Open since 1991 and with a $20 million refurbishment in 2012, the Leela is a luxurious resort set in 75 acres complete with a 12-hole, par 3 golf course, several restaurants and swimming pools, extensive beach and additional facilities for Club visitors (its “hotel within a hotel”).
The size of the resort (you can request buggies to take you around but it isn’t really necessary) means there’s plenty of peace and quiet and the grounds are verdant and well-tended, with numerous gardeners tending the flowers and trees, while next to the tennis courts a nursery of plants is used to restock the flowerbeds around the property.
The design of the main lobby is “a contemporary celebration of the palatial architecture of ancient Vijayanagara empire and Goa’s rich Portuguese heritage” and is visually arresting.
Drawing on inspiration from the Thousand Pillared Hall in the Meenakshi Temple at Madurai, the central columns form a corridor guarded by the fierce stone-carved Yalis with regal elephants at their feet leading to an impressive image of the dancing God Natraj.
WHERE IS IT?
Around 50km south of Goa Airport (about one hour’s drive) on a peninsula of land between the Arabian sea and the Sal river.
The resort is on Mobor Beach, which as it runs north becomes the better known (and busier) Cavelossim beach. Helicopter transfers are also available, judging by the two we saw landing during our stay.
The 206 rooms and suites predominantly look out onto decorative lagoons complete with water lilies and low bubbling fountains, cross crossed by wooden and stone bridges.
There are several room categories including the Conservatory Premiere (580sqft), which as the website describes it is decorated in “a mélange of modernity with pastoral culture of Goa”; Lagoon Terrace (538sqft, but with an additional balcony) which have recently been refurbished; Lagoon Suites (two balconies) and Lagoon Deluxe (1,291sqft).
Within the resort there is also a Club (A hotel withIN a hotel), with dedicated butler service, airport transfers via limousine, outdoor showers and private plunge pools. Decoration is restrained, with dark wood floors, Sony TVs, separate marble bathrooms with bath and shower, but with a blind that can be raised or lowered and Leela branded amenities.
Carved wooden Indian beds and furniture, and Colonial style ceiling fan but with good air conditioning, tea making facilities and a good-sized safe and for those rooms with terraces, Dedon balcony furniture.
Wifi is complimentary for up to three devices, though is quite slow. Higher speed connections are available at various charging levels.
BARS AND RESTAURANTS
There are several bars and restaurants, including Susegado on the beach which is seasonal (November until May) serving fresh fish and also grilled meat, though it also has a tandoor for baking the fish.
There is an Italian restaurant (the Riverside), and then in the main building the Jamavar Indian restaurant for a la carte choice of Indian and Goan fine dining specialities and the all-day The Restaurant had a choice of a la carte and buffet food.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
There are several indoor meeting rooms including the Aparanta Ballroom (250 for a banquet) and Hampi Ballroom (100 for a banquet), two additional meeting rooms (Badami and Bidar, each accommodating 14 boardroom style) and the Leela Garden, an open lawn and beachside.
As you’d expect from the resort, there are plenty of options here, from the two swimming pools including one with a waterfall at one end and a cave to swim through.
There is a fitness club (0700-2000), two tennis courts and a badminton court, and a 12-hole, par 3 golf course (chargeable at 1500 rupees per person per round, including golf club hire. Bikes can be hired to cycle around the resort, while the Leela spa – Amalya – has a comprehensive list of treatments and is open 0700-2200 daily.
Below the main restaurant Aqua is the “Entertainment Lounge” where as well as another bar (one of at least half a dozen in the resort, there was a pool table and table tennis table, as well as the large meeting and banqueting rooms. The hotel also has its own shopping arcade.
The renovation in 2012 has kept the Leela fresh, and the service is exemplary throughout the resort, with employees stopping to say hello and many greeting you by name after only a few days, particularly in the restaurants.
- HOW MANY ROOMS? 206 rooms: 94 Lagoon Terrace, 66 Conservatory Premiere, 21 Lagoon suites, 5 Lagoon Deluxe suites, 9 Club suites, 6 Club Pool suites, 4 Royal villas and 1 Presidential villa
- HIGHLIGHTS The flora and fauna are very impressive, with information boards giving information on the various birds, flowers and trees in the resort. Free wifi is a plus
- CONTACT The Leela Goa, Mobor, Goa 403 731 India; tel: + 91 832 662 1234; theleela.com