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Deccan Odyssey - December 2016



Goa

Next morning we began the long drive to Goa. On the way we saw one of many sunflower farms. We stopped at our driver's family home for lunch with members of his family. Cooked by his wife and mother-in-law it was the best vegetarian meal that we had during our two weeks trip. The spices, herbs and vegetables were from their back garden and their farm nearby. It was delicious and fresh, beautiful home cooking.

We arrived in Goa in the late afternoon and checked in at Bogmali Beach Resort. This is one of very few hotels in Goa that is built directly on the beach with just a few steps down from the swimming pool area onto the sand below. Most of the hotels are now built within walking distance to the beach from the hotel grounds. As this hotel was built many years ago it was possible for it be built by the beach. This is the main attraction of this hotel. The hotel also has a colonial feel to its lobby and public areas, including the long corridor to the restaurant and the bar.

Next day we began our full day hotel inspection in South and North Goa. We started with the Royal Orchid Beach Resort and Spa. This is a medium size modern resort with rooms arranged along both sides of a lush garden and swimming pool. Both upstairs and ground floor rooms have balconies or terraces looking out over the gardens and pool. At the end of the garden a path leads onto the sandy beach. We are using this resort for our Superior hotels category.

Next we came to Alila Diwa. This is the most beautiful hotel we have seen in South Goa. The location of the hotel is quiet and rural, very peaceful and tranquil. The courtyards and water features of the lobby and restaurant areas are like a Japanese temple. The hotel accommodation is built among acres of tropical gardens. The rooms are spacious and elegant. The red wood furnishing especially the high wood ceilings of the upper floor 'loft' room making the atmosphere warm and relaxing. There is also a balcony or terrace to look out to the tropical gardens. The infinity swimming pool looks out into rice fields and countryside beyond. There are palm trees and ponds throughout the landscaped gardens. The spa centre is beautifully designed with water walkways and ponds plus beautiful water plants and flowers. The lovely sandy beach is a few minutes away by hotel buggy. We had a buffet lunch at the hotel main restaurant. The choices of Indian and other Asian foods was excellent, from tandoori meat and seafood, spring rolls to fish and meat curry dishes with rice and breads etc. We are using this hotel in our Deluxe hotels category.

After lunch we drove to North Goa to visit two more hotels. First the Vivanta by Taj Holiday Village. This resort is built among lovely tropical gardens. The lobby has a feel of a colonial style pavilion with beautiful large leather sofas and armchairs, coffee tables and elegant table lamps. All rooms are spacious cottages with balcony or terrace looking out onto the gardens. The large swimming pool surrounded by palm trees is set close by the beach. We also visited their sister hotel nearby, The Vivanta by Taj Fort Aguada. This is a larger hotel with a more modern design. The best feature of this hotel is the magnificent view from the lobby area and the rooms with the swimming pool right below and the sea beyond. The old Fort is at the end of hotel on the left side, jutting out like a pier with a view of the sandy beach on the other side. We are using these two hotels in the Deluxe category.

Next day is our one full day at leisure without hotel inspection, tour, tour guide or driver. This is our one relaxing day before flying back to UK next day. In Bogmalo, apart from the beach there is also the quiet local village side that few visitors stroll around. We began on a small path just behind the Bogmalo Beach Resort and within a few minutes we were into a quiet leafy area of palm trees, ponds, farmland, a church and a few local houses. We only saw a few locals throughout our hour long walk. It was very pleasant and relaxing.

Today's lunch was at a local Beach Club restaurant on the beach. The restaurant was simple, like a beach hut, but the fried squid with garlic was one of the best and most memorable dishes that we had during our two week trip. It was sensational. We also had a Gin and Tonic at a local beach bar. At about 70p for a double measure the price was sensational too.

There are so many memories I brought back with me from this excellent trip. Apart from thousands of photos, I can not forget the images of all the wonderful temples and ruins in Hampi, Pattadakal and Aihole, the magnificent figure carvings in temples, the unique Badami Caves and lake temple, the huge statue of Gommateshvara all linger on in my memory. The joy and laughter of local children echo in my head making me happy too. They asked my name and wanted their pictures taken with me as a souvenir. I smile every time they come to my thoughts again writing it now.

The final reminder of this trip is the local Indian spices. I have seen many in markets during the trip but the last day at Bogmalo Beach Resort was an exception. There was a local man who had set up a stall selling his own spices in the hotel gardens. He made all the spices at home with his mother and his family. They looked fresh and colourful. I brought several large bags of different spices. Last week I used the fish masala spices to cook a fish curry and the spices taste better than any I can buy in UK supermarkets. When the spices run out I will make my next trip to India.



Local Goa Scenes
Local Goa Scenes
    Beach Bar
Beach Bar





Sunflowere
Sunflowers
Lunch.
Lunch!
At home with the family
At home with the family.
Royal Orchid Beach Resort, Goa
Royal Orchid Beach Resort
Alila Diwa
Alila Diwa
Alila Diwa
Alila Diwa
Vivanta by Taj Holiday Village.
Vivanta by Taj Holiday Village