A Place in the Sun

As celebrities and HNIs flock to Goa to get a piece of the coveted real estate pie, builders like Sun Estates are catering to their special needs by creating luxurious homes designed by world-class architects, in lush, verdant spaces that offer easy access to the sea and rivers. We speak to Sun Estates’ founder Suraj Morajkar about what makes his homes so desirable.

A Place in the Sun The Casa Sol by Sun Estates

What do cricketer Yuvraj Singh, designer Ritu Kumar, and actor Neha Dhupia have in common? They all own luxury villas in Goa developed by Suraj Morajkar's real estate company Sun Estates, in some of that state’s most scenic environs. After having introduced over 45 properties (and two hotels) in Goa for High Networth Individuals like CEOs and industrialists, music moghuls, actors, and other celebrities, over 25 years, Suraj Morajkar continues to create world-class residences with a Portuguese, Balinese, and European flavour in partnership with Indian and international architects and designers.

A Place in the Sun The deck in the Mangrove Villa by Sun Estates

“One of our biggest advantages is our local connect,” says Suraj. “We are a credible company, with decades of experience.” His properties are sprinkled all over North Goa – in places like Nerul, Saipem, Candolim. “My family is from Morjim, and we live in Candolim – which is the hub of Goa,” he says. “We understand Goa like no other. We started in that era when there was just that one flight twice a week from Delhi to Goa.”

A Place in the Sun Wooden floors and Portuguese-style roofs at the Lotus Villa by Sun Estates

But today, with numerous daily flights to Goa – even during the pandemic – Goa is on everyone’s minds. Not just visitors, but investors and homeowners are lining up for a slice of Goa’s laidback charm. “What we define as luxury, and sell as a home is very different from what others are selling,” says Suraj. “For starters, my house should have fabulous views. I should have a great ceiling, and details like carved niches. It’s a complete thought process, not something you can build overnight. That creates a good luxury product. That is why you don’t see me handling too many projects at once.”

A Place in the Sun The Mangrove Villa by Sun Estates is influenced by Portuguese architecture

Suraj’s greatest advantage is the land that his homes sit on. Most of his properties sit on large tracts of land. “There is no other developer who has given such large pieces of land, and that too, on the coastal belt,” he says. “It’s just out of the syllabus – 75 percent of my villas sit on large tracts of land. This is normally very expensive. I have an advantage because of my relationships – landowners feel comfortable selling me their land, or they do a JV with me – and I automatically pass it on this advantage the buyer.” For example, on a 7,000 sq ft of land, he will make a 4,000 sq ft house. He’s also made 14 houses on half an acre of land. The largest villa Suraj has developed has been 15,000 sq ft. Some projects are so close to the ocean, that you can literally walk to the beach; others overlook rivers, while others are even more secluded.

A Place in the Sun Bedroom in the Lotus Villa by Sun Estates

And some of these top areas to build a luxury villa – that offer beauty as well as a connect to the city – would be Saipem, Nerul, Pilerne, and Candolim. “We build where there’s vast, open land – with mountains, rivers, and water bodies – tourist spots are not everything,” says Suraj. “And you can still drive to a nice restaurant for a meal, or visit the beach. This makes our real estate a great deal.”

A Place in the Sun Yuvraj Singh's Santorini villa by Sun Estates A Place in the Sun The minimalist interiors in Yuvraj Singh's villa by Sun Estates

That’s why celebrities like actors Jackie Shroff and Neha Dhupia have sought out Suraj’s Sun Estate developers. “It was 15 years ago that Neha bought a house from me – she just liked the design,” says Suraj. As for Yuvraj Singh’s house, Suraj had already launched the Morjim-based villa, so he gave the cricketer the option to get creative with the interiors. As it happens, Yuvraj went for a Santorini-themed look, with blue and white interiors – the result is a unique villa that stands in its simplicity of design, and stunning aesthetic.

A Place in the Sun Yuvraj Singh's Santorini inspired villa by Sun Estates

“We don’t want to concretize a home – we want the architecture to blend into the natural landscape so as not to disturb the vistas,” says Suraj, who likes to work with locally sourced stone such as laterite. The villas and apartments come well equipped with the best fittings – kitchens by Veneta Cucine kitchens, faucets by Kohler and sanitaryware by Toto.

A Place in the Sun A sit-out at the Lotus Villa by Sun Estates

He works with international architectural firms such as Blink Design Group from Singapore (who are behind the breathtaking Raffles Maldives Meradhoo Resort and the Conrad Bora Bora Nui) and Robert Patzschke & Partner Architects from Germany (who designed the Grand Hotel Kempinski Adlon in Berlin, among numerous projects in Berlin and all over the world), as well Arvind D’Souza, Sameep Padora, and Tarun Tahiliani in India. In fact, fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani has done the interiors of Suraj’s courtyard-style Portuguese inspired Sol de Goa hotel in Nerul, and seven more villas. “I like to keep the local spirit of the area alive, including what the Portuguese have left us with,” says Suraj.

And how much would HNIs be willing to put down for one of Suraj’s dream villas? “Let’s say the price is between INR 3-15 crore,” says Suraj. “We only sell to people we are comfortable with – it works with references from other buyers.” Some of his projects include the Banyan Beach house in Candolim, built around a 200-year-old Banyan tree, the Sohonas – villas and apartments in verdant Nerul, next to the Sol de Goa hotel, and designed by New York based architect David Ruff, amidst lush landscaped gardens. Then there’s Sol Pilerne, the uber-luxe, Robert Patzschke-designed gated community of villas in this remote, pristine corner of Goa, just 15 minutes from the happening spots.

A Place in the Sun Corridor of the Lotus Villa by Sun Estates

His most iconic project, the upcoming Saipem Hills – is also a gated community – a collection of 14 villas on a cliff in Saipem, designed by Blink Singapore, overlooking the Sinquerim River, five minutes from Candolim Beach, and close to Suraj’s second hotel, the Hilton Goa Resort. And there are resort villas – also designed by Blink – that are coming up in the tucked away, undiscovered Nerul. Both the projects will be completed by December 2022, Suraj informs us.

A Place in the Sun Interiors of the Casa Sol by Sun Estates

“The fact is that a lot of people want to come to Goa, and a lot of people are making this their permanent home,” says Suraj’s who’s just sold a home to Prabhu Chawla, former editor of India Today. “My residences attract those who want to lead a luxurious, tranquil life. Our customers don’t come here to make a noise. We have to make sure that development in Goa happens properly – if you don’t put any thought into it, you will build a run of the mill product, and we can’t have that.”

A Place in the Sun Pool area at Casa Sol by Sun Estates


Priya Kumari Rana

Lifestyle Insider is a kind of junction point, connecting people with diverse interests that touch on the more luxurious aspects of lifestyle – fashion, design, travel, food and spirits, art, watches and jewellery, cars, yachts, and aviation, and technology. People today don’t fit into boxes and categories. In our individual ways, we are interested in diverse themes, products, and the challenges that face our world today. You will judge how well this effort of mine caters to your passions and proclivities.

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A luxury and fashion journalist with 25 years of experience in publishing and magazine journalism, I have edited some of India’s top fashion and luxury magazines. I got my BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and went on to receive my Master’s in English and French from the University of Strasbourg, France. I have also studied German and Film. I live in Gurugram, India, and look forward to once again exploring our world with a new-found freedom.

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