Justino & Crowie- How Hotel ‘Dona Eliza’ got its name

Justino Lobo

This is a true story about Justino an artist of great calibre whose multifaceted skills showed up in various ways.

I was privileged to meet with him and his wife Sonja , when Anjean and I were invited over to their home for dinner. Anjean is a school friend of Sonja That evening was eventful as I had a very interesting and intense conversation with Justino. He described his art and how he goes about it. I was amazed to know that he never planned his work on blank canvas.. He shared how he begins at one corner of the page and continued to draw or paint inspirationally throughout the page to cover it in entirety.

 I viewed some of his work and was stunned to see such drawings , with a finesse  unimaginable.  

I asked him “ Have you had any exhibitions of your work?” Justino replied “ I  am not interested in doing so. I just enjoy my work . I certainly do not like to put a tag to my paintings. I’d rather give it away,  than lose my peace of mind.  The only time I had been given an award nationally was many years ago. My   painting was sent for some exhibition in Delhi. I was surprised that they   recognised my work for a prize.

He was encouraged in art by his father Peter (PAN)Lobo, since the age of 4 years . He gave him a special room so he could scribble on the wall. Justino uses various mediums, like pallete knife, pen and ink and even pencil. When he gets into the mood, something happens and he begins sketching free hand , even from below at the bottom of the page upwards. He continues, to sketch where his dream takes him. He brings out the female figure without any vulgarity . His humility shows, when he acknowledges that there are so many artists better than him. Some lived , but some may have died in the womb. He appreciates life, and rejoices at the time given to him.

   Now we come to an interesting story. Every morning Justino spends time at his easel drawing or painting. ( he also does metal engraving art). One morning a crow came at his window and  cawed as if to say “ give me some food” while Justine had some breakfast by the side. So he kept some of it on the window sill. Crowie ( so Justino named her)  gobbled up the  feed, and waited for more. .Justino obliged.

Perched on Justino’s easel

This practise continued the next day and even rest of  the days at meal times. She is now a regular visitor eversince.

Soon  Crowie got so familiar that she even perched at the top of Justino’s easel. You can imagine  Justino’s delight to have sucḥ an admirer of his work .

One of the important projects which Justino worked on, was an ‘apartment’ project at a family property in Calangute.  He was confident of his architectural talent ,  and with  his  artistic mindset, designed the entire project. His two sons , however had reservations about this project. They envisioned a hotel, rather than apartments for their future.

This did not deter Justino. With some deft strokes of his  innate talent, he converted the ‘apartment’ project  into a plan for a hotel within a short time.This project was accomplished in good time.

All that remained was to name the hotel. Thus started  the episode of writing names on paper and stacking them on the table. An assortment of names came up for consideration. The stack remained on this table. They were quite frustrated as they could not come to any conclusion. After all, a name carries a lot of weight and  gives the hotel a unique image.

One morning , Crowie flew into the dining room . She alighted on the table and began pecking and choosing the various pages on the table (with the shortlisted names for the hotel)

Finally after several pages being discarded on the side, Crowie pecked at one page, pulled it out of the stack and dropped it to the ground. Crowie then flew off.

Justino picked up that page ,  and looked at the written name…

It was ‘ Dona Eliza’, the name of his grandmother, and so this name remained for the hotel.

Justine’s sons Ashton and Ivan  , are proprietors of this hotel .

Justino and family

I wonder if Crowie, will get preferential treatment when she visits “Dona Eliza”.

I certainly am waiting to see this beautiful hotel at Calangute ,and wish that Hotel ‘Dona Eliza’ will flourish and be a ‘home away from home’ for many tourists who visit Goa.

Hotel Dona Eliza

Oh and here’s some news , on Crowie’s last visit, a baby crow came along. Justino has now  befriended Crowie’s growing family or is it Crowie’s way of introducing her family to Justino.

Crowie selecting the name
An invitation to lunch
Crowie enjoying her lunch

16 thoughts on “Justino & Crowie- How Hotel ‘Dona Eliza’ got its name

  1. What a remarkable story ……an honest,humble and gracious person in Justino and his family. All the best ! Joe Nunes Toronto.


  2. Viva la Goa!!thank you vincent for introducing us to multi talented justin..his beautiful family via pic and lovable crowie.
    Wish i were able to write about another humble ,gifted Goan …vincent mascarenhas and his amazing God loving family.


  3. That’s a very intriguing story, and I much enjoyed your narrative. It will be interesting to see what Crowie Junior does.


    1. Crowie will not see Justino for some time as Justino and family are at the hotel and unable to return home due to lockdown .
      But Justino has made new friends among the crows at the new location .


  4. What an amazing story indeed about Justino’s humble beginnings as an artist and then venturing into a hotel business with his two sons.
    Of course not forgetting good luck Crowie who I had the pleasure of meeting when I visited Justino’s Dona Alcina apartment in late February 2020.


    1. So honored to say we know Justino his lovely wife and enthusiastic sons. We were very fortunate to have stayed at the lovely hotel and also visit Their house where Crowie visited and got a chance to meet him too.


  5. I was very privileged to meet Justino n family for dinner along with a very dear friend n I really enjoyed hospitality of a wonderful family n I really enjoyed going to gallery of hotel with amazing paintings.


  6. Justino is a childhood friend of mine whose passion for nature and beauty stems from seeds sown in Mombasa, Kenya.
    The messages in his works are exemplified by his choice of colour … and I proudly display one of his paintings in my home.
    I take this opportunity to wish him every success in his vision for Hotel “Donna Eliza”.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Justino & Sonya – Thanks for posting this remarkable story, going to think of it, makes us ponder, that our elders are always around us. Donna Eliza is taking care of you always. The hospitality shown to me by Ashton & Ivan during my stay at your hotel is highly appreciated. Big God Bless and Good Luck for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have known Justino and Sonja for many years now they are such lovely compassionate people and compliment each other a very loving and gentile couple God has blessed them abundantly with loving sons and I wish them all the best in their endeavors with Donna Eliza
    PS: yes crowie too very blessed to have found a home with Justine and fly


  9. Truly enjoyed reading this article ‘Justino & Crowie”. It shows the artistic talent of Justino and when he speaks his conversations are as colorful as his beautiful vibrant paintings full of emotions, interesting topics and with articulated expressions!! Love his family for their friendship & hospitality whenever we down in Goa!!


  10. Truly an amazing story indeed, of Justino and his feathered friend, Crowie. Justin’s flamboyant, yet humble and down to earth attitude, makes him one of the leading lights of our group of school mates, of which I am privileged to be a part of.
    All the very best to Justino and Sonja for their hotel venture ‘Dona Eliza’.
    Orlando & Genevieve


  11. Just learned of this beautiful story of Crowie and Donna Eliza. Great job, Justino and family. Lots of love from Canada and hope to visit you next time we are in Goa!

    Kevin (Saldanha)


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