Words by Pallavi Pasricha
When I think of a luxury hotel in Goa, I usually associate it with the sea where I am happily nursing a drink at sunset, but I was pleasantly surprised that when I checked into The Westin Goa, I didn’t miss the sea or even think about it. Lying against the backdrop of an idyllic, lush landscape, there was enough greenery to make up for it. Located in Anjuna in North Goa, this sprawling hotel with three restaurants and a spa gives the vibe of a resort and is unlike any other Westin hotel in the country.
I walked into the spacious open lobby that gave me a tropical vibe of a beach destination rather than a typical city hotel. There’s no air-conditioning and the outdoor blends beautifully with the interiors – the high ceiling, chandeliers, fans on the side, open view of the bar with a water body in front, multiple colourful seating areas with pretty coffee tables and tall plants all around. Add to that the welcome drink of a chilled beer and I was instantly transported into a holiday mood with the upbeat music, which is a far cry from the mellow tunes usually played in the lobbies.
The hotel is home to 171 rooms including nine family suites and one presidential suite. There are ten pool patio rooms that have direct access to the pool – where one can jump straight into the water – and hence they are highly in demand. The deluxe room I checked into had a twin bed, a tub in the bathroom and a separate shower cubical with an outdoor seating that had four chairs.
Done up in soft beige colours with light wooden interiors, the décor is contemporary, and the room has a high ceiling. All modern amenities such as a 55-inch smart TV, a writing table, tea and coffee maker and a large space to keep the luggage of course come in handy.
The signature Heavenly Bed with the super comfortable mattress and five down feather pillows is one of the most luxurious hotel beds I have ever slept in. The suites have a separate living area and floor to ceiling windows overlooking the lush green hills or forest.
Food and drink
There are four food and beverage options here meaning that the choice is plenty. For sundowners, I headed to the sunset deck of the pool bar – Drift – where I spent my time chatting with the general manager, Sunil Kumar, who told me about the challenges of opening a hotel in the middle of the pandemic and how this Westin property is different from the group’s other city hotels. I sipped a delicious gin cocktail and overlooked the hills, from where I see a moonrise. Did I miss the sunset by the sea? Not a bit.
The Westin Goa takes its food rather seriously. The Market, which is their all-day multicuisine restaurant, has both buffet and à la carte options for meals. It’s a spacious 130-seater restaurant with live kitchens and an open design. I met the executive chef Ravish Mishra – who advised me to go for a Goan thali (platter) and I do that since I love seafood. It comes with a mindboggling array of delicious preparations, with many local dishes.
I happened to be there for Easter which was being celebrated with an elaborate brunch and live singing, but each Sunday they have a brunch, which is quite popular. Thyme and Ash is their European fine-dining restaurant that is only open for dinner. I had a meal there and was spoilt for choice – a bread basket with five kinds of butter, seafood soup, ravioli, pizza and more.
The cocktails here get special attention, in fact, they experiment a lot, and this results in an interesting range of concoctions to choose from. The 30-day aged Negroni, Clay Pot 10-day aged Manhattan is not your usual but matured over a few days. They also have a deli at the lobby Anjuna Coffee and Co. for small bites and coffee.
The Heavenly Spa can be found at all Westin hotels. Choose from their signature massage or go for the usual treatments like Swedish, aromatherapy, Balinese and more. I stuck to the Swedish massage and felt truly pampered for an hour. There are five therapy rooms that come with a shower area and steam room.
Those who are familiar with the brand will know that the Westin group of hotels takes wellness rather seriously so apart from the spa – they have a 24-hour fitness studio. The hotel also has a ‘Move Well’ programme where a run concierge will chalk out a running map that you can follow in the surrounding areas. This sounded fun, but I was too lazy to go. There’s a massive outdoor swimming pool and a separate one for children as well, and should you wish to go to the beach, it is just two kilometres away.
In a nutshell
The Westin Goa is one of those hotels that makes you feel at home instantly. I particularly enjoyed interacting with all the staff members who made sure that my stay was memorable. If you don’t want to lounge by the beach all day long (hard to do in Goa’s weather), this hotel checks off all the boxes.
Address: Survey No 204/1 Sub Division 1, Dmello Waddo, Anjuna Bardez, Goa
Phone: +91 832 2271300