Goa is no longer the hippies’ paradise. More and more families can be seen enjoying its 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 took 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. Passing through multiple villages and travelling through narrow winding roads brought me to 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 minutes 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 10. The resort is welcoming with its to-the-point décor and courteous staff. The check-in process was quick and fuss free.
As I walked into my room, a note along with an array of local and international delicacies welcomed me. 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 and soak up the surroundings.
A complete resort, Novotel Goa Resort & Spa has a huge swimming pool overlooking paddy fields, a scene one generally does not associate Goa with and get to see regularly. Novotel Goa Shrem has two pools! Kids can also enjoy aqua zorbing. And for adults — drumroll, a Sunken Bar. What more can one ask for!
Gymming regulars should not worry about missing out on their daily dose of adrenaline as both the hotels come with 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 children of all ages. Both the resorts feature a special kids’ 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, hair braiding and so on.
If you are an outdoor 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 early morning and found the natural beauty breathtaking.
My guide, Shankar, asked me if I cycle regularly and as I said no, he said, ‘We’ll be cycling 10km today’. That got me worried but I decided to go through the plan anyway.
After loading my cycle with a bag full of fruits, juices and water, all provided by the hotel, we set off to explore Candolim.
An hour later after huffing and puffing we were back at the hotel. Mission accomplished!
For hungry souls, Novotel Goa Resort and Spa offers a plethora of food options. Food Exchange is open from 7.30 am to 11 pm 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 was Vero Cibo that serves Mediterranean cuisine. Open throughout the day, Vero Cibo is the place to laze around 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 it up or take a beach shuttle that leaves every 30 minutes from the resort.
If you are planning to have some quality family time, Novotel Goa will make sure you leave the place with pleasant memories.
BEACH, SHOPPING AREA NEARBY
Both the properties — Novotel Goa Resort and Spa, Pinto Waddo, off Candolim Road, Candolim, Bardez, and Novotel Goa Shrem, Anna Waddo Main Candolim Road, Bardez — are located nearby to each other, and the Candolim beach and shopping area. There are taxis available at the gate of the resort.
So if you are planning a vacation in Goa, you know where to head.