Let’s put it like this: Novotel Resort and Spa is like a retreat within a retreat. If you’re flying in from a mega metropolis like Delhi, Goa greets you with its signature air of susegad and lulls you into believing that life is laid-back and lovely. Then you drive into the tree-lined portals of this hotel, and you are convinced that life is also lush and luxurious.
This property wears a polished wood-and-glass look, with sleek corridors and a well-cared-for feel. It’s a pleasant Goan-Portuguese design, in perfect tandem with its idyllic setting. The hotel features the Warren-Tricomi Spa from New York, award winning dining venues and bars, a sports corner, gym, fun pool area with great music, Jacuzzi and a supervised Kids club with daily activities. “Pleasure is our mantra,” they proudly announce, and follow it to the letter.
You walk into your room and the sense of space relaxes you at once.
I’m greeted by a sweet little welcome note on a beautifully decorated tray filled with chocolates, crackers and spa coupons. Strategically placed lights and polished wooden floor enhance the room’s warm, cosy feel. Outside my window, more trees sway in the balmy Goa breeze. Much as I long to flop down on the inviting bed, I can equally not wait to step out and explore the rest of the property.
Breakfast is served at The Food Exchange, and it is lavish, to put it mildly. Only if you stay at least three days can you hope to sample everything they serve!
The alfresco kitchen is immaculate and inviting. An arched couch with colourful cushions adds a touch of fun. Chy Lounge & Bar is the hotel’s lobby lounge & bar at the lobby level, serving grab & go drinks and food, collectables, exotic teas and a unique bar and food menu all day long.
My favourite feature of this hotel: the pool. An impossibly brilliant blue under the generous shade of a big banyan tree, overlooking paddy fields. The result—lots of dappled sunlight but complete protection from heat, and a generous dose of beauty while you splash off your stresses. Kick back a beer from the sunken bar, then relax in the jacuzzi right next to it. You’ll want to say “Life’s good!”
The hotel is an easy 15 minutes walk from Candolim beach. Of course, they have a complimentary beach drop off service, too. Right outside is a cluster of local stores: interesting to stroll around and get your Instagram fix. We spotted a quaint little library, just a few steps from the hotel.
My teammate Malika, a sports lover, was thrilled to spot a TT Table, basketball court, boxing and mini golf in the alfresco area. While she thumped around shooting baskets, I stood admiring the lovely landscaping around the pool. An effusion of bushes and flowers, punctuated with cobbled paths.
Great food combined with beautiful scenery is perhaps everyone’s fondest dream come true. Surprise! Novotel Goa makes your dream come true, with Vero Cibo, where we enjoyed an unforgettable candlelit meal starring fine wine and beautifully balanced Mediterranean meal, rounded off with an incredible dark chocolate dessert.
The 35-seater restaurant serves Mediterranean and European cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood. A cool breeze swept through the paddy fields next to us. This gem of a restaurant is the perfect blend of elegance and earthiness, just like a glass of wine.
And the best for the last: the Spa!
After an entire week of driving around Goa, eating and drinking, swimming, taking pictures, buying knick-knacks and sharing it all on social media, one needs somebody to knead away the beautiful fatigue of too much enjoyment. The spa at Novotel is just the ticket, as I check into one of its seven single treatment rooms. (They also have one Couple’s Suite, Goa’s only Couple’s Hammam Ritual Room, a nature pedicure area, a high-end Salon, a stunning Yoga deck and several relaxation zones.)
Once again, I am spoilt for choice: Massage, facials, Hammam, scrubs, wraps…the buffet is as tempting as the breakfast spread! But because I have a flight to catch, I pick just a facial, during which the therapist also gives me a wonderful foot massage. Can life get more blissful than this?
Verdict: if you’re going to Goa only to crash out into a pad at night, don’t stay here. This lovely hotel deserves to be enjoyed as a pleasure on its own!
Pinto Waddo, Off Candolim Road
403515 GOA – INDIA