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Off-season Goa




Beach and landscaped garden at Leela Goa

left to right - the famous St. Francis church in Old Goa and me at Baga beach

Despite being to Goa so many times, this was my first visit to St. Francis church in old Goa and what a beautiful place it was to capture some pictures.

Worn the same outfit here, shoes Charles and Keith, bag own design

August is technically the off-peak season in Goa, that means less action and more rejuvenation. Since travelling from one part of Goa to the other can be daunting, we booked two hotels on a 4-nights vacation dividing time equally between the happening-North and the unwinding-South Goa.

Review of Hilton Goa
New things always get me excited, so when I heard about the new cookie in town - Hilton Goa that opened on 15 August 2012 - I immediately picked Hilton for my stay in North Goa and oh my....... was so hugely disappointed. A good hotel is key to a satisfying holiday and Hilton did not feel anything like a 5-star luxury hotel. Within a few minutes in the hotel, I realised what a big mistake it was to book Hilton Goa. The marketing campaign and reviews of the new hotel boasts about how they give fresh baked cookies from their bakery on arrival, which unfortunately were non-vegetarian (and they didn't offer any veg alternative). The rooms were very basic and the bathroom, which for me is the key decider between a good hotel and a bad one, was so small it ended before it even started. In a so-called five star, they used cheap bathroom fittings (Cera and Jaquar.. who uses that?), had a stinky kettle and a tiny flatscreen TV (21inches I am guessing) and no tissues in the room on arrival. 

I shared my disappointment about the quality of bathroom, uncleanliness and overall hotel with the frontdesk (had to get it out of my system) and figured if a refund was possible so I can move to another property. Unfortunately, that wasn't possible without a half-day charge, since I had already checked-in. However, they did give us a complimentary chocolate dessert and a Rs 1,000 discount on the room fare to make up for it (not satisfactory but they made an effort, which was comforting). 

So much for the name Hilton. The only good thing about the Hotel was their breakfast, which had good selection for vegetarians and health freaks with loads of fruits, juices and some other healthy bites.

 
Left to right - Breakfast at Hilton and Complimentary chocolate dessert

Review of Leela Goa

Hotel Leela in Goa is the finest - over-the-top luxury and sophistication, best-in-class service and magnificent property. From arrival to exit the hotel was a delight and more than made up for the disappointing Hilton experience. The moment you arrive you're greeted with warmth and escorted to the seating area near the reception where someone comes and helps with the check-in formalities (that means no waiting at reception area). The moment you are seated they bring fresh coconut water and hot towels for freshening with a flashing smile (which is more imp than the coconut water).

Rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated, the hotel spread on 75-acre of landscaped gardens, 10 hold golf course and lagoons with great interiors that evokes an ancient temple touched with a palace architecture is pure luxury with perfect juxtaposition of Indian and Goan heritage.


Left to right - The entrance at Leela and the Indian art trunk inside

Spent time lazing around the pool, walking through the lush green lawns and the clean-pristine beach, and watching TV. Complete unwind and relax.

Personally its the small and thoughtful touches that can turn my view from normal to wow and Hotel Leela is the king of thoughtfulness. We had an early morning flight from Goa (before 7am) and since the breakfast did not start yet and we were also running late, the staff insisted and packed us some food from their breakfast menu so we don't stay hungry in the morning. Who does that, right (I can't think of anyone other than my mom)? It was touching and perfect example of true Indian welcome and 'mehman-nawazi'. Undoubtedly Indians are the best when it comes to service, and Leela and Taj are best at it. Leela's small thoughtful gestures throughout the stay completely wowed me. I've stayed in some of the best hotels in the world but when it comes to best service, Leela and Taj have been unmatchable so far (except Burj Al Arab at Dubai they were true to the class).

If you are visiting Goa and need a luxury hotel stay, Leela is the place to be (I've liked it better than Taj Exotica and Park Hyatt).

.......................................

Goa's street shopping did not really entice me in the off-peak season, but I did try to check out some Goan designer stores - and visited the famous Casa Goa near Baga. Unfortunately, Casa stopped retailing apparels and they only sell quirky and luxe home accessories since past few months. Few pieces were interesting, but they don't allow clicking pictures so next time you're in Goa, you'll have to check them out for yourself.



Next stop was the Malini Ramini store I spotted in the way, which looked interesting from its pristine white exteriors. As it turned out, it was also a home store with paintings, lamps, furniture and home decor pieces mainly from Thailand. Interesting.

The clubs and pubs lacked action during August, but nevertheless a weekend getaway to Goa even in off-peak is worth the travel. You can explore the city without the crowd, unwind and relax!!!

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43 comments:

  1. Goa! I really want to visit.. thanks for the review will definitely hae to visit it one day!

    I want your bag.. cute!

    xoxo
    http://www.fasheauty.com
    UK High Street Fashion & Style Blog

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lucky you ! Nice bag !
    Followed you, hope youfollow back ! (xx
    Http://ilovemonsta.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gorgeous photos, loved those. I am doing great doll...hope you are too :) xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. S J,

    Honest reviews and beautiful photographs.

    Take care

    ReplyDelete
  5. Amazing! Id love to visit Goa…

    Alexeia
    www.luckynumberblack.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Amazing! Id love to visit Goa…

    Alexeia
    www.luckynumberblack.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Goa never fails to rejuvenate...does it? :)

    Love your bag!

    ReplyDelete
  8. So pretty pictures! Love them
    Kisses
    Aga

    Check my new post
    www.agasuitcase.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a great blog you have SJ :-)
    Thanks for your follow, I'm following back.
    Love,
    http://www.amadeusonthecatwalk.com/

    ReplyDelete
  10. i've always wanted to visit goa, one day!

    http://www.counttofour.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. amazing photographs

    http://healthybeamy.blogspot.in/

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm definitely going to agree with you that not all hiltons are created equal. I've been to some 5 star and some...not so much. It still looks like you had fun at goa.

    ReplyDelete
  13. love GOA in all seasons...its my fav place to visit in india

    thanks for dropping by my blog n follow im following u too
    Pooja K
    www.chicaccessorizer.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Nice pictures and look like you had a great trip to Goa =)
    Thanks for sharing the lovely trip with us..

    http://diva-in-me.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Goa is lovely off season indeed. I went in September a few years ago and loved the lush greenery everywhere. I'm not surprised about your bad experience with Hilton cas I was shocked when I first went to Hilton Bombay as its pretty tacky. Leela obviously is amazing but I like to hippie it out when I go to goa :)
    xx
    www.junewantsitall.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for this review. I have been to Goa 4 years back but we stayed in a place called Hotel Bougainvillea, which is more of a cottage and less of a hotel, near Anjuna beach. It was a splendid experience, with birds flying all over in the garden and sumptuous food, and Portuguese decor all over the place !

    ReplyDelete
  17. aaah, GOA!! thats on my list wen i visit home!good reviews lady! didnt expect Hilton to stoop at such low levels, disgusting! coz after paying exorbitant amt of money u dnt expect this service.
    wow i was touched by the Leela staff packing brkfast for u, i knw, nobody other than ur mom wud do that :P def my pick nw
    i hav stayed in Sheraton on my last trip in another city (Jaipur) n they had impeccable service n food spread too! bt gonna choose my hotels wisely nw..
    btw, loved ur envelope clutch :)
    ~ashy
    http://thezingofmylife.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Beautiful pics!!! I love them very much!!! xxx

    ReplyDelete
  19. You've a very interesting blog! :) How'd you like to follow each other?

    LOve,Nyt
    BIG hair LOUD mouth

    ReplyDelete
  20. Lovely photos, looks like you had great time! I never been there but maybe one day :-)

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  21. Couldn't help saying -- 'nice shots' :)

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  22. Love your outfit! I'm hoping to visit India this december/january which is exciting! Seems I won't be staying in the hilton after that review though!!
    Thanks for your lovely comment and message on IFB :) keep in touch!!
    http://sarablahblah.blogspot.com xXx

    ReplyDelete
  23. Go goa :) Loved all the pictures ! Your outfit is so nice :)
    Love,

    Bong's Belleza

    ReplyDelete
  24. amazing pics, this post is very picturesque, I really liked it :D

    Love,

    Bellezza da Vendere
    http://belladavendere.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wow, great pics of Goa! Sure, lets stay in touch, I'm following you here and via instagram! :)
    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a lively comment! :)
    Greetings from Germany XO,
    Teal

    http://seaofteal.blogspot.de

    ReplyDelete
  26. I follow you on bloglovin.
    www.ubetterwork.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. love the photos! would you like to follow each other in gfc? let me know! http://xxxloveisbeautyxxx.blogspot.ie/

    ReplyDelete
  28. I totally adore your outfits!
    Would you maybe like to follow eachother?
    Love, Anne

    www.movieanne.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. Goa is amazing off season or on season. The outfits are great. Love it.

    ReplyDelete
  30. goa looks amazing. n loving ure outfit. love the pop of green and u hve beautiful hair. superb post. Next time am in goa, so staying in leela.

    ReplyDelete
  31. besides ur outfit,really love the pictures.. The best month to travel are actually post August ! loved the weather too !And agree leela is the best place to stay in. We even explored the fisherman's wharf.Its awesome and best to have dinner !hey just connected u on instagram too !
    ✿thefashionflite
    ✿twitter
    ✿Bloglovin

    ReplyDelete
  32. Love the picture of you on Baga Beach!
    And yes, avoiding crowds makes off season worth it!

    Thanks so much for your lovely comment, it really encouraged me and put a smile on my face!:)

    Love,
    Shubhi's Revels!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love the pictures girl! The envelope sling is really pretty, and the picture of you at the beach is ultra hot. :)

    I've been wanting to go to Goa for a while now.

    <3
    Sonshu
    www.thesonshu.com
    New post is up! :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. I've never been to Goa. But I've heard all about it<3 Will go there one day (:

    Thank you for visiting my blog, you have stylish blog. And I'm much happier to know that you watch KDramas and KPop. A lot of Indians don't know how amazing South Korea is!!! I wish to change that situation...I want the Korean Wave to spread all over India...if it's not too much to ask for! :D

    Take care!

    xoxo' Dipika

    www.dipikasyngai.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  35. I've been wanting to visit Goa for a while now! The pictures are so beautiful, loved your outfit at the beach :)

    Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog :). Do visit again!

    Love,
    Deepika
    http://musicphotographyfashion.blogspot.in/
    New Post is up :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Wooow this is scuh a great experience!
    Never been o GOA but it's on my pin list now!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Love all your pictures, it has been a long long while since I've had naryal pani!

    ReplyDelete
  38. hi, i found your blog through lookbook. u have a cute style!

    xo, Carla
    misscarlaviolet.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  39. Never been to Goa yet! Love your wedges!
    That chocolate dessert, oh myyyyy, looks so delicious!
    FASHION PANACHE BLOG

    ReplyDelete
  40. These pictures are lovely, everything looks amazing; I so want to go on a vacation after seeing these pictures, I bet you had a great time and you look so beautiful. Your have a lovely blog by the way and I am a new follower! Hope you will like my blog and follow back!

    Also make sure and enter my Shopbop giveaway for a chance to win a 100$ giftcard to spend on designer goods!

    Pop Culture&Fashion Magic

    ReplyDelete

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