The Taj Group Of Hotels is known for luxury and probably the first name that comes to mind when we talk about luxurious hotels In India. We decided to celebrate our first wedding anniversary in Goa and found out that Vivanta By Taj at Panjim is a new hotel by Tatas in Goa. I called the hotel and inquired for room availability. The reservations department asked me to login to their website to book the room. Finding the right room and package wasn’t very difficult. I checked for available deals and finally picked up one for Rs. 21,000/- for two days . It included Rs. 6000/- food discounts and breakfast, pick up & drop from Airport, half-day city tour and 10% discounts on Jiva Spa. Since we had already made up our minds, I booked it. I thought the money would get instantly debited from my credit card. I thought there must have been an error with the system as it confirmed by booking but didn’t charge me. I’d never get so happy at machine errors otherwise. Well, they did charge me the whole amount at the time of checking out. I should have guessed that, anyways!
First Impressions: Upon reaching Goa by Jet flight, we were greeted by hotel representative and he picked up our bags. A brand new Fiat Linea took us to the hotel, about 35 kilometers from the Airport. The hotel looks like a perfect business hotel from outside. We were greeted by the receptionists and offered watermelon juice in a tiny glass which I’d easily confuse for a test-tube in chemistry lab. I must give credit to the interior designer of the hotel. The entrance, the lobby and overall ambiance is simply awesome!
Room: The bellboy helped us with our bags and one of the receptionists escorted us to the room. The elevators too are awesome and don’t operate without the access cards (aka keys). Everything in the hotel reminds you that you’re getting what you paid for and I loved the service. Upon opening the door we were delighted. The room was fantastic! I’d have loved to see more light in the room, but wasn’t disappointed by what I saw. The wooden flooring, the bath room the LCD panel – everything looked perfect. There was a mini-bar that had everything priced thrice the normal cost. A tiny cashew-nut box cost us Rs. 210.
Service: The service was very good and we were quite happy with everyone – from bellboy to our driver. As I mentioned, our package had half-day city tour in the itinerary. We were lucky because the Linea cars they had for us had to be serviced and we were offered Toyota Corolla. Corolla is an awesome car and it’s better in the inside than outside. Trust me.
Food: The hotel has two restaurants – Tamari & Latitude. The Tamari offers Chinese, Thai and Japanese food and we picked it up for the anniversary evening. We were lucky once again. There was no one else in the restaurant except us, the captain and chefs. The captain helped us choose Japanese & Thai dishes [the choice is limited for Veggies, you see]. The dishes we ordered (I forgot the names) were scrumptious. Loved to food!
We had our breakfast and dinner on the second day at Latitude. I believe they had few interns working in the latitude who were very helpful. However I didn’t like it much there because all we had were rich and extra-fat people eating beyond their own capacities. Tamari is better than Latitude any day.
Jiva Spa: The Jiva Spa offers various treatments and massages. We chose ‘Vishrama’ – which is one hour full body massage. I don’t know whether we were lucky again or they had reserved the entire spa just for us for an hour. If you are planning to visit the hotel, don’t miss the Jiva Spa. However, they charge you big money. I think they should charge less. One hour treatment cost us about Rs. 6000/-.
Internet: The Internet is offered via wi-fi in the room and the speeds are good. However the service costs you a fortune. The most disappointing part is that they charge you about 250/- for 30 minutes access and you can’t use the service in parts. I used the service only for 10 minutes thinking I’ll use the rest in the evening. Bang! I paid Rs. 250/- for 10 minutes of Internet access.
Overall: I believe Vivanta By Taj is worth the price you pay. I believe they should offer Internet service free of charge and charge less for the Jiva Spa services. Overall, I enjoyed our stay and look forward to visiting the hotel again.