June – September is the time of the year when I am inclined to take a vacation with friends in Goa. The peak Goa season is over in March (starts from October when all the tourists arrive!). The idea is to spend time with close friends and shut down my mental machinery for a few days, also the Goa weather in June-August is marvellous, with the rains. This time around, the destination was going to be the Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa, partly thanks to my Hyatt Diamond status last year.
We were a bunch of six-eight friends who were going to be going over, so I booked three standard rooms at this hotel and then called to apply my Hyatt GP Diamond upgrade certificates. Since my certificates for 2011 were going to expire in February 2012, I booked the rooms and applied the certificates right away in mid-February 2012. The agents at the Hyatt reservations desk in India were not so responsive, since they never responded to my emails and I could only book 2 rooms via the website. I eventually had to call and then the story went downhill from there. I had to eventually give Hyatt some ‘feedback’ about training their agents in India a little better. Eventually, we had three confirmed suites at the Park Hyatt Goa.
As the date came closer, some friends dropped out due to various reasons. Two were not so sure, and the hotel management was nice enough to modify the terms of the reservation to let me cancel the room up to T-1 in their case. We eventually whittled down to a bunch of four people who were going to be making the trip to Goa.
We decided to take the overnight train from Mumbai to Goa, which is an 8 hour or so ride and more preferable over the early morning flight to Goa for me. We get to sleep a few hours and no rush to wake up at 4:30 am to take the flight, which means we are already sleepy by the time we are there. We arrived at about 8 AM, and 2 Honda CRVs were waiting to pick us up from the railway station. Once inside, the chauffer wished us, told us his name and brought us a cold towel and water, before starting our 20 minute ride to the resort situated in South Goa.
At the resort, on arrival at about 8 AM, we were invited to be seated in the lobby and were offered a welcome drink of natural coconut water. There were no counters to check-in at, and while my friends and brother lounged around sipping on the coconuts, I was approached by the hosts to sign off on the check-in documents. We were informed that while one of the suites was ready, the other would be ready in a couple of hours and offered us a room adjacent to the suite in the meanwhile.
On the way to the suite, a large Drawing Room
The resort is built on a 45-acre parcel of land, with a private beachfront and one of the bigger pools I’ve seen in a while. There were no tall buildings, but cottages and villas built in Portuguese style and tons of landscaping. Being a massive sized resort, the living areas were scoped into five separate ‘courts’. We were assigned our suites on the ground level and top level of the same villa, which was at the south-western end of the resort, and we decided to walk, rather than take the buggy ride.
On the way to our rooms, and the courtyard of our suites.
The good part about Goa is the closeness to nature you can feel and that some of the resort properties have been able to build up massive spacious rooms which one can always appreciate living in a city with match-box accommodation such as Mumbai. The living room looked very inviting, specially the chair and the ottoman put together.
The Living Room, as you enter
The Living Room
The Minibar all stocked up
The Balcony. Yes, I had a plan to sit here and read a book. Never materialised.
The view from my balcony
I was looking forward to my stay here for the next couple of days. What I did not notice initially was the welcome amenities that were placed in the room – a big tray of fruits, and a big jar of chocolates and some cakes.
The bathroom was an open bathroom, connected into the bedroom, and had a big stone-tub built into it. Like you can see, there was more than the obvious space you would usually need to stay in the hotel and I loved that already. There were also local amenities used from Forest Essentials, a brand I love, and which I consider way better over the standard Portico amenities anyday. One of the other hotel chains I love, the Taj, also uses this brand all over India.
We decided to take a shower and quickly reassemble for a long lazy breakfast before we would take an afternoon siesta. We headed towards the Village Square to check out what we could have for breakfast, and we had a long breakfast by all standards.