A couple of months back, I found myself on the plane to have a working weekend in Goa, and the destination turned out to be the Vivanta by Taj Holiday Village, which is one of the three Taj Hotel properties in Goa, and perhaps one of the best ones out there.

My flight into Goa was a little late, which meant I was going to be using the shuttle service from the hotel rather than car that we had on disposal. The hotel is a good one hour ride away from Goa’s airport, in the north end of Goa, so I was looking forward to getting moving quickly and join the rest of my colleagues who were already at the resort.

Surprise Surprise, it looked like the mandate to the hotel shuttle was to fill up every possible seat on that bus, so me and the other passengers were waiting and then some more to get moving, which we did after 30-45 minutes of wait.

Once I boarded the shuttle, I was presented with a wet towel and some water, which was going to help while I whiled away time.

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After our long ride, I arrived at the hotel, where bags were put through the scanner and I was brought to the reception. The hotel, much like my favourite in Goa, the Park Hyatt, only has villas. At the reception we were greeted with some Goan Portugese music and shell bead garlands, and there was refreshing Kokam Juice to offer as well.

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I was escorted to my cottage shortly by the staff, through a whole maze of small pathways that I struggled to remember the days I was there. The hotel consists of about 140 plus villas and cottages, all styled in the Goan Portugese architectural style, and colorful to say the least.

My cottage was a Supreme Charm Cottage with Sit Out, which was the base category room around here. The ground floor cottages get a sit-out while the first floor cottages get a balcony instead. It struck me as a very impressive room with a major design flaw. There were no windows, so your doors were the only view outside, which on a ground floor meant you’d have to keep the curtains open to be able to get external light, which would mean a compromise of privacy. Also, this meant every time I went out of the room, there was a possibility to let in some insects or mosquitoes. After all, this is a hotel next to the sea with a big garden right outside my room, what else to expect?

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The room was as per my request, with a King bed, and there were ample number of water bottles to keep me hydrated across the board. The one thing that most people won’t notice is that there is a surround sound speaker system installed in each room, and there is a DVD player as well, for which they’d gladly lend you movies. Internet was not complimentary, and this was one of the rare times I paid for internet at a hotel.

Here are some pictures of the room.

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The bathroom was magnanimous, in line with the size of the room, and was stocked with Forest Essentials amenities, which is the brand standard for the Taj.

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The hotel is on the Candolim beach, and right next to another famous Vivanta by Taj property called the Fort Aguada which is more traditional in the sense that there is a high rise building in the Aguada. The views in the evening could be pretty stunning from here.

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The evening went by pretty quickly with work and play, and dinner was outside the resort. When I got back in the evening, there was a fruit platter waiting for me as the welcome amenity.

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Next morning, I landed up for breakfast at the Hotel CoffeeShop, which had Indian and Western breakfast items on offer as a part of the buffet, with a few live stations to make omelettes as well as pancakes and dosas. There were also the usual bakery items rolling by at a brisk pace.

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There was also a nice pool, somewhere I had no opportunity to use because of a tight schedule. However, I did walk around the hotel and there was a lot of greenery around which was very interesting and with some great views.

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The great part about staying in a Taj resort of course, is the hospitality that comes along. The staff, each one of them, were helpful and aware of what the guests require and tried to help. Like an electrician who walked with me half way to my destination inside the resort when I forgot my way.

It was only a one night stay here, but for sure would love to come back to this one and spend some more time here. Maybe a week in Goa sounds fun.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | No Comments

I’m sure a lot of my readership travels and stays around India in the Taj Hotels. Taj Hotels run their own loyalty program for their hotel chains across the world (brands include Taj, Vivanta & Gateway). They offer 100 bonus TIC (Taj Inner Circle) points per continuous stay, if you book it via the websites of the Taj Hotels (www.tajhotels.com, www.vivantabytak.com or www.thegatewayhotels.com).

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Since Taj redemption stays start only 350 TIC points, a 100 TIC points seem to be very valuable, and if you redeem them for Taj Gift Certificates, they are worth INR 500 (or $8 approximately).

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The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai is offering two special discounts to Inner Circle Members for drinks and dining:

  • At the Starboard, the bar at the Taj Mahal Palace overlooking the Gateway of India, Inner Circle members are being offered happy hours at 50% off, on presentation of their Taj InnerCircle membership cards between 5 PM to 8 PM, till September 30, 2013.
  • If you’re like Sunday brunches, the hotel is offering 20% off on a Sunday brunch (you can get family & friends along!) between 12:30 PM to 3 PM, till August 18, 2013. Offer available to Gold and Silver card members for a table of up to 12 people. You need to present your membership card at the time of payment.

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Similarly, the other Taj property in the city, the Taj Lands End is also offering a brunch discount at Vista for the Sundays, for Taj Inner Circle elites.

This is one loyalty benefit that isn’t about miles and points, but about good food and drinks! I love Shamiana and Starboard, but haven’t had a great opinion about the food at the Taj Lands End.

Which ones are you hitting up soon?

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