8th Feb 2017, booked a one week all inclusive package with Thomson (excellent Dreamliner flights) and opted for a deluxe bungalow room with garden view and terrace.
A great room (recently refurbished) with modern decor, blinds, cool tiled floor, good air-con, double bed, great kettle/tea/coffee making facilities and a large bathroom with enormous rain shower/toilet/wash basin/toiletries/slippers/luggage rack and wardrobe. Terrace outside with two chairs and a small table. Set in fabulous gardens with a lovely five minute stroll to the beautiful beach. Spotlessly clean everywhere.
Large swimming pool. Plenty of comfortable sun loungers/towels. Helpful pool boys who were very happy to move your beds or erect parasols for you. But no waiter service around the pool – you need to go to the bar yourself.
Food ok but if I’m being picky, we’ve had better. Main emphasis was on Goan food which is fairly spicy. We always found something nice to eat – we love spicy food anyway but the chefs were willing to cook plainer food for you if you asked, we were told by another guest. Breakfast was fine – the usual egg station, fresh fruit etc but no continental cheese or meat or salad and again, lots of hot and spicy food which takes a bit of getting used to at the beginning of the day! I tended to stick with an omlette or fried egg on toast followed by fruit. Maybe it was just me but I couldn’t stomach the tea and coffee the waiters served. However, all you needed to do was ask for hot water, milk and tea bags and you could make your own version. Only had lunch in the main restaurant once – more hot food than cold which didn’t really suit us. Salad choices were sadly lacking. There is a snack bar by the pool which was ok although we only used that once too (tended to eat at the beach). Dinner – plenty of choice. Wine not good. Hotel is being taken over by Novotel in October 2017 so hopefully food/wine will improve choice-wise.
We tended to have lunch at ‘Rosario’s’, one of the shacks on the beach. As with all the shacks, you can use their sunbeds if you’re prepared to buy a drink or have a meal there. If we spent the day, it would cost us around £20 for, say, two large beers/litre of water by our sunbeds; three glasses of white wine and a couple of beers/water again with lunch – and I’m talking expensive Tiger King prawns for me (700R) and, say, a tuna sandwich and chips (so you can do lunch much cheaper if you want…)
Even though we were all inclusive, we enjoyed a couple of meals out at night too. Try Mike’s place. A curry with a nan averaged at around 300R (just over £3) – a Cosmopolitan cocktail cost the same!
The resort is in the centre of Cavelossim. This was great as you could take a walk out and visit the local shops and restaurants (yes, you do get a fair bit of friendly hassle but you get used to it). There are also local taxi drivers to barter with for day trips out (but the hotel can also organize – there’s a taxi tariff on their info board at the entrance which is handy so you have an idea of prices). We wanted to do a cruise along the River Sal with ‘Chris’s Cruises’ (1200R each – including all drinks and lunch) but they were compltely booked so we’ll have to wait until next year.
Suggest a two week stay. Took us a couple of days to acclimatize what with the long flight (9 hrs going/10 hrs coming home) and the 5.5 hrs ahead of the UK time difference.
You cannot take rupees from the UK and have to get them once in resort (or at the airport if you’re willing to pay a high commission). Suggest ‘Jai International Money Exchange Bureau Changers’ in Cavelossim village which we used all the time.
Take those round two pin plug adaptors with you. There’s a mosquito plug provided in the room but we also had another two with us which we used. Don’t forget to take your mosquito spray as well for the evenings (although you can buy it there quite cheaply I believe).
Wi-fi at the hotel is currently chargeable. (£1 per hour and you can only use it for that one hour you purchase). It’s a massive bone of contention with the travel reps and I refused to pay for it on principle (again, maybe this will change come October with Novotel?…). However, all is not lost as the beach shacks (and lots of the restaurants in the village) provide free wi-fi. And be aware that your emails take a good while to come through.
Thomson Rep, Karen is excellent and has plenty of advice/recommendations for you.
Lots to see and do in Goa either via Thomson or independently, including overnight stays in different ares and even a trip to Taj Mahal (Via a flight to Delhi) if you fancy it!
Average age at the hotel was 50+ with lots of repeat visitors and most people we chatted to had booked a 3-4 week stay. We met so many lovely, friendly people and enjoyed our holiday so much that we’ll definitely be returning next year.
Hope this brief review is useful to anyone considering a visit to South Goa and the Dona Sylvia Resort.