23 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"Just got back from a wonderful 2 weeks stay in Goa. This was our first time in Goa and after a bit of research we plumped for the CSM. Reviews were mainly good, location seemed ideal and the price was reasonable. Having never been to Goa before we were a little apprehensive on what to expect and I have to say that the reviews from earlier this season regarding damp smelling rooms were a little worrying.
We arrived around 8 oâclock in the evening and were shown to our room. They had put us in a room about 2 thirds of the way down the CSM lane from reception towards the beach. At first there was quite a strong odour in the room and we feared the worst but the room although basic and in need of a bit of modernization was spacious and clean with a good sized living room and bedroom plus a separate bathroom with shower, A great TV in the bedroom with movie and sports channels plus adequate tea and coffee making facilities and it even had a hair drier. There was plenty of cupboard space but we decided not to unpack in case we needed to change rooms as we had read this was quite normal at CSM. Being quite late by now and feeling a little tired by the long journey we ate at the hotel that night taking advantage of the offer of the 6 money off meal tokens we had each received. The meal was really nice and great value at 4 pounds including drinks for the 2 of us. Had a quick look around and ended up in the Phoenix bar, which is located on the CSM site for a couple of drinks to end the night. Mike and Jennie from Leeds ran the bar and this was to become our local for the next 2 weeks. If you like a bit of banter and chat then this is the place for you. Thereâs also plenty going on they have the usual bingo, karaoke, comedian, race night, etc but mostly I enjoyed the chat at the end of the day with the people who frequented the bar. So a big thanks to all the people I met there during my stay Graham & Anje, Steve & Wilma, Mad Sean & Bernadette, Colin and Walter, Linda & Dave plus many more it was a pleasure to meet you all and a massive thanks to Mike and Jennie for putting up with us and making it a home from home.
Anyway after a good night sleep we decided to stay in our room as the smell had by now disappeared and it turned out to be little more than the detergents they had used to clean our room. I can understand why some people thought it was a damp smell but my advice is if you are happy with your location then stay put. We made breakfast that morning but to be honest I wouldnât get up especially. The breakfast consisted of beans, eggs (scrambled, fried or omelette) plus inedible chick sausages everyday. You could get far better for two or three quid down at the shacks or in the numerous eating-places nearby and if you fancied a big breakfast than the Phoenix does an excellent full English. We opted for the pool on the first day which although small had towels and beds and is a good place to relax although after later sampling the beach we actually never went back. I suppose if we had been located near the pool then we might have found ourselves there once or twice more. That night we went for a wander and had a nice meal in the numerous nearby restaurants before a few drinks at the Phoenix, which was to become the norm for the next 2 weeks.
Next day we made it down to the beach all of a 2-minute walk from our apartment and after advice from someone in the Phoenix went to Bonnyâs shack, which is close to the beach entrance from CSM. We could have easily chosen any of the other numerous shacks Bananas, Bobbys etc..as I am sure that they look after you equally as well and be as good a value for drinks and food. I would advise the beach area near to CSM as the Baga and Calangute areas seemed busier and full of gangs of drunken Indian lads, which never did us any harm during our stay, but did make you feel a little uncomfortable when surrounded by so many. Must be getting old.
The beach itself is fantastic, beautiful sands that stretch 5 miles from Baga to Candolim and the warm Arabian sea with the 6 foot waves lashing in is absolute heaven. If I close my eyes I can still feel the sway from the waves right now
Eating out was a delight with so many good places close by to choose from with a good choice of Indian, Chinese and British cuisine on offer. A special mention to Fire n Ice on CSM lane you have to try the fillet steak in there and the Chinese restaurant Kim Faa on the Baga road which I have to say was probably the best Chinese food I have ever tasted. You are best to reserve a table at these places, as they are so popular. Also must mention the night time BBQ we had on the beach at Bonnyâs which was brilliant.
We managed a couple of trips during our stay Waterfall and Dolphins and I can recommend Johns Boat tours as great value. The Waterfalls is a bit of a trek but spectacular to see and the monkeys will eat out of your hand and my wife managed a short ride on an elephant while we were up there. I loved the Dolphin trip, which included a tour of the coastline. The skipper was most informative and really loved his job.
I think thatâs about it sorry about the lengthy review but we had such a fantastic stay I felt the need to share with all and sundry.
Definitely be going back there as do so many.
- Travel date: Tue 15th of February 2011
"Just returned from another holiday in Goa, This time we actually managed to book the CSM - What a fantastic hotel. I cannot fault anything here....clean sheets and towels every day, really reasonable mini bar rates as well as in the main bar, Breakfast was excellent I recommend the freshly made Fried eggs or omelettes made by the excellent and friendly chef Jack. All staff were polite, courteous and nothing was any trouble. We had our 3 year old son and the location was great, morning by the pool and a short walk to the beach for his afternoon playtime and siesta.
Thanks to Peter and his team, especially John, Anita and Guru on reception, Concy and the waitersâ and especially Jack who made my little boys holiday. Can't wait to return for Christmas
Only one down side was that we we with Thomas cook - Flight out fantastic service, however the flight home was dreadful - The staff didnt give a monkeys about thir so-called customers. We ere thrown a meal afetr having to ask 3 times - a veg option we hadnt ordered - when we asked the reply was "we've ran out" Seriously that was it - no apology, nothing!!!! Will not be using again."
- Travel date: Wed 4th of March 2009
stayed in colonia santa maria xmas /newy...
"stayed in colonia santa maria xmas /newyear 2007 very clean and tidy would reccomend to others going again this year "
- Travel date: Fri 30th of May 2008
went to india in january last year and t...
"went to india in january last year and the year before, absolutely love it, i'd live there if i could, just as my dad did!
the people are unbelievably friendly, especially the lads at inspirations beach shack, sanjay, barhma, anil, ricky, all great people!
the beach is unbelievable! sometimes busy but you are never short of somewhere to pitch for the day thanks to the shack lads.
the shacks themselves are incredible, food is served from the am straight through to the following am! beach activities are available from most shacks, we only used inspirations because we got to know the lads that work there. Even after a year as i walked down to the beach for the first time barhma instantly ran to me smiling wanting to shake my hand, how these people remember you after so long is amazing.
the annette apts are very nice appartments, with a pool which i never used simply because i was addicted to the beach! very airy rooms, with a very indian feel! the bread man wakes u up on a morning with the horn on the bike but hey you gotta get up some time and to be honest its not an awful sound!
the resaurants are just fantastic! east meets west, alton gardens, bernards, were my 3 favourites! bernards being the best as the food was really tasty and we got to know bernard himself and his brother paul who unfortunately passed away last year.
all in all, my indian holidays have been my best to date and i dont think anything will match them any time soon! "
- Travel date: Tue 27th of May 2008
Wow what a holiday! We had an amazing t...
"Wow what a holiday! We had an amazing time on our first trip to Goa.
CSM was a fab hotel, clean and comfortable yet basic. We were kept amused by the frequent power cuts, which adds to the excitement of being in India.
We were really impressed with the staff's friendliness and nothing seemed too much trouble. The food in the hotel was good, lots of choice being a vegetarian, but the best thing about the food, was the Goan breakfast choice, which I believe has now stopped and only English is offered. What a shame.
If anyone is thinking of taking out clothes, pens pencils etc. to the children out there, then I would definitely recommend a taxi trip to Mango House. "Children Walking Tall" is a uk-based childrenâs charity working to improve the lives of the street children of Goa. Robert, an English guy, runs Mango house with a team of volunteers and they hold visitor sessions most days and are always grateful for all donations that they receive.
We had a fab time in Goa and have booked for next year.
- Travel date: Wed 23rd of January 2008
Good location in Baga, relatively quiet...
"Good location in Baga, relatively quiet road - make sure you get a room away from main reception - either by the pool or heading down towards the sea - our room was opposite reception needed some TLC, very tired looking."
- Travel date: Tue 8th of January 2008
Fantastic! It was or second visit to Co...
"Fantastic! It was or second visit to Colonia Santa Maria this year and well worth the wait. The boys and waiters remember you. We walked into the hotel and there was a brandy and a beer on the bar waiting - now that is service. The rooms are basic but clean. When you go to the beach steer to the right and a shack called Bosco and try the Bosco special - the one and only night we donât remember getting home.
The beach is lovely and clean. Ladies if you fancy a pamper try Hazels salon she is on the right near the taxi area she does the most wonderful massage and facial for about six pounds.
We tried to book again for 2008 but cannot get in so we are doing 2009 - does that not speak for itself ? I donât know where the other people say there was dog muck everywhere, we never saw it and if you needed any help Cedrick, Concy And Anslem were always there to help.
- Travel date: Mon 31st of December 2007
The area is very basic, as expected, but...
"The area is very basic, as expected, but this is compensated by the fact the locals are the most friendliest people you will ever care to meet.
The restaurants are good and very, very cheap, especially good was 39 steps.
The local KC Bar and Sports bar next to the C.S.M are excellent for a quite drink into the small hours. Ask for Seb and Sam at the sports bar, or Lavino at KC's.
The C.S.M hotel was fine, with the room service staff making animal shapes with your towels. Every day was a different animal. The waiters cannot do enough to make your stay as happy and easy as possible.
The food was also cooked to a very good standard, except the fried eggs at breakfast.
Beware of the power cuts, which happen regularly but usually only for a short period of time.
The C.S.M has a local taxi firm camped outside, and these guys are very friendly and will take you anywhere you want, and for very little at all. They will wait for you all day if you require.
We also took a trip to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, which is a building to admire. Words cannot describe the magnitude and splendour of this building. Absolutely amazing.
We cannot wait to go back. Miss the place already."
- Travel date: Thu 22nd of November 2007
We had a fantastic holiday staying at th...
"We had a fantastic holiday staying at the Colonia Santa.Maria. All of the staff did all they could to make sure your stay was well enjoyed.
Bobbies the first shack on the left as you get to the beach was brill and we did just about all of our daytime eating and drinking there; all of their staff were so attentive and on the ball as to your needs. Even to a young Indian lad Neil who cleaned your sunglasses for 1 rupee and you never got them back until they were perfect.
There were 4 adults in our party and we ate and drank from around 9am till sunset and it worked out at about Â£16 - Â£20 for the four of us and that included free sunbeds.
The whole holiday was so brilliant that within 2 weeks of coming home we booked for next year and the Hotel couldnât fit us 4 in until March 08 Jan & Feb already full.
Go have a great time with a great people. The Goans are a really lovely race.
- Travel date: Fri 2nd of November 2007
We stayed at Colonia Santa Maria in Baga...
"We stayed at Colonia Santa Maria in Baga. The place is very basic. Don't expect any thrills, but clean. The food is excellent, with a choice of breakfast in the morning + Tea in the evening.
'Bobby's' shack on the beach is a must to visit, you will be looked after very well on the sunbeds there By Alan the Masseur.
Britto's bar is a good place for a snack (nice pie's ) also the Jungle Village in Candolim is excellent if you have children like mine who like Hot Dogs and beef burgers. John is the patron, he is an ex pat who will help you in any way he can.
We had a problem and he sorted it out for us with no fuss.
For eating out the Sea Shells in Candolim is also a must.
Trips to recommend are 'Jake The Snake' (up the river to see the crocs) and The Waterfall, where you get to taste the local brew. Wow, its dynamite, made from Cashew nuts.
I have booked a return Holiday March 2008, roll on."
- Travel date: Wed 30th of May 2007
We flew first class and the flight was s...
"We flew first class and the flight was super, no complaints at all.
The staff at the CSM were fantastic, the roomâs great, that hotel is very close to the beach and the food was great as well.
We would go back again only I think that the hotel is only dealing with Indian tour operators from 2008.
Always plenty hot water and hardly any power cuts!!"
- Travel date: Mon 21st of May 2007
A variable experience.
"CSM at Baga Beach - 3rd to 24th February 2007 - Hotel Review
It was our first holiday to Goa and we approached it with an open mind but we were aware of some negative comments about the hotel (CSM, Baga). I had e-mailed the Tour Company, Somak, with my concerns and been told that all was now well with the accommodation.
We arrived at the Hotel and after a short delay we were shown to our room. It was not âas advertisedâ but a single storey, one roomed apartment. Initially, it appeared adequate and we were so eager to settle down after the journey, that we were in no mood to query it. We set about unpacking. However, we soon discovered that there were numerous small crawling insects on the floor. This was not too upsetting because we were in India and perhaps this should be expected. We needed to get some initial supplies from a local shop and thus bought some insect killer spray, which we applied liberally. We also discovered that the sink in the bathroom only had one tap, which was loose and only gave cold water! (No â it was not a mixer tap!) Similarly the shower only gave cold water. When we returned later we found that although there were some dead insects there were still plenty that refused to give up the ghost. I suspected that the reason was that there were huge gaps around the windows and the air-conditioning unit. The single storey room was sunk into a mound/hill at the rear and thus there was a constant insect âimmigrationâ into the room. A review that we had read before our departure had complained about newspaper stuffed around the air-conditioning and doubtless this was the reason. Enough was enough. We went to the Reception and spoke to the gentleman behind the desk. We later discovered that he was Stephen, the newly appointed manager. He had a winning smile and a charm to match. He assured us that we would be moved the following morning. (This approach later appeared to be a common occurrence with a small but significant number of guests being given poor accommodation - we also heard reports of damp patches in some rooms - and then being moved after complaining.) This seems an improvement on the dismissive attitude of the previous management team, which is described in previous reviews. Nevertheless it is clear that although most rooms are very good, a few are very poor and thus this explains the very mixed often-contradictory reports that are posted about this hotel.
The following morning we approached the Somak representative, Firoz, and I took him into the room to show him the cause of my dissatisfaction. I showed him copies of my email correspondence with Somak. I told him that the accommodation was not âas advertisedâ in the brochure i.e. two storey with separate living/dressing area, that it was inadequate with regard to the water supply and the insects and that we had been promised a change of room. I warned him that if the next room proved similarly inadequate then we would leave, find our own accommodation and âbillâ Somak for it. I have to say that the Representative was excellent in his attitude and approach. We arrived Saturday and we spoke to him on Sunday. A little later he returned and said that we would be moved as promised but that also on the following Tuesday he had arranged for us to be moved to a room that was âexcellentâ. We told him that we would only move once and therefore we would stay in the first room until the âexcellentâ room was available. This we did and the second room was all that we would have properly expected. What a shame that we were on the fourth day of our holiday before we were âsettledâ.
Our first meal was dinner in the dining room at CSM. The reports had been poor and therefore we were very pleasantly surprised by the range and standard of the meal. I later commented on this to another guest who told me that there had been many complaints and that the food had thus been dramatically improved. Nevertheless it was very good to start withâ¦. Sadly it did deteriorate as the weeks went by. Towards the end of our three weeks, we tended only to eat in the hotel only on rare occasions and the standard had declined noticeably. There was a tendency for the waiters to open the dish covers to show the contents to guests but then to leave them open instead of closing them.
The staff at the hotel were very helpful and courteous at all times. The rooms were kept in relatively good order but I sometimes got the impression that the cleaners were more intent on making animal shapes out of the towels than in thoroughly cleaning the rooms.
One thing that the hotel lacked was a suitable place to sit and relax with a drink before or after a meal. Apart from the tables where you ate, there was only one small area accommodating half a dozen people and a few stools at the bar.
The taxis that congregate at the entrance to CSM are generally ready to charge inflated prices â by Goan standards. There are some exceptions, for example Babu was fair. I did however negotiate a price with one taxi from there to take us to the Waterfalls and when we turned up early in the morning, the driver wanted to increase the price. I told him that he had âblown itâ and walked away. He came after us lowering his new âpriceâ but I dismissed him in short order. We walked on and later picked up a taxi elsewhere to go on a âcrocodile tripâ instead. My wife became enchanted by the tut-tuts. I would strongly recommend Santosh (Tel: (+91) 985 0464584). He is very helpful; he has a good command of English and an excellent knowledge of the area. His brother has a âfull grownâ taxi and thus he can arrange Airport collections and longer excursions.
We returned home after three weeks with mixed feelings. The hotel was good once the issue about the room was sorted out. We certainly would not rave about Goa like some people. The people were very friendly but I feel that this was because they always wanted something from you. For example the night security guards at the CSM were really nice but I am sure that they were looking forward to a good tip at the end of the holiday. However, Goa is relatively cheap and the weather in February is guaranteed to be better than Europe. We would return to Goa but not to Baga Beach and we would think twice before returning to the CSM."
- Travel date: Fri 6th of April 2007