Hotel Review: Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia, Goa in India
Words by Bindu Gopal Rao
Goa – just the name is enough to evoke the sight of endless beaches and a rich cultural and architectural history. While the North of Goa is more bustling, there is a quiet charm to South Goa that is unmissable. And when I had a chance to visit the newly relaunched Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia, I experienced this first hand.
Welcomed at the airport with snacks and cool drinks, the close to one hour drive from the airport to the property hardly felt as long because of the beautiful sights including the verdant greenery, old Portuguese style colourful homes and birdlife. Perhaps this was the best precursor to my stay at Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia. On arriving at the hotel, we were welcomed again with fresh coconut water that was completely refreshing. At first sight I knew this resort was high on design aesthetics, thanks to the beautiful coloured wall murals at the reception that depicted a slice of the Goan life. After all the late Charles Correa had originally conceptualised and designed this resort.
Spread over 20 acres of lush gardens and swaying palm trees, the resort has 181 rooms across five categories – Executive Villa Rooms, Boutique Villa Rooms, Premium Villa Rooms, Executive Villa Suites and Premium Vila Suites.
The rooms have either a garden or a sea view and both make for compelling landscapes in their own right. The Mediterranean styled villas have a distinct Goan Portuguese architecture and the resort itself is located on Cavelossim Beach in South Goa.
All the rooms are designed as separate cottages complete with a small external seating space. Well-furnished and spacious the room had a comfortable bed, a large lounge area with a seating space that could actually double up as a single bed and a work table.
The attached bathroom is large and has been designed well as the wardrobe and luggage rack are on side of the bathroom. With television, coffee maker, wifi, mini bar and more, the room is extremely well appointed.
The room is serviced twice daily and the evening turn down service also includes a few dry fruits next to the bedside table.
In the two nights I stayed here, I had soaked almonds and walnuts with a small note that explained their health benefits. As Varun Albuquerque, Director, Alcon Victor Group explained: “Dona Sylvia Resort has always resonated with old-world charm and new-world luxury, creating an authentic Goan ambience along with its perfect location on Cavelossim Beach. Today through the rebranding of the property, as a Novotel Resort, we look forward to offering an international standard product to our guests”.
A good holiday is all about good food and the resort has an array of outlets to experience a gastronomic journey. Seagull, the all-day diner, serves international cuisine and has a buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This pool facing multi-cuisine restaurant has many interactive live counters so you can actually eat from pan to plate. The ambience is accentuated with chandeliers that dot the high arched ceiling here and the food choice is immense so there is much to choose.
At Mama Mia, the specialty poolside grill and steakhouse you can sample some of the freshest seafood, meats, and greens whole you satiate your taste buds with a selection of the finest cuts that is cooked to perfection.
For authentic Indian fare head to Kebabs And Kurries, that is a fine dining restaurant that is open only for dinner and offers delectable Indian and Mughlai cuisine with succulent kebabs and aromatic tangy curries in authentic flavours. And if you would like to simply relax with a drink, head to Amalia, the lounge that has classic Mario Miranda wall illustrations on the wall and has an al fresco space that is great choice in the evenings. Else simply unwind by the pool side and refresh at the pool bar Tia Mari.
The culinary operations are headed by Sachin Talwar, Executive Chef who ensures that each meal here is spectacular. Vishal Khosla, General Manager, Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort said: “We do focus on local food and we have a separate ‘love you diet’ concept at our coffee shop. In our a la carte menu we have some signature local delicacies as well. We also have a team working on lost recipes of Goa so that we can showcase the same to our guests.”
Considering the mix of guests, Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort has three meeting rooms that can host 20 to 200 guests. The resort also offers two magnificent seaside lawns by the beautiful white sands of Cavelossim Beach, making it a perfect setting for weddings, glamorous events and black-tie affairs.
If you want to relax, head to the Sohum Spa that offers Indian Ayurvedic treatments, aromatherapy sessions and revitalizing western massages. This apart, there is an expansive outdoor pool, kids pool, fitness centre and shopping centre within the resort so you really have no reason to go anywhere else. Children will also love the resort as there are special activities at the clubhouse with a special play area for kids. In fact kids can also enjoy some special finger food here too. The resort is pet friendly as well so you can holiday with your pets here.
If you feel adventurous check out the water sport activities like paragliding, jet skiing, banana boat and ringo among others. However, my recommendation is to head to the sandy Cavelossim beach for an unparalleled experience. The beach here is stunning, you can swim, take a walk or jog or simply watch the magnificent sunset. I went on an early morning walk and was lucky to see the colours of the water morph into a delicious medley of blue and pink. My delight was magnified when I saw a lesser sand plover peck at the sand and prance around the white sands. And what better way to enjoy the break I so needed.
Address: Cavelossim Beach, Salcete, Goa – 403731