Carlos Noronha runs a 200-year-old villa turned homestay called ‘Caravela’ — named after a type of Portuguese sailing ship made in the 15th century. The house's flooring is made from the body of the ship.

Located in Panaji, the homestay’s journey is an iconic one. It started when Carlos was in his final year of college and presented a paper on tourism’s impact on local lives in Goa.

The triggering point came in 2014 after his graduation, when he visited a friend’s homestay in Coorg, Karnataka.

Bowled over by what his friend had done with a simple house, Carlos and his father discussed a similar possibility in their hometown.

An extensive hunt and rigorous research later, they stumbled on a vintage house that was close to a beach.

“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.

The father-son duo purchased the house in 2014 and converted it into a homestay.

While restoring the house, the staircase made from rosewood was left unchanged and the mud walls were not modified with the plaster.

Meanwhile, Carlos interned with a hotel for a month to learn about housekeeping, employee management, room maintenance, customer service and so on.

Once ready, they listed Caravela on booking sites, and by December 2014, it was open for guests.

Although the building is ancient, the homestay has modern amenities like television, wifi, air conditioning, etc, that makes for a perfect blend of old and new.

In 2015, Carlos opened a coffee shop inside the premises to increase his source of revenue. And to personalise it further, Carlos roasts his coffee.

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