Being one of the key tourist attractions in India, Goa provides accommodation for every type of traveller – travellers who are on a budget to the ones willing to shell those extra bucks.
As a bachelor during my college days (read – when I had limited cash to splurge), I have stayed in shacks in and around Baga beach at around 200 bucks per night. These accommodations used to be very basic, usually a small room attached with a restroom. With time and being a family man now, the type of accommodations that I look out has also changed. In this article, I will highlight the resorts that I have stayed and my experiences in these resorts. Goa has all the prominent hotel chains (Taj, Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Leela, Radisson – you name it, they are located here) and it is no surprise that one tends to get confused when short-listing the resort for the perfect family get away.
One of the first Luxury resorts which graced the Goan coastline has to be the iconic Taj Fort Aguada. This luxury beach-front resort overlooks the Sinquerium Beach and is around 4 Kilometres from the 17th century Fort Aguada and Lighthouse. The resort is around 40 Kilometres from the airport and would take more than an hour to reach mainly due to the traffic in Panjim.
This time around I took a flight from Bengaluru to Goa and landed at around 10 AM. The hotel had arranged for a pick up and there were no hassles in locating the vehicle. The hotel is located in North Goa and is built on the remains of an old fort. As one enters the lobby the view of the pristine Goan beach welcomes you. One can see the entire coastline from Sinquerim to Baga from the lobby of the hotel. The location of the resort has to be the USP of this resort.As it is located on an elevated fort, one gets a bird’s eye view of the lively North Goa coastline.
We had the traditional welcome – Goan style with music, a drink to refresh us and a garland made out of shells. The check-in time is 2PM and since our flight was rescheduled, we ended up reaching the resort at 11AM. The front desk did their best to allocate us a room by 12:30PM – honestly we did not complain waiting in their lobby as the view and breeze was relaxing. I had booked a sea facing room, but they were kind enough to upgrade us to one of their Villas (always a great way to start the stay). The hotel offers a wide range of rooms to choose from based on one’s budget and expectations. Click here to read about the different rooms available in this resort.
The villas are nested pretty far from the hotel lobby and are perched on top of a hill that offers unmatched view of the coastline. The villas are a 1 bedroom standalone villa with a great view of the sea and has a private sit out, living room and a lawn to relax.
Taj hotels are known for their hospitality and you would not be disappointed. The Taj hospitality stands out in each and every Taj hotel that I have stayed. People do not wear a fake smile and greetings. These people really care for you. One has to experience the attention to detail that they follow right from the dining area to your room. The fitness centre is great and is open 24hrs – helps travellers who are not keeping a schedule. The infinity pool is a great place to unwind as it overlooks the Sinquerim beach which is pretty commercialized with all sort of water sport activities. One can access the beach through a small gate that is located near the swimming pool. The resort does not have a private beach and this could be one of the drawbacks for some travellers – especially the ones who would like to laze on the sun beds by the beach. If you can overlook the crowd, the walk on this beach is really refreshing. It is not as crowded as the Calangute and Baga beaches which are located further up North on this stretch.
Some parts of the resort does look a bit worn out but there was renovation work going around in the resort. I am hoping that the next time we visit this place, it would be back to its best. The resort shares some of its facilities with the adjoining “Vivanta by Taj – Holiday Village”, which is a stone’s throw away from Fort Aguada. The Jiva Spa is centrally located so that both the resorts can access it. By Jiva standards, the Spa was a bit of a letdown as it did not exhibit the grandeur associated with the Jiva Spas – no complaints on the treatment though.
We had booked the all meal package and thus did not venture out for meals. Following are the restaurants that were located in the resort:
- Latitude: This is a multi-cuisine restaurant for all day dining. All our buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner were served at this restaurant. The restaurant is located near the infinity pool and has a great view of the beach
- Morisco: This restaurant serves only sea food and is open only for dinners. During peak season it is better to book a table. The food is delicious (a bit expensive though) and the location is perfect for a candle light dinner (it overlooks the Candolim-Calangute-Baga beach stretch)
- Camino: This restaurant serves Italian food. This place also is open only for dinner. Unfortunately, we did not have any meal here, thus would not be able to comment on the food.
- SFX: SFX bar is a perfect place to unwind. Order few chilled beers and laze around in the couch looking at the beautiful Arabian ocean. This was our favourite place to hangout during sunsets.
- Martini Bar: We did not have a chance to visit this bar. This bar is located right next to the Morisco restaurant and has the open air bar theme
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Shortlist this hotel if:
- You are on a family vacation and would like to stay in North Goa. There are many prominent places to visit in North Goa – Fort Aguada & Lighthouse, Baga, Calangute, Vagator, Anjuna and prominent clubs.
- You are looking for a resort which does not have many corporate events arranged. I stayed here for 5 nights and there was only one corporate lunch organized during the entire stay.
- Hospitality – that’s something Taj has been known for.
This resort is close to the hustle and bustle of North Goa, but yet nested away in such a way that you can always have your private time.
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