Come hang out with the Hostel Crowd | Fontainhas
Think Goa, and holiday. The two are synonymous for the Indian traveller, and for many from various parts of the European continent. However, while bearing that in mind, people seldom like to account for hotels in entirety. Goa brings to mind a very quaint mental picture; one of red-oxide, ochre and indigo coloured homes, lined up like pretty maids all in a row. Given the rise of AirBnb’s popularity and the yearning for boutique properties to house oneself in, the demand for these properties has come to the fore. And this is where the concept of the Old Quarter kicks in beautifully.
Old Quarter celebrates the hostel culture, offering peace of mind to those that are concerned of the cost involved with the thought of travel, all the while offering all of the above mentioned, in the sleepy and quintessentially Goan, Latin quarter of Fontainhas in Panjim.
Completely white-washed, with accentuation that is a perfect blend of graffiti and a throwback to the Portuguese era of the area, the little property is eclectically on par with its European counterparts. One could well be in Lisbon, rated as one of the world’s finest hostel destinations. Once inside, one is immediately greeted by friendly faces that stand behind the counter, always with a smile and happy to help. Old Quarter, apart from a host of living options also has a little café that serves organic food, and a wide assortment of teas, courtesy what appears to be Snighda Manchanda’s Tea Trunk project. All of this is extremely well priced and serves as a pit-stop for many a local that looks to take a quick break from the bustling pace of the city that seems a galaxy away despite being right around the corner from the hostel premises.
This is a welcome change from the usual notion that Goa doesn’t make the cut as a destination for the budget traveller. The basic principle of the little property is that it is possible to stay in decent accommodation on a shoestring budget. This also comes down to the backpacking and hostel trend, which has been a success in foreign countries. A few years ago, Goa jumped the hostel bandwagon, with a number of hostels mushrooming across the state. What is the advantage of such accommodation? Simply put, apart from being easy on the pocket, hostels allow the luxury of easy interaction amidst travellers from different countries and make it possible to intermingle and share different cultures and experiences.
The Hostel crowd is run by the quartet of Jason, Laura, Joel and Joshua who share the common purpose of changing the way backpackers travel through India. Under the banner of ‘thehostelcrowd’, they have ensured that Old Quarter is part of a trifecta in itself, with sister concerns Prison in Anjuna, Summer in Palolem, Jungle in Vagator; one more hostel in Kochi, called Maritime, rounding up the stack.
The beauty of the concept that they have spawned is the characteristic thematic setting for every one of their little properties. Take for instance Jungle; it gets its name because of its close proximity to a jungle. In a similar vein, travellers at Prison have to get a mug shot of themselves taken, with the name of the country they belong to, akin to a prisoner being arrested, as soon as they check-in. The hostels offer options such as double rooms, 4-bed female dormitories; 4-bed mixed dormitory rooms and so on. The dorms across all the properties have facilities like attached bathroom, lockers for every bed, laundry service and free breakfast, WiFi and maps. When travellers check in, they are given a map of the area and he / she is briefed about the best places to see, to eat, to drink etc, all of which is done to allow the traveller to best experience the local flavour.
So if local is what you’re looking for on your next trip, and something that is easy on the pocket as well, then why not come on down to the hostel crowd and ask them for a tip or two? The experience is certainly refreshingly different and something to take back from a holiday in itself.
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