There’s a Goan vacation for everybody! India’s favourite tourist destination offers a plethora of options for every kind of traveler. Adventure junkie to the nature lover to the honeymooning couple to the food explorer – Goa has something for everyone. Especially if you’re a luxury traveler, and you love your five star hotel beds, relaxing spa treatments, gourmet fine dine, and the best of service. Goa will spoil you with luxury stay options as well. And who better than the Marriott group of hotels – the first name when it comes to grand hotel stays, to help me experience an opulent Goan getaway.
Location: W Goa, Vagator
We drive down Goa’s narrow picturesque bylanes, passing by shuttered shacks and the occassional North Indian tourist on a scooter to arrive at Vagator in North Goa. The rains convert Goa into a different destination altogether – flooded paddy fields on either sides of the road, coconut trees swaying dangerously, and shades of green you didn’t know existed. #50ShadesOfGreen. After a failed attempt at climbing up to Chapora ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ fort in a downpour and a subsequent skidded knee, we made our way to W Goa.
12 pm – Soaking in all that W Goa has to offer
W Goa is spread over a sprawling property, overlooking Vagator beach with rooms and other amenities scattered all over the area, such that you need your very own chauffeur driven buggy to transport you to and fro. In trademark W Hotels fashion the hotel caters to a more younger, laid back crowd with an emphasis on art, fashion, music and fitness elements. During our property tour we couldn’t help but marvel at the fabulous views of the beach that the hotel offers from the lobby, the rooms, and from many key points in the property. A good book, glass of wine and the sunset from their ‘Living Room’ lobby is something I want to definitely return back for. #LivingRoomGoals.
But honestly what takes your breath away is the hotel’s Rockpool – a stunning open air pool, housed right by the sea in the midst of nature. I am yet to come across a better sundowner location than this. Coupled with the unique art elements created by local artists, interspersed within the hotel’s decor, W Goa is a visual delight.
1 pm – Modern Asian Fare at Spice Traders
Ginormous acrylic chillis dangle at the entrance to the restaurant, welcoming you inside. Surprisingly that is the only overt Asian element in the decor of this Oriental restaurant – everything else is modern and classy. Tres Chic! The top floor of the split level restaurant converts into a bar by sundown with a fabulous view of the Arabian sea, while the lower level serves out some delicious yet unique Pan Asian food.
A must order dish from their menu is the Raw Pizza – top grade tuna slices on a base of tortilla finished with wasabi mayo if you’re a non vegetarian, and a bell pepper version if you abstain from meat. Both ‘pizzas’ were exquisite in their preparation, unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before. If you’re not in the mood to experiment, opt for their classic yet refreshing California sushi roll (crab + apple + avocado) or the crunchy and addictive Fantastic Shrooms with a filling of tempura enoki mushrooms.
The Japanese style Spinach Goame salad (spinach + sesame dressing) was elevated with the addition of crunchy black corn on top providing an interesting textural variation. Another interesting salad we tried was the Thai Larb Gai salad where minced chicken came tossed with onion slivers, chilli lime dressing and shallots. Their Singaporean Chilli Crab was not only presented beatifully, but also had that trademark sweet spicy flavour that one comes to associate with this dish. Wish there was lesser sauce though, which could have enabled the crab meat taste to shine through as well. My favourite dish of the meal were the stupendous Black and White Tempura prawns where the prawns were coated in an activated charcoal tempura casing and topped with a sweet mango wasabi. #MindIsBlown. Skip the main course here, and opt for their Orange Cheesecake with a chocolate almond base that came presented so artistically making this dish 100% Instagram worthy.
(Swipe left in the post below to see more pictures of our meal. Try not to drool on your screen.)
W Goa, Vagator Beach, Bardez, Vagator, Goa.
Click here for more details.
Location: Goa Marriott Resort and Spa, Panaji
A drowsy 45 minute long car ride later, we cross the bridge leading into Goa’s capital Panjim. All signs of ‘susegaad’ country life start evaporating as I start spotting a slight semblance of traffic and crowd. (Nothing compared to what we experience back home, however. Still pretty ‘susegaad’.) The sun continued to play a game of hide and seek with us through rain soaked clouds making the Goa Marriott Resort and Spa lobby the perfect place to watch this weather charade. The lobby of the hotel looks out onto a spectacular, panoramic view of Panjim beach and makes for a beautiful sight.
5 pm – Much Needed Spa Sesh at Quan Spa
The minute I walk into any spa, I start feeling relaxed already. There’s something about that dim lighting, aroma of oil wafting around, and soothing music that makes me unwind even before the massage has begun. Quan Spa at Goa Marriott Resort has all the above characteristics that a good spa should have, including experienced and insightful therapists.
My Aroma Fusion therapy was a relaxing Swedish oil massage that lasted an hour. It was during this hour that my therapist worked on unraveling every knot in my body, and kneading my back until it felt like putty. The massage was still soothing enough, such that I emerged from my spa room after an hour and felt like I was floating on a cloud. #ZenModeOn
9 pm – A Goan Thali Fit for a King
After a rib tickling comedy session with stand up doyen Atul Khatri at the property, we proceeded for dinner at the Waterfront Terrace and Bar. By now lunch was long foregone and we were ready to indulge in a traditional Goan thali meal. The best part about our dining experience? The fact that the meal was created by a local home chef who showcased a few dishes belonging to the Saraswat Hindu community of Goa along with Anglo Indian dishes that the region is famous for. It is heartwarming to see hotels employ home chefs to try and bring regional cuisine to the forefront.
Our thali was a treat and contained Goan favourites like Chicken Xacuti (a robust, traditional chicken gravy), Mutton Sukkhe (a spicy, dry mutton dish), a rava coated king fish fry, and a prawn curry laced with coconut. It was also interesting to find lesser known dishes like the Kismur (dried prawn and coconut with spices) and a Bhindi sabzi made local with the addition of coconut. Apart from my favourite Goan desserts of Bebinca and Dodol, what impressed me was the Serradura. An interesting dessert pudding made by layering whipped cream, cashews and crushed biscuits – this one’s not for the faint hearted. #FoodComa.
Goa Marriott Resort and Spa, Post Box No. 64, Miramar Panaji, Goa.
Click here for more details.
The Goa Marriott Resort and Spa is roughly 16 years old and was the first Marriott hotel to launch in India, whereas the W Goa is just over six months old. However, both hotels offered us top class experiences and gourmet meals each very distinct, showcasing what they’re known best for.