Helene and Derrick Menezes, and their children Harvey and Havana-Kay, welcome you to The Secret Garden Goa, the Menezes' ancestral home. Helene is British by birth, Goan by nature and has lived in India for over 20 years. She left her career in advertising and marketing in London’s West End to follow her heart and marry Derrick after, wait for it, meeting him on a beach!
Helene focussed on raising the kids, but has also worked for foreign charter companies here in Goa, and has helped manage two local children’s charities. Helene has continued her work as a writer and editor over the years. She credits camping holidays as a child as good grounding, with not only being able to cope with India’s diversity but also appreciating the more important elements of life. She loves to cook, and has enjoyed learning Goan specialties from Derrick’s infamous Aunty Shirley (known as Miss Shirley in the village, from her decades of teaching in the local school).
Derrick is a professional marine consultant, specialised in boatbuilding. He is also a keen sportsman. He bagged a silver medal for India at the World Windsurfing Championship in France, and is also a state badminton champ. These days you’ll find him kite surfing on Morjim beach, when he is not on a project ‘playing with boats’.
Between the two of them they have decades of hospitality experience. The children are home as often as holidays permit; the eldest, Harvey, studies in Rotterdam where he is pursuing a Bachelors' degree in economics and international business economics. Havana-Kay, the very sporty musician, environment crazy and vet in waiting, is busy with her A Level Cambridge exams at a boarding school in Tamil Nadu, among many other things.
Our two charming housemaids Gayatri and Suvarna, who live nearby, have looked after us for years, and will give you the same care. They ensure your rooms are clean and tidy, that the linen is fresh and you have enough towels, as well as keep the rest of the house spick and span. Meena is a delightful recent addition to our staff as our afternoon help. Outside, as well as indoors whenever we need him, trusty Mukesh is in charge. He tends our beautiful organic garden and veggie patch and looks after the pool. He is also our porter and all round Man Friday. Our staff are very dear to us, and we do not take their hard work for granted.
We offer guests a fulfilling breakfast consisting of juice, organic tea and coffee, seasonal fresh fruits, homemade curd, home baked bread, homemade preserves and eggs cooked to order. The spread can be relished in the dining hall or outside on the patio or poolside depending on the guests’ preference and timing. Wherever possible we will cater to our guests particular tastes and of course dietary restrictions.
Animals & Other Friends
We have three rescue dogs, brothers, Diver and Merlot, Lady Luna is the latest addition to our family. They are used to house guests and love attention if you want to give it. If not it’s just fine, as they will go back to their almost full time occupation of basking in the sunshine. The garden has plenty of winged visitors, you will find beautiful birdlife and butterflies. Goa has approximately 425 species of birds, several of which visit us on a regular basis. Each morning a friendly kingfisher comes for a dip in the pool. In the afternoons you’ll see a variety of sunbirds drinking nectar from the flowers. The woodpeckers peck rhythmically on the coconut palms as golden oriels swoop by. In the evening you will hear, and see if you’re lucky, the screech owls as well as the bats that come to feast on the chickoo trees.
- Sethu Center for Child Development and Family Guidance, a children's charitable trust very dear to our hearts. www.sethu.in
- Childs Play - http://www.childsplayindia.org
- MOG http://www.museumofgoa.com
- Welfare for Animals in Goa http://wagoa.com
- Barracuda Diving www.barrcudadiving.com
- Our Travel Agent – Mario Noronha - www.themasalatravelcompany.in
- Capella Homestay http://www.capellagoa.com
- Olaulim Backyards http://www.olaulimgoa.com
- The Love Guides http://www.lovetravelguides.com
We support some awesome local charities, namely:
All donations to any of these institutions are gratefully accepted and are gladly passed on to these great causes that are all helping to make Goa a better place. We can arrange visits to any of the NGOs above that may be of interest.