When things get crazy or there is so much going on you’re not sure what sense to make of it, it’s best to stop, take a break, sit back and relax a bit. A getaway is essential at times like these and one of the best spots for a weekend getaway ( if not longer ) is the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Goa. It’s not enough that the hotel is gorgeous but if you’re smart and decide to visit during the monsoon, the hotel and weather team up and make sure it’s a trip you’ll either never forget, or will have you constantly coming back for more.
The hotel is heavily influenced by Portuguese architecture and makes you feel as if you’ve entered into some lord’s hacienda. It’s a massive property and the beauty is that even when the hotel is full of guests it still doesn’t feel crowded or claustrophobic. It took me two days to completely familiarize myself with the property and each time I walked around I discovered something new. The best part of the hotel is that even though it isn’t located on the beach, the Bambolim bay is right across and the view is as good as any beach in the state. From your room the view is even prettier with pristine manicured lawns and the ocean crashing about.
There are over 200 rooms and come full equipped with everything a traveler might possibly need – and then some. With a lovely swimming pool, delectable dining options, grand banquet halls and even a really fun camp area for children to spend hours playing, my favourite part of the hotel is the ruins of a 16th century Portuguese Church. It is part of the hotel property and looks absolutely beautiful.
Apart from spending a lot of time walking up and down and soaking in everything the hotel had to offer, these were my top picks – Things I enjoyed doing the most
Soak up the view on your balcony – Every room at this hotel has a lovely view but if you’re lucky or request for one of the rooms on the second floor, you’ll have access to a stunning view of the waves crashing in the bay next door as well as the perfectly manicured lawns and palm trees swaying in the wind. I spent a fair enough of time just relaxing on my balcony, either reading a book and enjoying the monsoon lashing down or then even an early morning breakfast ordered up to my room but enjoyed on the balcony. It turned out to be such a relaxing part of my trip and I hadn’t imaged I would really bother with the balcony.
Spend a day at the spa – The Shamana Spa is the house of rest and relaxation. I’m a sucker for a good massage and after lugging bags which weigh more than me (I’m a terrible packer) and the stress of the month all collected inside, a spa session was much needed.
Pool lounging – There is nothing more relaxing than lounging by the pool and soaking up the sun. I mean I’m in Goa if I don’t laze and fart around a bit what’s the point of the vacation really? This pool is made for lounging. It’s got a lovely view of the bay ahead and enough sun to give you that golden hue not to mention a barkeep that churns out perfect little cocktails. Sadly I decided to visit in the midst of a manic monsoon season so couldn’t really lounge. But don’t be glum ! I got enough a great swim in their fabulous indoor pool. It might not have the palm trees and sun beating down on me but a pool’s a pool and Sun and trees are replaced by Jacuzzis and saunas – Bliss 🙂
Plan a trip out – While enjoying the hotel and lounging around is bliss, there is also a lot to see in Goa. The thing that most people don’t realize is that even if you don’t know what to do, all you need to do is pick up the phone and ask the hotel concierge to help you. I find it so silly when people don’t get out and explore because they don’t know what to do. I had two days here and I decided to make the most of it. Spent an amazingly fun night at Sofala an adorable boutique hotel that hosts a crazy band night every Thursday where everyone’s signing along with the band, dancing drinking and basically having a great time. If you’re in Goa my friend, it would be exceedingly stupid to escape the music, fun and merriment that Goa does so well.
It would be criminal for me to come back home without any Bebinca or Goan Sausage so I spent a day at the market which was incredibly fun and came back home with much more than I bargained for.
Cooking class at Chulha – The one thing this hotel does exceptionally well is their food and the variety it offers. They’ve got 7 if I’m not mistaken, eateries and each one different from the other. The most popular one is their Indian restaurant called Chulha and if head chef Shane O’neill is to be believed – it’s where all the magic happens. The chefs at Chulha were kind enough to give me a one on one super special cooking masterclass where I learnt how to make an authentic Goan prawn curry, something I’ve been struggling with for a while and a typical Portuguse dish called Rissiois. If you’re like me and enjoy pottering about the kitchen and discovering new flavours then you want to learn from the geniuses behind this restaurant. It goes without saying that I’m trying out these recipes which I’ll blog about in my next post.
Meal at The Verandah – Though Chulha is the most popular restaurant I think Verandah is the hotels piece de resistance! I fell in love and would happily come back for more. The food is predominantly seafood based and with the fresh catch on display on an ice bath you can tell these guys mean business. If the fish don’t catch your fancy and you’re more of a meat man then don’t fret, I ate some soul satisfying steak and would recommend a meal here. ( shall share all my food experiences in the next blogpost )