As you know me and Kalyan recently visited Goa and stayed at Novotel Goa Resort and Spa at Candolim and had the most amazing time ever! It all started in May this year when we decided to go to Goa in June to celebrate my 30th birthday. We booked our flight tickets and were just deciding on our stay options when, I got to know that I had to travel to AbuDhabi during the exact same time to cover the VIVO SIIMA event. Our Goa trip got postponed to July – which also didn’t happen due to certain other commitments. We had to re-book our flight tickets to August and re-schedule everything according to the new dates. The folks at Novotel were super patient throughout our discussions and all the back-and-forth on the dates.
I don’t say it enough but it is indeed such a blessing that I get to travel as part of my job! And I’ll forever be grateful for it! Now, let’s dive into why you absolutely MUST stay at this property when you visit Goa.
While it is not a beach front property, which is what we all look for, it quickly makes up for not being one, by offering you so much more! Candolim beach is about ten minutes away, and the hotel provides a shuttle service to and from the beach every half an hour for all their guests. So you are saved the trouble of a)renting a bike (now you don’t have to worry about driving, while downing those couple of extra beers), or b) booking a cab (which is a sheer waste of money given how expensive cabs are in Goa)
Architecture & plenty of photo-ops
The property has really cool, interesting architecture providing multiple photo-ops for you to get your holiday’s worth of pictures. I know I utilised the heck out of it!
Pool & Pool-bar
The pool is well maintained, has it’s own pool bar called the Sunken Bar (sign me up right now!). They have a shop in the hotel itself where you can buy swimwear (nothing fancy though), in case you’ve forgotten to pack one.
Herb Garden & Vero Cibo
The pool has an adjoining garden restaurant called the Herb garden. Nestled in between trees and plants and bushes (and unfortunately also insects if you are visiting during the monsoons), you have tables and chairs set for you to enjoy some privacy and nature.
Next to the Herb garden is their newly launched restaurant and bistro bar – Vero Cibo, which specialises in Mediterranean and European cuisines. To lend a Mediterranean vibe, the design elements include cabana seating, bird cages, yellow lighting, white drapes and candle lit chandeliers. While this caters more to non-vegetarians, their signature Vero Cibo dip with bread sticks is simply to die for! It also offers a very unique view of a Goan village.
Food exceeded all my expectations! I’ve always found that places like these excel only in certain types of cuisines. But from fast food to Indian to Italian, they excelled in everything. Whether it was a salad that I ordered or a veggie burger, everything was delicious. I was most excited for breakfast, but found very few options in veg. Although the ones that I did have, did not disappoint in taste at all.
Foosball, boxing, basketball & cycling
After three days of going all around Goa and partying hard, we really didn’t feel like stepping out of the hotel. We were just walking around the property wondering what we could do when we came across their gaming corner. We surprised ourselves by indulging in a game of table tennis, foosball and carroms. Yes, perfectly mundane, normal things. But as a couple we had NEVER done something like this together. It was quite nice that they had a few indoor games and also a pretty decent basketball court for those who wanted to have some fun. Overall, the resort gave off a very friendly ‘family’ vibe.
I didn’t get a chance to do this, since every bike was almost always with someone. But I do love that cycling was included as part of the activities.
Books, desserts and drinks at Cafe Chy
Novotel has been trying to put itself out there as a ‘one size fits all’ property. Be it for business or pleasure, traveling as a couple or a family with kids, they have you covered. The kids corner looked quite inviting (even to us 30 year olds) what with a fun jungle gym and trampoline (never too old for that!) and lots of fun games!
Their in-house cafe – Chy, has a cozy vibe, plenty of books to read, and a choice selection of desserts and drinks to keep you company. They have bean bags strewn around low tables which are actually play stations for you to indulge in some games. Essentially making sure you don’t need to move out of this place, until closing time.
We stayed in the Junior Suite and every minute from the moment we entered till we left was nothing short of fabulous. There wasn’t much crowd although every room was occupied (even in off-season). If you want to see more of what we got up to, and a room tour check out the vlog at the end of the post!
Thanks to Rohit and Sagar who were our servers/hosts for first and second day respectively. Their attitude & personality was so great and we had a wonderful time chatting with them as we spent our time at the property. Sagar who we met on the second day was from Hyderabad, and thrilled would be an understatement to describe how he reacted when he realised we were from Hyderabad too. I wish I had that moment recorded on video! Kalyan being his typical self, got to know his entire life story in a matter of minutes and obviously, had to get one picture clicked together. Sagar went out of his way to make us feel special and comfortable. Despite our objections, he went on to get us food & drinks on the house and made our last night at the property one of the most memorable ones!
Check out the Vlog about our stay!
For more pictures, check out Stucktogether on instagram here