12 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
holiday trip to Goa
"The Goa Carnival is a world famous tourist places in india,famous event in Goa with colorful masks and floats, drums& reverberating music, dance performances.
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- Travel date: Mon 17th of June 2013
Comfortable and Expensive Oasis
"The Hotel comprises of a large main building with the accommodation spread out over a large estate. It can be a 5-10 minute walk to the main building/pool/reception area and so they have a buggie service (golf cart) that you can call and get a lift. This is quite speedy and easy to do. The pool isnt large or very exciting except that its fresh water and there is a slide for kids.Many of the sun beds are on the grass near the pool area and there are hammocks a plenty to choose from slung between the coconut palms. There is also a 'private' beach where you can lie out hassle free. There is a joy in Goa to be able to lie on the beach and not be bothered by beach hawkers every 2 minutes (not exaggerating).None of the rooms have a sea view and there are many levels of accommodate available in the hotel each with different facilities.Our room was a twin bed room and was very comfortable and spacious and nicely furnished.We had a garden view room.Some rooms had a plunge pool and if this is your choice then be aware that your sitting out area isnt very large and your garden area may be shared with your next door neighbour so you may have four sun loungers all in a row - not very private or cosy if this is what you are after! There is an ayurvedic centre and spa in the Hotel and the spa I would not recommend at all to anyone. the steam room stank of sweaty feet and the floor was slick so as to be a death trap.I banged my head whilst crouching down to get my things out of the cubicle andthere are only two tiny changing cubicles with no seat or hooks.I could go on but will finish with it was a not great massage and more expensive than at home. There are several restaurants in the Hotel plus the beach bar and in-room dining.None of the food we thought to be anything special and its pricey for Goa standards and comparable with home.The soup in the Chinese restaurant was great thats the only concession I'll make.To end, this is a pricey spot at $300+ a night but relaxing and comfortable."
- Travel date: Mon 29th of January 2007
Beautiful hotel but scarey locals
"Our visit to the exotica was the first time myself and my husband had been to India and I was looking forward to a feast of cultural delights. Unfortunately this was not meant to be; on arriving at the hotel we are literally swarmed by locals trying to sell is their wares. Usually I am not perturbed by this but they were excessively pushy and extremely young â we are talking 7 years old !. This continued all week up until the point that my husband refused to leave the hotel â they even do this on the private hotel beach.
However saying all this I would still recommend the exotica. The staff were brilliant and the rooms and facilities in the hotel were superb. In particular the staff around the pool area really could not do enough for you; chocolate milk shake highly recommended.
My husband also fell in love with the lobster shake; beautifully situated on the shore line with a truly welcome breeze. Itâs a sea food loverâs heaven.
One particularly refreshing change to our holiday was that we seemed to be the only British people in the hotel; even some Swiss and Russians.
One work of advice â if you HAVE to fly Monarch then upgrade. The plane in which we spent 10 hours of our lives should have been illegal to fly long haul. On returning I made it quite clear to my husband that if he wanted me back in the UK then he would have to pay to up grade!"
- Travel date: Tue 23rd of January 2007
Great time even with the rates!!!!
"We have just returned from two weeks at the Taj exotica hotel in Goa. This is the second time we have stayed at this hotel (room 524 and 525). We stayed in December 4th to the 18th.
We booked a holiday with Thomas Cook, absolutely superb and flew out with Monarch airlines, on their air bus 300 something!!
We upgraded flights to premium cabin with Monarch and that flight was absolutely superb, however looking back at the back cabin to the economy class seats quite frankly I would recommend anybody considering flying to go to upgrade the premium cabin if flying with Monarch airlines. The cost of the upgrade was approximately 400 pounds per person return (worth every penny).
At the airport I recommend anyone travelling takes a pocketful of 1 pound coins as every porter that touches your bag expects the financial reward, even in of any carried the case 10 feet! (Don't worry you will get you 1 pound coin back when you get back to the airport when you return journey when they wish to exchange the sterling for Indian rupees)
The Taj exotica hotel is without doubt one of the finest hotels in South Goa, however having seen this now two years running I would have to say that the general condition of some of the rooms are starting to require some revamping and could do with an overhaul.
Our room was very pleasant but the bathroom has a leaking toilet the first couple of days which took some time to repair and the general condition of the grout and tiling was shabby.
The rooms staff that serviced the room were exceptional and you could almost guarantees every day you would come back to find a towel designed as a Swan, a heart, a lobster or any other flower arrangement that the room boy could think of displayed perfectly on your bed.
The hotel has four main restaurants, a seafood shack which is just off the beach, a Goan restaurant serving Indian cuisine, a Asian restaurant and the restaurant that focuses on international cuisine .
We have eaten in this hotel in three of the four restaurants and I am sad to say we have found the hotel wanting badly on most occasions.
Last year we arrived in the early evening and headed straight for the lobster shack. Within six hours of eating some beautiful giant prawns my wife suffered severe gastroenteritis / food poisoning. We reported this to the management of the hotel and a doctor was called within minute and we were refunded the cost of that particular meal Â£100. We did not eat again in the hotel for that two week trip.
This year we decided to have a few meals in the hotel and chose our first meal in the Goan restaurant. The food was absolutely disgusting (and exceedingly expensive as you would imagine in a five-star resort compared to that served on the beach some hundred metres away). Although we accepted the food was poor what really pushed us over the edge was to be joined at the table by two very large Rates (and I mean big) running around our feet. The restaurant staff had throughout the evening fussed over the cat that was meowing in the flowerbeds but once I informed them that we had rats joining us they seemed pretty much uninterested as though it was a normal part of the evening proceedings.
We made a formal complaint that evening to the duty manager to the credit of the hotel we were given a complimentary tented meal on the lawns of the hotel. This was an absolutely fantastic meal all expensive paid and was very much appreciated by myself and wife. However halfway through the meal whilst being serenaded by some fantastic guitar players the biggest baddest Rate ran straight past the table and into the flowerbeds where we had seen it only two nights before! We did not eat again in the hotel.
The last two years we have befriended and used "SP Shack"
which is located on the right-hand side of the hotel as you face to sea. The food was produced at the highest quality every lunchtime and every evening and the total cost of our food and drink for the day did not come to more than Â£7 -Â£8 per head, a total bargain!!!.
My greatest advice to anyone travelling to the Taj exotica hotel is to use the facilities of the hotel, which you have paid for, but eat out of the hotel in any of the associated shacks (SP being our favourite). You are more likely to pick up the tummy bug in the hotel than on the beach, which is not much of a bost for the Taj but they do really need to sort their restaurants out.
Having said that breakfast every day was an absolute joy and anyone serving champagne as a standard drink for breakfast at no extra charge goes up in my estimations not to mention that of my wife, who had it on most occasions.
I hope you have found this report of some interest and although it has been negative in some areas I still think that Taj Exotica Hotel in Goa is one of the best hotels you will find.
- Travel date: Sat 30th of December 2006
Very Relaxing Stay
"We stayed at the Taj Exotica for four nights and overall had an outstanding experience. We booked one of the villas which had very spacious rooms and a private plunge pool. The grounds were beautifully maintained and in general, the service was excellent. We were somewhat tired from travelling and did not at all mind the peaceful environment. We travelled to North Goa and had lunch at the Taj- Fort Aguada which is much closer to the nightlife and more popular beaches but the rooms at Taj Exotica are newer and roomier.
Pros: Very relaxing, beautiful scenery/grounds, variety of high-quality dining options, numerous activities on the resort
Cons: Servers at restaurants need a bit of polishing to provide better service(especially at breakfast), the resort is definitely removed from the action, most restaurants were reasonably priced(for the Taj) but the Lobster Shack was just exorbitant, gym could use some better cardio equipment"
- Travel date: Mon 11th of December 2006
good for doing nothing
"The Taj Exotica is probably great for couples -- especially if you're the sort of couple who likes to look at the sunset, and then one of you says, "Oh, darling, it's lovely," and then you hold hands and the other one of you says, "Yep. It sure is."
But if you're a solo business traveler, as I was, it is less appealing. Everyone is right: the grounds are beautiful. But the hotel is in the south of Goa, fairly far away from Goa's social and cultural scenes, and feels isolated from the area around it.
The focus is definitely on couples, on romantic walks on the beach, and on sitting around doing nothing. In my experience, the focus was NOT on speedy service, answering phone calls, working wifi, or single guests.
If what you want is to do nothing but hang out in the sun with your sweetie, this is absolutely a beautiful place to do that. But if you're the sort of person who needs stimulation or has things to accomplish, you might be better served elsewhere."
- Travel date: Tue 21st of November 2006
"Stayed here for a weekend break whilst working in Bangalore, It was well worth the journey. The hotel is beautiful and the beach stunning. (although beware of being pesterd to buy things if you venture onto the beach), The hotel staff were very accomodating and it was a real paradise in a gorgeous location. The retaurants have a lot of choice and the gift shops were perfect for finding presents.There is a lot to do and the hotel itself, although facilities near by are plentiful. I would definately recommend this hotel for a nice peaceful break."
- Travel date: Wed 1st of November 2006
Beautifully balanced hotel
"I first stayed at the taj Exotica within a couple of months of it opening. I've stayed there a few times since and have also stayed at a few other hotels in goa - Leela, Hyatt, Fort aguada, taj holiday village, as well as some less solubrious ones.
The main thing to say about the Taj is that it has the balance just right. the location was perfect for us - close to Margao and family on a lovely quiet beach. The hotel is simple but luxurious - you don't really need leather chairs and deep pile carpets etc on a beach holiday. The rooms are spacious functional and clean. The grounds are lovely and make the most important feature - the beach and sea, very accessible from any point in the hotel. (This is in comparison to the Hyatt where at times I really wasn't sure I was next to the sea as I certainly couldn't see it (pardon the pun), and that was from the restaurant and pool).
The food appears to be a point raised by a few other writers. There is a buffet breakfast every day which has a very wide range of pretty much anything you want - indian, english, continental, museli and fresh fruit etc. Not stunning, but all you would really want. There was one lovely chap who kept bringing us (and no one else!!) fresh mango - so we were won over.
There are also buffets for lunch and dinner. They cost about 800Rs per person (Â£10) for all you can eat. the food is of good quality but really nothing to write home about - probably the stuff you would get from an average indian restaurant in London (if you've had the Porte de Indes or Bombay Brasserie buffet you'll have a rough idea of what to expect). The individual restaurants are really pectacular though - especially the goan restaurant. At the risk of eulogising for a few hours about the food could I just recommend the sannas - with anything really, and the fish curry. The sannas are the best around - and that includes homecooked ones (no matter what the proud/snobby goan housewives tell you) and are something you'll only find in goa. The price is more than reasonable (Â£15-20 for a meal for 2). The restaurants outside the hotel are cheaper but really not of the same quality. There is better goan food out there but not that convenient to get to.
As for the other facilities they aren't bad. the spa is nice offering ayurvedic therapies and massage. the gym is OK but the equipment is dated. The souvenir shops (only 4 or 5 small ones) are OK but overpriced (as you would expect from all upmarket hotels) - there is a nice shop that does modern indian art as opposed to the usual carpets and tourist tat which is nice.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this hotel. When I said it's got the balance right here's what I mean. The Hyatt is like a Spanish holiday village - an upmarket one but just too contrived. The Leela is beautiful - like being in a garden. It's kept it's Indian identity and is simply a stunning visual feast - but there are problems. Firstly the older parts of the hotel are looking a bit dated. They have opened the Leela Club - amazing (really amazing) - but at a price. The taj is at about the same price as th Hyatt, has kept it's Indianess (whatever that is) and is just that bit more relaxed. Well worth a stay."
- Travel date: Tue 31st of October 2006
"I spent 1 night here in Oct 2006 and had a wonderful time. We had booked a Garden Villa and the room was excellent with all the amenities that would befit a premium property. This is a huge 56 acre property and having stayed at the Park Hyatt, the Fort Aguada, the Interconti and the Holiday Inn in the past, I can assure you this is the best. The beach is excellent and the staff are hospitable and helpful. I would recommend this to anyone, looking to spend some quality time in Goa. Look no further. Do NOTE however that this place is also very expensive. Th F&B are priced high and since you dont have too many options outside the hotel, you will have to eat here BUT then again, you would want to spend time here unless you are staying for a long time and will be travelling a fair deal locally.
If you do stay here, its worth driving about 10 kms to eat at a place called Martin's Corner. Excellent food. The hotel folks can arrange a cab and if you are fond of sea food then this is the place to visit"
- Travel date: Wed 25th of October 2006
The Taj is outstanding
"I cannot recommend this hotel highly enough. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left the service was outstanding.
The view of the Arabian sea from your sunlounger is breathtaking, with the odd palm tree scattered across the perfectly manicured gardens adding charm to this idyllic setting. Many of the leisure activities are included in the price of your stay including tennis, archery, and bike hire (around the hotel complex only) - and that isn't the case at most other five star resorts. As others have noted the villas do perhaps look a little tired and in need of a lick of paint, and the bathrooms especially could do with updating, but the beds are by far the most comfortable we had ever encountered and the facilities such as the TV, DVD player, coffee making facilities and mini-bar were outstanding. I would not recommend eating in the hotel as the prices are quite high (as they are in any five-star resort) but just outside the complex is a lovely restaurant serving incredibly tasty Indian dishes at a fraction of the price. Plus Benaulim town is just a twenty minute stroll along the beach where you'll find dozens of other places to eat.
My girlfriend and I agreed this was the most enjoyable beach holiday we had ever had and if you are travelling to Goa and want a quiet, relaxed and luxurious stay I would urge you to book into the Taj.
K. MacKenzie, Kent, England"
- Travel date: Tue 24th of October 2006
Worth staying---but watch the power outages
"Great place, lots to do. Was there on business so I didn't get to see much of it. Only complaint was numerous power outages. Don't usually last very long (and this is common throughout India) but seemed much more intrusive here than at other places I've stayed. Looks to be a great place to take a family. They have activities and excursions every day."
- Travel date: Sat 2nd of September 2006
The hotel is fantastic. No getting away...
"The hotel is fantastic. No getting away from that fact. Staff are friendly helpful. Rooms and service excellent. The hotel is superb. No complaints on that front.
However be advised - take a lot of money if you want to eat or drink in the hotel (you don't need to as local restaurants and shacks are really, really good - despite the hotel advice).
Food is x4 or x5 times as expensive as local restaurants! Alcohol and non alcoholic drinks x4 x5 times as expensive! Approx 75 - 77 rupees to the pound. E.g. Kingfisher beer 330ml 25 - 30 rupees in local places 140 rupees in hotel (after the compulsory 20% tax) coke etc. Similar. Local shacks will sell you drinks to take back to hotel just remember to take them back the empties)
Food is extortionate compared to the local restaurants - Joecons is superb. Fantastic curries and superb seafood. Food is quality. Service fab.
Average cost of single dish about 140 rupees. ( 640+ in the hotel)!
Mediterranean menu in hotel- if you fancy it is close to Â£13 for a pizza - and its small!
We paid 600 rupees each for a lunchtime snack at the hotel on our first day - a simple burger/ fries! Never again. Local shacks were great. Just be sensible and stay away from nice salads etc and you wont go far wrong.
Be careful on room service prices. Again we had couple of snacks through this and ordered off kids menu - fine for a snack. Then were charged on adult prices. E.g. Fries 105 rupees in kids section. Doesn't appear anywhere else on menu but were charged 265rupees because we adults. Same size portion! State exactly where from menu you order!
Hotel really is excellent and quality in terms of accommodation and facilities but... And a big but, to pay x4 or x5 the price for food and drink is a little beyond a joke! (You've already paid a price for staying in 5* accommodation).
If you happy to pay the prices you will have a great time.
If you want a better time I would use the local shacks and restaurants as much as possible. Local taxis are really cheap and they will wait several hours for you. Take as long as you want and the taxi will bring you back.
Couple of good restaurants in Colva also - in fact lonely planet guide pretty good on places but few not in there are excellent.
Hope been of help.
- Travel date: Mon 24th of April 2006