Last time around, we had stayed at Holiday Inn, Goa, and had enjoyed that experience. This time, we went for Dona Sylvia. Our travel agents at Travelplaza got us a fantastic deal and some great hospitality along with it :). We did train journeys to and from Goa this time. We arrived early morning at 6ish ,and the Resort guys checked us in though our check-in time was much later. They allowed us to retain the room till later after our check-out time on the day we were leaving. So, a definite thumbs up for them.
Dona Sylvia Resort is large, beautifully landscaped, and well maintained with lavish spreads for all meals. The private beach is beautiful and clean, and the Pool was large and a lot of fun :). The weather was pleasant, so we enjoyed our time outdoors. For our first lunch, we found the extensive food spread to be bland and largely European. Even the Indian dishes were very mild to suit the palates of almost 90% of the occupants who were foreigners. Disappointed, we decided to have a chat with the Chef. He was a gracious man who promised to have more Indian dishes on the spread, spice up anything we wanted, and actually customized and made some fabulous seafood off the menu for us and sent it to our table for all the meals that we had there. So, our eating experience shot up many notches after this :). But, I was disappointed not to see crab curry or fish curry on the buffet menu even a single time though I would assume them to be Goan specialties whereas beef figured every single time, which most of us steered clear of.
The positives were the cheerful spirit of the staff; anything we complained about or wanted was immediately attended to, which was great hospitality on their part and translated into a pleasant experience for us. My only advice to a guest would be to speak up if something is not fine or to your liking. That generally ensures that your grievance will be attended to. Most people crib but don’t so much as let the staff know about what is bothering them. If you want better service, ask for it :).
The negatives were that the showering space in the bathroom was not adequately separated from the rest of the space and often caused the entire bathroom to flood and difficult to use. There was also a stink from an STP (Sewage Treatment Plant), which persisted for many hours during the day that was definitely putting off. We do appreciate the water conservation measure, but it has to be implemented in a better way. They did not have Sports Channels in the rooms, which was a turn off due to the World Cup time. But, they had put up a big screen in a large Entertainment Room to accommodate cricket-crazy fans. And God Bless DD, which was telecasting the matches live :).
The high points of the trip for us was the lovely sea, time spent frolicking in the pool, the great food, good company in the form of a friend’s family and during the train journeys, cruises on the Mandovi river and the Sal river (though we could not spot the dolphins — the sea being very rough). I particularly enjoyed how the calm waters of Sal river emptied into the Arabian Sea. The contrast of rough waves with sandy beach and calm water with coconut trees was breathtaking. This was a great place to soak in nature and laze around. Goa is beautiful, and the place beckons again and again. The kids had a fun time too. Gautam had company in Ishank, a friend’s son, and so he had a great time too. And, we did feel recharged after spending 4 days of bliss in Goa.
Go Goa :)! I leave with some of our pics…
On the beach in the evening after a day spent on the beach and the pool.
See the pineapple plant in the background. Amazing!
The kids are enjoying making sand castles. We see Gautam, Siddharth and Ishank here.
Foreigners getting tans and massages 🙂 on the beach