Oh hello Goa!
This was my first trip to every youngster’s ever thought of a holiday destination in India. Bachelorette- let’s go to Goa, Wedding- let’s plan in Goa, long weekend- let’s go to Goa. So the place had to be nice to live up to the hype.
If you have read any of my blogs, you would know how much I hate to sit and wait for the destination and I literally hope that we come to a time when we can walk to all places we want to and reach within 2 hours, but I guess for now we have to rely on airplanes, trains, and cars.
So I am not a very crowd friendly person so booked The Lalit Golf and Spa resort, thinking it would be a little aloof, but to my surprise this was two and a half hours away from Baga Beach, and can easily be termed as a parallel city in the state of Goa, not just south Goa.
But there’s always a bright side. I took a flight from Chandigarh to Mumbai and then Mumbai to Goa via Air India – Economy. I love free flight food even though I may not eat because it takes the pressure away from you to decide whether you are hungry or not, and if you are what would you like from those prepackaged meals. But there’s nothing as good as the home cooked meals, so I ensured I had a nice roasted paratha packed for the journey.
Air India served nice butter chicken with lemon rice along with tamarind toffee along with tea, all of which made me happy! There was a rush to take another flight that was about 30mins spaced out from our arrival so we quickly boarded the second. The food was less than average there, white bread mayo sandwiches and a packet of packaged juice, all of which I don’t like at all!
Finally we reached Goa! The city where apparently all the fun of this country resides. Thankfully the Lalit guys were there at time to pick us up. But, the distance from airport to the hotel was another 2 hours. So in effect we left Chandigarh at 10 for the airport and reached Goa hotel at 8.15PM.
But this was just my rant, in my super tired brain I was still able to see the beautiful roads that led us to South Goa. They were surrounded by lush green trees, and the lack of lights but the presence of reflectors made the roads even more soothing to the eyes!
At the hotel, the staff was super awesome! They greeted everyone with a shell necklace and a kokum drink- local non alcoholic fruit beverage of Goa. It was super refreshing after a full day of journey.
Now coming to Lalit, I literally have nothing for its cons apart from the fact that it is too far away from Panjim. Let me clear the cons first and then get to the zillion pros. The lack of access from the centre means that everything was a little expensive outside including car rentals and food. A driver typically charges about Rs. 6000 for a full day’s trip (8hours) to the North Goa. If one gets a vehicle from the hotel, the services would cost somewhere close to Rs. 11000. Essentially, if you stay at the hotel where we stayed, it’s not advisable to keep driving here and there when the hotel is just the perfect place to stay.
If I really have to dig the one thing that I could point out about the negative of the hotel per se is its repetitive buffet menu. The food was excellent, just that one gets bored of the same menu in 6 days!
Coming to the Pros, this is one of the most comfortable luxury hotel I have stayed at. I am not a super fancy person, and like my things simple but classy. This hotel was just that. Spread over 85 acres of land, this is biggest hotel of Goa.
It has its own private beach which is better than all other south Goa beaches.
On that beach early in the morning while I was out for my daily 5K run, I saw women do Yoga, men and women taking a walk and fishermen doing their chores. The hotel has it’s own water sports, which could be a bit on the higher end but would anyway cost you less if you don’t spend exorbitantly on the cab.
The people were so friendly that I felt that I was going to miss my Lalit family when I go back home. From serving us insane number of teas, coffees and green teas after dinner, to coming to our table just to help us out with the local knowledge those guys were amazing!
Another huge plus point is the body massage ladies next to the beach who give an excellent exfoliating deep tissue massage for about 500 bucks (negotiable!). That’s me after a body massage!
Lalit also houses it’s own helipad, a temple and a wonderful shack – Cortas.
If you still aren’t convinced spending 18K per room per night on this hotel, let me tell you that if you are going to get some “me” time then you’d find waves to turn to for answers at midnight and insects to whisper to if you wish to speak to someone.
What all I covered:
1. Palolem Beach – This Beach is perhaps the Baga of North Goa. You’ll find plenty of good restaurants to eat at. Also, I took a boat ride that takes you to see dolphins, honeymoon beach and butterfly beach. Those beaches are amazing, but I truly felt that our hotel beach was no less.
2. Agonda Beach – This Beach is perhaps the most quiet beach that I saw. Although there were tourists, but only on this beach was everyone more concerned about relaxing than running in the beach.
3. Mallikarjuna Temple- okay, I am a digger for old temples. I am a digger for vibes. And I loved the vibes of this place.
4. Baga Beach – So on a very serious note, this is how Haridwar without flowers and sentiments would look like. There was close to no staring in South Goa but North Goa, let’s just say I was creeped out.
5. Water Sports @ Calangute. If it was not for water sports I would have stayed at South Goa, but parasailing is exclusive to these beaches. And all the pain was worth the fun!
6. Food at Sam’s Shack. I had ordered shark and king fish, but personally I didn’t like it. In case you have to decide to go, try St. Anthony’s shack.
7. Tito’s. I wanted to cover this but it was closed until 6PM, so couldn’t really say, but in case you are around Baga/Calangute, do visit this and/or Club Cabbana(opens at 9PM).
8. Chapora Fort: Okay so if you are not fond of beautiful views, you won’t really enjoy this because this is just a picture spot. In case you do, you’d understand why treasures are hidden in rubble, and also appreciate why Dil Chahta Hai was shot at this wonderful location. You can literally see beaches and mountains together, which is a relatively rare sight.
9. Thalassa: This place is famous for its sunset dances, and Greek ambience. The food is average but it’s beautiful placement adjacent to vagator beach makes it a must go place if you are a digger of views!
10. Arpora Market: This is ONLY a Saturday night market near Calangute. You’d find all types of spices, handicrafts, accessories food and other stuff here. If you are a collector of art and handicrafts, then you must see this place. Else you could skip it.
P. S. Cameras are not allowed here so don’t plan on taking pictures while you are there. Mobiles are permitted though.
11. Zantyes Cashews: Well, we did a research and found out that the reason why they are touted as the best is that they are the best. The rest we tried had smaller broken stale pieces tightly packed in the packet, while on the outside the quality looks comparable to Zantyes.
Overall it was a fun trip, and like I always wish, I had more time with the place.
Coming up next is Churdhar Trek, let’s hope it is awesome.
For any questions and feedback, your comments below are welcome!