Bowled over what a friend had done with his house by converting it into a homestay in Coorg, Carlos Noronha decided to try something similar in his homeland Goa.

After an extensive search, he and his father stumbled upon a 200-year-old vintage home in Panaji

“It was love at first sight. The old rustic charm, richly coloured walls, sprawling spaces and the cool breeze was all it took,” says Carlos.

They got their tourism and trade licence, completed the restoration work, and the homestay was ready to run.

In 2014, the duo opened the homestay for guests and named it ‘Caravela’ after a type of Portuguese sailing ship made in the 15th century. The body of the ship was used to make the flooring of this house.

“Hosting each guest is an experience and learning in itself. Interacting with tourists from America, London, Amsterdam, Chennai, Mumbai and so on helps me understand human needs better,” says Carlos.

While doing the renovation, Carlos ensured its grotto-like, vintage feel was kept intact.

The staircase made from rosewood remains unchanged, and the mud walls are also not modified with plaster to keep the authenticity of the place.

Within a few days of its launch, the place was packed with reservations. The duo also partnered with sites like Expedia and AirBnB to market Caravela, which worked like a charm.

In 2015, Carlos opened a coffee shop inside the premises to increase his source of revenue.

“Simple home-cooked food, a responsive attitude, genuine service and a hygienic place is our USP,” says Carlos.

In the off-season, the homestay generates around Rs 3,00,000 per month; during the season (between November and January) the revenue increases to Rs 5,00,000 per month, says Carlos.