Novotel is a mid-scale brand by AccorHotels. But Novotel Resorts and Spa in Goa is a 5-star deluxe property. In 2014, AccorHotels opened the property’s gates as Grand Mercure, its upscale brand. However, not receiving the desired recognition from Indians who are more familiar with Novotel as a brand, the French hospitality group decided to rename it. Hence, the facilities offered aren’t typical to the mid-scale brand.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
You meet your bags at the other end of the bag-scanner after walking through a metal detector. Automatic glass doors open into the lobby where you’re welcomed with cooling tropical drinks.
Two manned desks play dual- roles — reception and concierge. (In-room check-in is an option.) Hotel staff are refreshingly casual in their approach, which adds to the holiday vibe that Goa typically exudes. Upbeat music fills the lobby. Guests amble in shorts and T-shirts, replenishing from two juice tumblers placed by a sofa seating. Behind it, is the lounge bar where you can grab a drink and snacks. It remained scarcely populated for most part of my 24-hour stay. I preferred the sofas as the bar doesn’t have a view and the lobby looked much more “happening”.
A Mac corner lets you browse the internet for free. The Xbox corner was more entertaining, though. Luckily the loud cheering from gamers can’t reach the spa that is at the opposite end of the lobby.
WHERE IS IT?
Dabolim Airport is a one-hour drive from the hotel, and Goa’s railway station is 18km away. Goa’s Candolim beach is a three-minutes drive away.
The balcony of my two-storey Junior suite (70 sqm) overlooks tiled roofs of a neighbourhood that is densely populated with tropical trees.
The wooden-floored room is a spacious sprawl. Walk ten steps to reach the bathroom pass a full-sized mirror and luggage rack that can work as a changing area. Bedside plug points and switches make it convenient to adjust the lights at night. A well sized work desk by the bed faces a window with no view.
Wooden steps take you to the lower level that is compact with just enough space for an even smaller bathroom, smaller balcony, bench for luggage, minibar, tea/coffee maker, microwave and a two-seater sofa and ottoman.
All suites are connected to a Superior room (32 sqm), the base category. It is the same size as the higher level Executive room (32 sqm), but doesn’t have a microwave and sofa, hence looks more roomy. The Executive suite — highest category — has an additional hot plate and kitchenette. It is a one level suite of 55.89 sqm. The hotel says these suites are often hired by smaller groups of top management executives for power meetings.
There is no bathtub in any of the rooms. All 121 rooms and suites have a balcony, 42-inch LED TV with on-screen billing information, video games, radio, free water, tea/coffee maker, minibar, MP3 dock, and iron and ironing board.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Chy Lobby Lounge serves exotic teas and other beverages with food and desserts. Food Exchange on the lower level is the 24-hour restaurant with live counters and al-fresco seating that abuts the pool area. Sunken is the pool bar. Vera Cibo is an Italian and Mediterranean eatery that has a “chef’s special”, which changes every day. Novotel provides a free shuttle service to the hotel’s beachside restaurant La Brie, known for oriental and Indian cuisines.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
Of the three boardrooms, two have ten seats and one has four. Iris and Ivy are divided into two sections each for 80 people each. Others available are Lily (40 people), Marquee (600 people), Tulip (60 people), three meeting rooms with a capacity from 40 to 150 people. All are equipped with audio-visual equipment and internet.
A Mac corner, Xbox corner, gym, salon, spa, pool, basketball court, badminton court and table tennis are on-property recreational facilities. The hotel also organises water sports and boat excursions. Bikes are available on hire. Yoga classes are held in a cabana with panoramic views of paddy fields.
The property has ample facilities to keep you occupied. It works exceptionally well for visiting MICE groups, especially during the monsoons.