Goa is no longer the hippies paradise it used to be a couple of years ago. More and more families are seen enjoying the abundant natural beauty and frolicking on its many popular and virgin beaches.
A short flight from Pune, I landed at Dabolim Airport in Goa last week. As I exited the terminal, a neatly-dressed man was holding a placard of my destination – Novotel Goa Resort & Spa!
The airport pick-up vehicle was on stand-by and I got in the front seat. An hours’ drive from the airport to the resort in the afternoon did not feel tiresome with music, dark clouds and the susegad Goan air for company.
Crossing multiple villages through narrow winding roads brought me to the village of Candolim in the northern part or Candoli as it is locally known, where Novotel Goa is situated. Unlike many Goan resorts, Novotel Goa is not a beach property, allowing its patrons to experience the interiors of Goa away from the maddening rush.
They have two properties a mere 10 mins away from each other, Novotel Goa Resort & Spa and Novotel Goa Shrem, and both are equally luxurious. Novotel Goa’s main focus is on family and kids and they score a perfect ten.
The resort is welcoming with its to-the-point décor and a courteous staff. The check-in process was quick and fuss free. I was guided to the restaurant for lunch and as I was glancing through the menu, my room key card was handed over to me. It did not take me long to decide on my lunch – Goan Chorizo and Poi!
As I walked into my room after a heavy lunch, a note along with an array of local and international delicacies welcomed me. Even with a full stomach I couldn’t help but savour them immediately.
The balcony in my room provided a different view of Goa with a thick cover of trees and I couldn’t wait to stir a cup of hot black coffee, sit in the balcony and let my mind wander looking at the view.
A complete resort, Novotel Goa Resort & Spa has a huge swimming pool overlooking the paddy fields, a scene one generally does not associate Goa with and get to see regularly. Novotel Goa Shrem has two! Kids can also enjoy aqua zorbing! And for adults – drumroll, a Sunken Bar! What more can anyone ask for.
Gymming regulars should not worry about missing out their daily dose of adrenalin as both the hotels come with a world class fitness centre.
Novotel Resort and Spa also features the international Warren-Tricomi Spa from New York for all your beauty needs.
With #Goaforkids as their focus, Novotel has prepared an extensive list of activities for kids of all ages. Both the resorts feature a special kid’s play area under the watchful eye of a caretaker so the parents can spend some time together. Apart from the play area there are a variety of activities like badminton, table tennis, mini golf, basket ball, board games and also a play station! Girls can get their fix of Mehendi, nail art and hair braiding among many others.
If you are an outdoorsy person, Novotel Goa has the perfect activity for you – cycling! Cycles in funky colours are available for kids and adults. I decided to cycle around Candolim in early morning Goan sun and was in awe of the natural beauty Goa offers. My guide, Shankar, asked me if I cycle regularly and as I said no, he said ‘we’ll be cycling 10km today.’ I was speechless on hearing that but decided to go through the plan anyway. After loading my cycle with a bag full of fruits, juices and water, all provided by Novotel, we set off to explore Candolim. Few stops to click pictures later, huffing and puffing, we were back at the hotel. Mission accomplished!
A plethora of options are available to the hungry souls at Novotel Goa Resort and Spa. Food Exchange is open from 7.30am to 11pm and serves multi-cuisine buffet and a la carte. The Chy – Bar.Deli.Bakery is your one stop for all your Goan-Portuguese cravings.
My favourite of all was Vero Cibo that serves Mediterranean cuisine. Open throughout the day, Vero Cibo is the place to laze with good food for company. The elegantly designed restaurant is right next to the paddy fields and its open design lets some cool fresh breeze sweep in.
At Novotel Goa Shrem, patrons can enjoy delicious meals at Square, La Brise and Bar Asia near the pool and the cutely designed The Little Place or TLP as it is known. All the restaurants serve international cuisine.
The resort keeps you busy the entire time with a host of activities and if you still find time, the beautiful Candolim beach is just minutes away from the resort. You can walk up to it if you want to take a stroll but you can always take the beach shuttle that is available at the resort that leaves every 30 mins.
You can directly book with Novotel here
Both the properties are nearby to each other and also the Candolim beach and shopping area. There are taxis available on hire just at the gate of the resort.
Novotel Goa Resort and Spa
Pinto Waddo, Off Candolim Road
403515 GOA – INDIA
Tel (+91)8327112424 – Fax (+91)8327112425
Novotel Goa Shrem
Anna Waddo Main Candolim Road
403515 GOA – INDIA
Tel (+91)8327112223 – Fax (+91)8327112224
*I was hosted by Novotel Goa but it has in no way influenced the review. Few images are courtesy of Novotel Goa.