trunk canoes. Betul truly offers guests a break from Goa’s bustling nightlife and a chance to wake up to walk along the riverbank and start the day with the toddy tappers, fisherfolk and artisans, and carry fish straight from the net.

Across from Betul, along river Sal, is an important fishing port where mechanized boats and deep-sea trawlers bring in their catch. Here headlands from the slopes of the Western Ghats protrude into the shore, imparting an imposing backdrop and excellent lookout points. It is also the location of the renowned Fort of Cabo de Rama, one of the only two Hindu forts in the state and the last one built by Shivaji, another grand piece of Goa’s history to be enjoyed by the guests of this South Goa villa.

Besides the clean air and pristine beaches, those seeking some more well-being are within walking distance from an ancient spring, known for its therapeutic waters. A home to stay: The location of Neemrana’s Three Waters affords magnificent views from each of the private balconies of the elegantly decorated rooms. Over a cup of early morning coffee, guests can feast on blue-green waters, steep hills dotted with palm trees, and fishers casting their nets as they float in their canoes.

Neemrana s Three Waters Facade
Swimming pool with lounger chairs at Neemrana s Three waters

The elegant structure of Neemrana’s Three Waters was built at this idyllic confluence of river and sea, in 1907, but has recently been renovated with a façade of exposed red laterite, which contrasts well with the lush tropical greenery. Hand-crafted floor tiles in earthy colours, bright terracotta roof tiles, wooden doors and columns, arches, and bay windows, produce an ambience to calm weary travellers from their stressful lives. There are three wings with a total of 7 rooms. Each room faces the river or the pool and is equipped with Wi-Fi, television, a mini bar, a kettle and a phone connection. There is also a swimming pool, a grand kitchen and an open deck overlooking the river for guests to enjoy companionship.

The most striking common space is the spacious and elegant common dining space which has been designed to offer guests the grand lifestyle of the Goa of the past. It is furnished with beautiful blue and white crockery, intricately carved furniture and roof-to-floor glass cabinets filled with a spectacular collection of over 9000 seashells, corals and fossils from all over the world. For the more curious guest, documentation is provided on the provenance of each marine object, and its scientific and cultural relevance. Shells used as architectural pieces such as the famous windowpane oysters of Goa as well as those used as currency, for personal adornment and as religious artefacts, all surround the guests as the living space blends seamlessly in this immersive experience. This is the unique Museotel experience of Neemrana’s Three Waters.

Guests are also encouraged to avail of indoor games, books, fishing rods and barbecue units, perhaps to grill the catch of the day. The beautiful laterite structure of Neemrana’s Three Waters is surrounded by landscaped terraces, courtyards, barbecue areas, manicured lawns and laterite stone paved walkways embracing guests in a warm welcome. The marine museum stretches beyond the confines of the dining space to the outdoors where guests can enjoy Goa’s traditional fishing nets, boats, traps and baskets, all on display.

Facade view from the room at Neemrana s Three waters
Water in the foreground with trees and a small building on land