Thanks to my recent trip to Goa in August 2023, I saw the state turn magical in the monsoons. It was exhilarating to be soaked in the abundance of green foliage, luscious countryside and swelling waterfalls. From interspersed drizzles to heavy downpour to unending thundershowers, the rains did not fail to add thrill and drama to my travel plans. If you are visiting Goa for the first time, rainy season may not be the best time to experience Goan vibes, but if you love the earthy smell (petrichor) of the rains and the comforting whiff of wetness along the beach, you will love to see its different side. In the monsoons, it may be tough to find pretty sunsets but there will never be a dull moment in the skies. I had been meaning to be in Goa during monsoons, ever since my last trip in 2017. This time, I spent more than two weeks and indulged in different experiences. I ate lots of good food as many new eateries have popped up. I revisited old forts. And I spent a lot of time with my friends and family. But before flying back, I also gave in to my temptations to indulge and pamper myself. I did not end the work-cum-vacation until I had relished the elevated amenities of one of the most attractive beach front properties in the southern part of the state. I stayed at ITC Grand Goa, and voila—it overwhelmed me with a holiday that everyone remembers for a lifetime. The calming beach views, super relaxing lap pool suites rooms, gorgeous pool (biggest in Goa) and top-notch hospitality make it one of the finest properties in Goa. Ideally, you are pulled into its charms right at the entrance with the warmth of the freshly painted murals and amber glow of the lights on the ceilings. The abundance of space and the picturesque architecture are its real statement.
Where to stay in Goa?
Serenaded with glorious white sands, blue ocean, and terrific hospitality, the stay at ITC Grand Goa turned out to be beyond my expectations. This hotel must be on your bucket list – and for good reasons. It is a great place for couples and families. Also, there are tons of activities for kids as well as adults. The property has stunning architecture, and a residential kind of feel everywhere in the resort. I loved starting my day by lounging by my personal pool, followed by a hearty and nutrient-dense breakfast. In the day, I strolled inside the property, walked by the beach, took a dip in the common pool, indulged in spa or played in the games room. The high teas were special. And the dinners were delicious. Husband and I relished some great food and ate to our heart’s wish. We were fortunate enough to be in a lap pool suite, which meant that we not only enjoyed incredible amenities and hospitality of the property but also had a lovely pool to ourselves.
From Portuguese colonial buildings, cultural museums and temples, to natural landscapes, and lively beaches, Goa is a wholesome travel destination. Those who have been to Goa know it for its vibrant beaches, relaxed atmosphere, warm culture and ship casinos. This tropical paradise of India offers a good mix of cultural and sightseeing opportunities for all kinds of travellers. In Goa, one can never run out of choices to explore and have fun. Drawing parallels, I would say, even in ITC Grand Goa -the Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, you will be pampered in more than one way and you will never run of options to relax yourselves. The beautiful designs, perfect blend of luxury and nature, and the massive pool makes it one of the largest luxury resorts in Goa. Far away from the din of the city, we were truly impressed with this sprawling piece of land on the quieter side of Goa (South) in Arossim.
Deciding where to stay in Goa can be challenging as there are just so many hotels and resorts for every budget. But when it comes to responsible and sustainable experiences, ITC Hotels never cease to amaze me. Well-appointed restaurants, accomplished staff, on-point luxurious amenities, personalized services, and the zeal to go an extra mile makes them exceptional. ITC Grand Goa is a treat to the eyes and soul. Here I touch upon some of the things that I truly enjoyed during my stay there, and for you to know exactly what to expect.
The Surprise Welcome with Goan Music
The check-ins at ITC hotels are always super smooth. I have stayed in other properties too, so I know that they always ask for things before-hand, answer queries on emails and never waste time when you arrive at the hotel. But what set this property apart was the way of welcoming us, with Goan music. There were two singers who played local instruments and extended a warm welcome as soon as we alighted from our vehicle. Also, the singing and playing did not end at the foyer but continued till we reached our room on the buggy. This idea, intention and execution was special, truly in sync with the warm ITC Namaste. And it reminded us of the significance of local art and music.
The Lap Pool Suite Room
The grandeur of the room was astounding. Our suite was made up of a large bedroom, living area, a huge dressing room, and a private sit-out deck with an exclusive lap pool. For the first couple of minutes, we enjoyed discovering the different sections of the suite. The Goan elements stood out as part of the décor. It was tastefully done. The bed linen was top-notch. And as soon as we had spotted our private outdoor space with a lap pool and sun loungers, we knew this holiday was going to be special. The personalized welcome with photo frames, cakes, cookies, dry fruits and name-embroidered pillows was touching indeed. Right from the time we entered the room to the time we left, it felt nothing less than a cozy home. I really liked the fact that we had two bathrooms. The changing room was the highlight. And to my liking, the washroom could be accessed from two different doors (bedroom, dressing room). Not to forget, there were two sinks, each of which was extremely well lit and featured ample counter space. There was a huge living area where one could work and party. On one of the days, we also invited our friends.
Goan Food Cooking Session
One of the highlights of our stay was the wonderful cooking session we had with Chef Sarita at Tempero Restaurant. My husband is extremely fond of cooking, especially when it comes to trying out new dishes. He had a great time learning about the local cuisine and cooking their vegetarian versions. Together we cooked 3 Goan dishes under the guidance of the chefs there. Apart from the staple foods of rice and fish, Goans also love Chicken Xacuti, Chicken Cafreal, Vindaloo and Sol Kadhi. I learned to cook fish curry made with local spices and husband loved Cauliflower Cafreal. We were happy to take away this memorable and enriching experience with us. On the second day, the mocktail making session with Gaurav at the Farol-poolside bar also had its own fun.
Breakfast at Pavilion and Dinner at Kebabs & Kurries
If I had to pick one restaurant for dinner, I would recommend Kebabs and Kurries. The kebabs there are mouth-melting and the ITC signature biryanis are to die for. The dal Bukhara, pudina parantha, kulcha, curries will entertain you with the best flavors of North. The chefs will also recommend you the best combinations based on your taste and likings. They made a very interesting kebab from the humble beetroot and it tasted heavenly. If you are a meat eater or a Dal fan, and are missing North Indian food in Goa, just head here.
For me personally, one of the most important aspects of a luxury hotel stay is great food. Breakfast is something that I truly look forward to. I like waking up to the idea of indulging in a huge spread. Pavilion spoiled me like a child.
Fabulous Hospitality and Spa
We had a dedicated butler, Gaurav and he ensured that all our restaurant bookings, spa appointments, and other engagements were arranged as per our requirement. My husband had his official calls due to which we had to request certain changes in our previous bookings but he was always very helpful. The staff at every restaurant or the others whom we met on the property were always very courteous and polite. The senior management and chefs never missed an opportunity to ask if we enjoyed the food and were happy to accommodate our dietary requirements. The Spa at ITC Grand Goa is one of the best. I highly recommend it. Speaking of the swimming pool, ITC Grand Goa owns a stunner.
Access to unspoiled Arossim beach
If your aim is to relax and indulge, you might not even want to head out to explore anything in Goa. The beach is right there. All you have to do is a bit of a walk from the rooms or ask the buggy to drop you at the nearest point. But if you opt to walk, you will enjoy the view of the pool and the manicured lawns which will guide you to the beach. Many beaches in Goa are overrated and spoiled, but this one is still untouched and peaceful. We enjoyed our evening walks and talks. In the other seasons, it makes for great sunsets as well. So don’t miss this out.
The whole time that I was inside the premises of the property, it was impossible to tell that we were in a major city. It was calming and soothing inside. Please do share your experience of staying there.
Useful Info – The transfers to the Goa International Airport, Dabolim takes only 20-25 minutes from the resort.