Family Friendly Fun and Fabulous Food at Novotel Goa Resort and Spa

Exterior of Novotel Resort and Spa Goa

Goa, the former Portuguese enclave on the central west coast of India, is a popular tourist destination for Europeans and Indians alike, famous for its endless beaches and fusion cuisine. Northern Goa is the more cosmopolitan area of the state, and one of the first five-star properties to be situated there is Novotel Goa Resort and Spa

The resort’s precise location is on a lane just off the main road of the town of Candolim, one of the major population centers of northern Goa. It is sandwiched in between the town, with its many stores and restaurants, and the countryside; verdant rice paddies dotted with peacefully grazing water buffaloes actually abut the rear of the property’s swimming pool.  

This prime location is convenient to both shopping and night life, while still boasting pastoral scenery. On the other hand, it is set back a not insignificant distance from the closest beach – approximately a kilometer away, or the equivalent of about a 15-minute walk (or four-minute drive). Access is facilitated by on-site parking at the hotel, as well as a taxi stand at the entrance.

Bali-inspired zones in a family-oriented property

The grounds of Novotel Goa Resort and Spa are far from sprawling, but the property makes maximal usage of the space. The compact area between the hotel and the pool contains aesthetically pleasing lily ponds and Asian sculptures spouting water, while several quasi-isolated cabanas on the far side of the pool constitute a tranquility zone of sorts.  

Pool at Novotel Resort and Spa Goa

On the whole, however, the property is largely designed for vacationing families with small children. There is a well-equipped outdoor playground, in addition to a large supervised kids club and gym indoors – not to mention that the resort provides balls and flotation devices for use by children and their parents in the swimming pool.

Consequently, the sole swimming pool is often crowded with frolicking children and their parents. If you are an adult interested in swimming laps, for example, you would be well advised to go at mealtimes. Or, for relaxing in the [unheated] water, there is an area called the “vitality pool,” equipped with whirlpool jets, plus an adjacent swim-up bar. Moreover, this is also the only swim-up bar I have ever encountered that offers, in addition to the usual beverages and cocktails, hookahs (nargilas) to smoke.  

A range of accommodations 

Novotel Goa Resort and Spa comprises 121 guest units, consisting of 96 rooms and 25 suites. These categories are further broken down into two classifications each of rooms and suites: 78 Superior and 18 Tranquillity rooms, plus 20 Elegance suites and five Prestige suites.

Needless to say, the accommodations at all levels are furnished with everything that is standard in a luxury establishment: comfortable king-sized beds, user-friendly climate control, large flat screen television with multi-channel and multi-lingual programming, laptop-sized electronic safe for valuables and refreshment area complete with minibar, small refrigerator, electric kettle for preparing coffee and tea and complimentary bottles of mineral water (replenished daily). Free high-speed WiFi extends to all guest units, as well as public areas. 

Bathrooms are clean and spacious, with thirsty towels, hair dryers, make-up mirrors and Fairtrade toiletries. Amenities include everything you might need (even dental kits), and  bathrobes and slippers contribute to the home-away-from-home feeling. 

All units except Superior rooms have balconies, with just enough room for a table and two chairs. Similarly, in keeping with the property’s suitability for families, all units can sleep up to four people (except Superior rooms, which can accommodate three guests). 

Bedroom at Novotel Resort and Spa Goa

The suites at Novotel Goa Resort and Spa really kick it up a notch, with televisions in both the living room and bedroom, plus a kitchenette with microwave oven. Prestige suites in particular are like small apartments, with an electric stovetop in the expanded kitchenette, and a separate toilet cabin in the bathroom, which also boats a particularly inviting shower stall with dual shower heads.

A really pleasant surprise in our Prestige suite was finding an espresso machine, with an assortment of aluminum coffee capsules. This was a perk we had never seen in any other hotel in India – even in some of the fanciest properties in the country. 

Appealing dining options

One of the sublime experiences of a stay at Novotel Goa Resort and Spa is the food, prepared by talented Chef Pradeep Singh. Chef Pradeep presides not only over the lavish buffet meals served three times a day in the Food Exchange, he also oversees special requests – such as for specialties of Goan cuisine. It is worth doing your homework about what locals eat in order to be able to alert the kitchen to prepare something specific, authentic and typical. 

Buffet at Novotel Resort and Spa Goa

The daily meals start with the complimentary breakfast buffet, which features a diversity of Western and Indian dishes – plus a selection of made-to-order main courses, such as eggs and dosas. The same theme runs throughout the day, culminating in dinner, when dishes from other Asian countries are also represented among the international display.  

A more casual change of pace may be enjoyed in the afternoons at the hotel’s Italian restaurant, Forno Tinto, which turns out fresh pizzas piping hot from the oven. Nor are alcoholic beverages limited to the bar in the pool: even if the cocktails may be mixed there, they can be consumed and enjoyed throughout the premises. 

The Goa home of an exclusive international spa brand

Novotel Goa Resort and Spa can justifiably claim to be a proud home of the famed international grooming brand Warren-Tricomi Salon and Spa, a distinction shared by only a select few hotels in all of India – and none other within hundreds of miles from Goa. 

The pampering spa is ensconced in an appealing tropical setting and comprises no fewer than seven single treatment rooms, two couples suites (one dedicated to a ritual hammam bath), a top-tier beauty salon with separate pedicure area, a yoga deck and several relaxation zones. There is a good reason that the term Spa takes pride of place in the name of the resort: we thoroughly enjoyed our Signature Spa massage for two, administered by one male and one female therapist, and I treated myself to a pedicure that was as professional as can be imagined. 

Spa at Novotel Resort and Spa Goa

Naturally, the property also has a fitness room with state-of-the art equipment. The entirety of the resort complex is also remarkably accessible to guests with physical challenges.   

Finally, should the Novotel Goa Resort and Spa be booked on the dates of your desired stay, its umbrella hospitality company, Accor, still has you covered, with no fewer than six properties in Goa, along a spectrum of price ranges. 

Novotel Goa Resort and Spa

Published rates: Prices start at $90 for a room and $132 for a suite, plus taxes (which add an extra 12-18%). Breakfast is included in the overnight rate. Members of the All Accor loyalty program enjoy discounts when booking online. You can also compare rates at an online hotel booking site such as Booking.com or agoda to see if you can get a better deal.

Text and photos by Buzzy Gordon, who was a guest of the resort for purposes of review.

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