Holiday Highs & Lows
on Jan 17, 2020
India is a magical place and it is blessed to have Goa as part of its remit. The flight took just over 8 hours from London Gatwick into Goa..and this is when the fun starts. On arrival at Goa immigration they check your VISA and scan your fingers (like an electronic fingerprint) and take your picture. This all takes time and expect to queue….After passing through customs you then go to collect your luggage. Note at this point there will be porters looking to help you for a fee of Rs300 (£3) as they will start to unload bags off of the luggage belts. If you do not require their services just politely refuse.
Please bear in mind that Goa is a military airport and that holiday firm representatives and taxi drivers etc etc are not allowed in the terminal building it is only for those travelling. Once you step outside the madness ensues but you will find your rep or a taxi very easily, it’s the mass of people on exit which is the most daunting site at first then trying to maneuver to your transfer amongst people, taxis, dogs is the second challenge. But it is all good fun!!!!
The transfer to the hotel takes approximately 60 minutes – it is a bit of a bumpy ride in parts as we landed at 23.45…the roads were quiet which certainly is not the norm.
Upon arrival at the hotel you check in as there was only one person on check in and a queue is quick to form but you are offered a cold Kingfisher Beer on arrival…which is a nice touch.
Rm 004 has a lovely balcony out front over looking the gardens which I must say are immaculately kept. The grounds of this hotel are stunning and kept that way all of the time. The room is large and air conditioned with just enough PowerPoints and storage units with a combination of one cupboard and multiple drawers for your clothes. The room also has a tv, mini fridge and tea and coffee making facilities. The rooms are cleaned every day and fresh towels are provided in the bathroom and a bottle mineral water is left each day. There is a safe in the cupboard but it is not bolted to anything so it could be just picked up and carried away under your arm! It does work and should it malfunction then it will be reset by security G4S and there will be two members of staff present if it needs to be opened and reset.
The bathroom is large with a huge box square shower enclosure and it is a big shower you could fit eight people in it! It has an overhead and hand held shower head. The water is nice and hot in the morning but it not so hot and started to turn cold in the evenings from 7pm…there is a hand basin large mirror, hairdryer and duel flush toilet. All very neat clean and tidy although we did have a slight infestation of ants one day but easily dealt with using a bit of common sense.
Restaurants & Dining
There are three restaurants the main large one for breakfast, lunch and evening meal. One called Currys and Kebabs which specialises in Indian Cuisine and then Mama Mia which specialises in steaks and grills. I did not get to try either but did dine in the main restaurant where the selection at all mealtimes was huge with a very good mix for the local and western palate. A bonus is that they actually had proper bacon (well at least by UK standards). The only downside its all a bit chaotic at times – they need self-service drinks stations and the service although very attentive can be a bit hit and miss. You will be asked for your room number then shown to a table by one waiter, your drinks order taken by another waiter only for them to wander off to other parts of the restaurant. The tables were not always set but they were not left with dirty cutlery or unfinished plates on them. There was an attempt to have some sort of table service at busy times but that just added to the chaos.
The food itself was of a high quality and tasty and the variety offered across the board was impressive. The staff were attentive and exceptionally polite and kept bringing those Kingfisher beers like it was water lol.
The night where dinner is served by poolside is a good event and should be undertaken more often. There are only a couple of cats that turn up to be fed at meal times which is nice – they love a meat based curry like everybody else!
The pool was clean and immaculate and it is quite a large pool and about 7ft at its deepest point – I didn’t bother with the pool as the beach is stunning and the sea calm and warm! There were plenty of sunbeds in and around the pool area and I did not see the 5.30am 50 metre mad dash to secure a bed in force. There is a bar near the poolside.
A short walk along a dedicated path which turns sandy with palm trees overhead and well-manicured lawns either side along with a couple of cows grazing leads to the beach. The beach is simply stunning it is vast and exceptionally clean. The water is nice and warm – it is idyllic if you are not impressed then you are a hard person to please. Be prepared to share the beach with free roaming cows and dogs but the beaches also have cleaners on them to eradicate the beach of mess. The beaches are public and government owned the hotels are not allowed to provide sunbeds. Theses are provided by the beach shacks who will try and get your business. All they ask is that you buy a drink or food and there is no charge for the bed. I have paid up to 15 Euro on a beach not half as nice in Europe just for a bed! – here I can get quality food a cocktail with four soft drinks and about four beers for about Rs1100 that’s £11 per day. Much better value!
You will be pestered by a plethora of beach sellers plying their trade and trying to sell you something or another – just be firm and say no – do not say later they will come back later. In fact they will come back everyday to you saying my name is so and so don’t forget me! After a while it becomes annoying but that’s life so don’t get sucked in. If they offer you anything then offer a third if you want to buy it so if something is Rs900 then say Ill give you Rs250 and no more. In fact adopt this approach everywhere you shop..learn to barter and then learn to barter hard. As an example, we went into a shop and wanted some cushion covers starting price Rs550 each that Rs3300 in total – walked away paying Rs1800. Same with taxi fare – barter barter barter….
The ice cream seller on Cavelissom beach (baseball cap orange peak) he’s a nice guy if you don’t have change he just says I will come back later to collect…very trustworthy…
As for the rest of the sellers - well you have been warned!..lol..
There is a dedicated security guard here asking your room number both when you enter and leave the beach area. They are there 24/7…having spoken to them they told me that some patrons are rude and question them about being asked their room number. I just thought yeah typical rude tourists get off your high horses for once and thank god they have security (forgotten Tunisia already???).
We hired a car for a day cost Rs2000 for car and Rs1,800 for fuel (approx £34 all in). A word of warning here the Indian roads are not safe at all so if you lack confidence in driving, do not possess 24/7 peripheral vision, cannot drive one handed (other will be on the horn), have a nervous disposition, scare easily and wish to avoid cows, dogs in the middle of the roads take a taxi or hire yourself a driver for the day. Either way you choose it’s a full-on assault on your senses. On my return to Gatwick the minicab driver asked where we had just been – he was from South India he said he doesn’t drive in India…he said he was too scared…enough said lol.
Truly a magical and idyllic place with a paradise like setting (er….can you tell I liked it?...lol) It is what you make it and it is a real mix of Europe but in India many of the locals say Goa isn’t really India maybe not but you get a good a good flavour of what’s going on. Enjoy it…..
Although the holiday was fabulous it was marred by an event which I need to make others aware of so here goes. The check-out time at the Novotel is 12.00 noon our flight was not until 01.40am, we paid and extra £50 to extend our room stay until 19.00. We checked out at 19.00 and left our bags in which we thought would be a secure area the coach transfer was not until 22.00 – unfortunately during this time (19.00- 22.00) we had some expensive items stolen from our hand luggage.
All I urge follow travellers to do is to lock everything not only your hold luggage but any luggage you intend to leave unattended in the care of the hotel. Lets just say the hotel have not excelled in customer service with regards to customer service in respect of this issue.
Great place to stay for families
on Jan 16, 2020
We are a family of 4 with a 11 and an 8 Yr old. We stayed here with another family for 2 nights 3 days. It was a nice relaxing atmosphere. Although it was peak monsoons it didn't stop us from having a good time.
Excellent property for corporate events and superb service by the staff
on Jan 16, 2020
We had two corporate event in January 2020, excellent property with great location. The facility is well equipped for corporate events with beach on back side which gives enough to opportunity for fun with work.
Most impressive part about resort are super supportive and welcoming staff. They will go extra mile to support your needs, even at the last moment. We make second time because we got superior customer experience.
on Jan 16, 2020
Stayed here for the 3rd time. We had a great holiday and enjoyed everything about the place. The added bonus was experiencing the amazing Hindu weddings 😉 very impressive. The food was excellent the service at times was a little chaotic but the dining room staff were all lovely and tried so hard to please everyone although at times some guests were incredibly rude they still smiled and were very polite. The house keeping department was excellent and again couldn't do enough for us. Rosaline was very helpful as was the lovely young boys that serviced our room. They impressed us with their "towel art" most days!!! If there was anything to improve on I would say Novotel should provide improved training for the poolside bar, some of the staff here were lacking in basic hygiene skills.......I saw thing's like nose picking and dirty cloths being used to wipe tumblers and surfaces. Aside from that the hotel is lovely. Karen the TUI rep is brilliant 👍 she had to deal with some extremely challenging guests during our stay and she stayed cheerful and positive in some really trying times. Gita front of house and the other lovely young woman also front of house were amazing too and worked very hard to keep guests happy. I would recommend this hotel to anyone who appreciates good standards but equally remembers they are in INDIA!!!! The pool boy's were incredible they were smart and so helpful all the time. These boy's would fit in anywhere in the world......just lovely and deserve some recognition for the great job they do.
on Jan 13, 2020
Excellent service , very good property, very good food, Novotel dona silviya employee ' . Geeta very good person n especially she is taking care about my family my wife kids, all happy, we love to visit agin.
N thanku Geeta
Regards, Prabhanand Padwal Mumbai Goregaon.