14 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Grand time had by all!
"We have been going to Goa for 13 Years now & we were a group of 10 who stayed at the Alor Grand for 3 weeks over the Christmas & New Year in 2009/2010 and can honestly say that we had a fantastic time at the Alor Grand.
The staff were great, rooms were spotlessly clean (every day) and the food was absolutely beautiful.
Also the location couldn't be better.
I often say Goa is like marmite, you either love it or hate it and think for many people their expectations of the hotels in Goa to be of the same standard as they would expect in Spain or the like and for those people maybe they should stay at Fort Aguada but equally be prepared to pay for it!
My only complaints were that after a very long flight and arriving very early in the morning we had to wait until after noon to check into our room and also the Christmas & New Years Eve Gala dinner, the food was absolutely stunning but being made to wait until after 10 o'clock before opening the Buffet is too long to expect children to wait to eat and also the Russians behaved like starving animals, filling their bags with food and pushing the children out of the way to get to the food. Thank God we British have been brought up with manners. We put our complaints to the Management who apologised and rewarded us all with a meal.
We are a group of 14 travelling back to the Alor Grand this February and are very much looking forward to our stay. "
- Travel date: Thu 6th of January 2011
alor "not so" grand
"This hotel is known locally as the Alor "not so" Grand. Our first impression was one of squalor. The entrance to the apartments have sliding bolts and padlocks reminiscent of cell blocks. Dirty and noisy. The pictures on most sites resemble nothing to the real thing. The "continental breakfast" consisted of coffee in dirty cups,warm juice,cold hard toast,sour uncovered butter and something they called jam. we spent as much time away from this complex as possible. The rooms themselves are sub-standard with no amenities at all. The whole place is in need of a makeover. They have jewellery shops on site and a neverending group of people pestering you to buy,very annoying. A two star rating,even for India,is being very generous indeed."
- Travel date: Sun 14th of March 2010
stayed at the alor grande for 2 weeks. o...
"stayed at the alor grande for 2 weeks. our room overlooked pool which was very noisy in the morning when coach loads of people come for beakfast. there was no air con in our room but seemed to be in everyone elses. electric kept going off only ours! in our opinion not a very good hotel catered more for locals than foriegners. this was our third time in goa previously stayed at pheonix and santana beach both excellent . will never consider staying at alor grande again"
- Travel date: Thu 10th of July 2008
We have been to Goa 14 times so I know w...
"We have been to Goa 14 times so I know what to expect. We booked this as a last minute holiday, when I read the reports it stated that this dump had been refurbished. When we arrived, work was going on in the reception area - fine, the room we were shown was near a building site, up some dirty stone stairs, it had newspaper on window over the door, fridge was dirty, wardrobes smelt of moth balls and they were broken.
The room itself was a good size, but it was scruffy. Dirty work surfaces, dirt under the beds, it was in need of a good clean and paint. Went back to the reception and told the girl, she was very rude said that was the only room they had. So we rang a friend and he took us to Melrose Palace apartments just up the road near Victor Exotica. We got a three bedroomed, dining room, lounge kitchen, fab balcony and spotless for Â£10 per night.
I complained to the rep, filled a form in, contacted them when I got home and heard nothing.
- Travel date: Fri 11th of January 2008
Hated the place
"Our second trip to Goa this year and thought we would upgrade to a 3* at the Alor Grande. What a shock. There was building work in the next room from dawn till dusk. There was motorbike stand outside the bedrooms. The managment and staff seemed bewildered and whilst said they had sorted it out, finally conceded that they had no control over refurbishment of the rooms. Finally moved us after 2 nights to another block but this was top floor and completely unsuitable for a disabled member of our party. The breakfast was very badly organised and presented and grounds were far from relaxing forcing us to go to out al the time. We noted other people had landed and refused to even enter the rooms, such was their disappointment. We had to force the holiday reps to move us but they wanted to charge us for downgrading to 2*. Finally we resorted to calling on the hotel we had previously used (Marina Dourada Apora) and they were fanstaically helpful and made is so welcome and found us good rooms and excellent sevice. Alor Grande is rather Alor Terrible ! Give it a miss."
- Travel date: Mon 1st of January 2007
"Simon and Karen, Wirral
Just got back from the Alor Grande. After teething problems to start with we had a great holiday. On arrival the front of the hotel looks good and is new. Check-in was easy and then you arrive at the pool and restaurant, both new and looked good. We were then taken to our room at the back of the hotel. After unlocking the padlock on the door we were not impressed with what we found inside. A broken bathroom window, the shower flooded the bathroom and the water did not go down the drain, the tap in the basin just turned round and round and there was newspaper stuck over one of the other windows. We went to complain and found other guests had similar problems. However, it was on the up from there on. They showed us a room overlooking the pool and this was a big improvement. It was clean and tidy and the bed linen and towels were changed daily with various towel sculptures (remember if you want your room cleaned you must hand in your key to reception as there is only one key to the room). We had a ceiling fan, air conditioning (available at extra cost of approx Â£3 per day) but we did not find we needed this and satellite TV. All the rooms need re-decorating but they are OK if you accept they are of a 2 star standard. Breakfast was simple - toast, eggs, cereal, tea, coffee and juice. All the staff are hardworking and very friendly with the security guards saluting you as you walk past. There was no building work going on at the hotel while we were there although we were told the rooms are due to be refurbished in the future. There are one or two building projects outside the hotel but this did not cause us any problems. We are quite easy and outgoing and found the room and the hotel an acceptable standard for Goa. If you are not happy with your room speak to your holiday rep or the hotel reception to ask for a change. We think they seem to try it on with new guests when they arrive by giving them less than acceptable rooms in the hotel.
Candolim itself was good fun and the hotel is placed perfectly to enjoy it all with its many good restaurants. Here are just a few we visited - Fisherman's Cove, Gato Laco (if you fancy English or Continental cuisine - very good steak and ale pie including mash and veg!), Floyds, Inferno and the Cutty Sarc. We mainly drank in the Bending Bamboo or in the Sports Bar with its three large screens showing live premiership football. We used a little shop just down from the hotel called Bruno's. They had everything including a good exchange rate (we just took sterling and got on average 86 rupees to the pound). They have a telephone which costs approximately 40p for 5 minutes back to the UK. The couple who run the shop are very friendly and helpful.
The beach is long and golden with warm water and lined with beach shacks with their own sunbeds. We used Bono's everyday with its clean new toilets and fantastic seafood. We were made to feel like one of the family there. If you walk down to the water and turn right you will come to Bono's sign and probably be met by Chandra (the 13 year old who looks after the beds).
We only went on one excursion booked through John's Boat Tours on the beach road to see the waterfall and monkeys. However it was a six hour round trip and we felt it was not worth the effort. It cost Â£9 each including lunch. We also took a taxi to Mandrem Beach about an hour away from Candolim. This cost us 800 rupees return and the driver waits for you all day. It was very quiet and picturesque with only a handful of beach shacks. You could also stay there in one of their beach huts for 800 rupees a night if you wanted to get away from it all.
Overall Goa is great value, the people genuinely like the Brits and the Brits like the Goans. The sun shone all day everyday but is not as strong as you think.
We will return and are already missing it."
- Travel date: Sat 23rd of December 2006
Drop in standard
"Take into account this review is from 2 years ago.
If I'd rated this on my first day on my last visit, I would've opted for "Awful", but I tend to make the best of what I've got, and I got used to the disappointment over the fortnight. Hopefully the hotel is working on returning to its former standard with its new management.
Having been there 5 years before, in one of the best rooms in the hotel, top floor overlooking the pool and pretty lights of the poolside restaurant, I was expecting a good, basic but pleasant hotel as before. I was terribly disappointed! In the intervening years, the management had sold off its rooms to private buyers and rented these out on their behalf. I assume the standard varies, but both rooms I saw were similar.
The first room was ground floor (which I never want as these are less secure, prone to more noise and attract more insects)... but the main problem was the view from the terrace... a large, ugly water well covered in a rusty mesh. There was no way we would want to sit out on that!
The room smelled strongly of mothballs and there was no fridge, as had been standard on my previous visit (and at its sister hotel, the Dona Alcina, 7 years before). Even in the sunny morning, the room was dark and dingy, and we had to put the lights on.
I asked for a move, the first time I've ever done so at a hotel, and we were put in a room of a similar standard, but on the top floor of a different block.. still no view except the side of the block next door, but the higher position meant slightly less dark (still a bit gloomy, though). This room also smelled of mothballs (as did the clothes we put in the wardrobe). Again, no fridge was provided, and although I asked for one, we never did see one. The adjoining room was screwed closed, which used to house the washroom with fridge, 2nd bedroom and balcony... so clothes/towels had to be washed in the shower.
The hotel was virtually empty and 3 of the 4 restaurants had been closed down, so there was only the poolside restaurant at the Dona Alcina still open (Dom F used to have a speciality Indian and poolside of its own, and Dona A had a rooftop Chinese).
I think the bar may have been open at the pool in the evening, but as it had just one waiter and no customers, it was hard to tell!
There was no entertainment as before (though this was advertised in the brochure).
The room staff and security were polite and helpful as ever, and rooms were cleaned regularly... but I have always found the reception staff a little surly (not at all typical of the Goan people in general).
As we spent so little time there, I got used to the lower standard.. and if the price was right, I suppose I'd go again just for a cheap base, but this year I'm going to the Highland, which is a star-rating higher, has more facilities, a better reputation and is cheaper on late deal even than Dona Alcina 7 years ago! If I can get a diffrent hotel at the same price or less, I would not return to the Dom Francisco unless it improves dramatically.
Goan friends told us the Dom Francisco and Dona Alcina had run down over the years, and it had developed a bad reputation.
I truly hope that the refurb/management change can turn it around again into the good, basic, budget hotel that it once was... but I do wonder how possible this is when the units have been sold (this I know to be true because I saw one of them advertised in a property magazine while I was last there)."
- Travel date: Mon 13th of November 2006
Budget hotel, excellent holoiday
"Booked this holiday 12 months in advance and then felt very uneasy after reading the reviews (predominatley bad!) Arrived Jan 2006. The flight was good, arrived late afternoon. The reception was alittle disorganised at the hotel. Room allocation seemed to be on an adhock basis. We were put in a room that we later found out was a staff room extremley basic but clean (the room was close to the front of the hotel and was noisy.) We left the room and went straight to find the beach, FANTASTIC introduction to Canndolim, we went to the beach shack with the most people in it and ordered a Fish curry rice (AMAZING) The shack is a must TIDAL WAVE, as is the fish curry rice at Â£1 and one of the best meals we had all holiday. Sunbeds were saved for us every day at TIDAL WAVE and we were really looked after by the staff. The following day we asked for a change of room which was facilitated with minimal fuss.
The hotel is ok, facilities are alittle basic but nothing to worry about, the rooms are clean, you can request an extra mattress (the one on the bed is about 5cm deep (not that comfortable) Would go again if the price was right to this hotel. Staff are always friendly and helpful, the location is great. By Goan standards the hotel is what you should expect (similar to a 2 star in Turkey). If you need lush rooms then maybe consider a different location (Caribean). Overall had an amazing holiday, swam with elephants, saw some incredable things and met great people, booked to go in 2007 staying at th ePhoenix park which was recommeded while on holiday. Go with an open mind and ENJOY!"
- Travel date: Sat 22nd of July 2006
Disgusting filthy hovel
"I booked a package through Direct Holidays, flew to Goa on My Travel 30th March 2006, we booked in and was shown to a room right at the back of the hotel which consisted of several rows of run down buildings (if you can call it a hotel) we walked for several minutes across broken paths and mud, the room we entered was padlocked up, on entering the room I was amazed it was filthy the sheets were dirty there was a strong musty smell the bathroom was disgusting,the fridge was dirty and the wardrobe was filthy, there was also a door in the room which was bolted up, I complained and said I could not stay in this room, we where then tracked across further broken paths and mud to another room the only improvement was the second room had air con and a T.V but again the room was filthy, this was my 12th visit to Goa so I am not blind to basic accommodation. At this point we left and found an apartment."
- Travel date: Sun 16th of April 2006
Truly Awful; apathetic staff
"Booked the Dom Francisco through Travelmasti for a 5 day vacation for my girlfriend and I. It's advertised as a 3 star, but no phone or TV in the rooms. Rooms were quite filthy, with cigarette butts scattered liberally on the balcony, and suspicious brown stains on the bedsheets. Room had pathetic, bordello-style lighting (one RED and one GREEN lightbulb!!) and I had to bribe staff to clean my room. Bathroom was also quite below par.
The beach is quite a walk-- about 15 minutes across the street. Pool is about average but the hotel tends to be filled with very loud Brit charter tourists-- two of which insisted on having a conversation across the pool while clad in their nightgowns. Thoroughly avoidable.
After three days of this nonsense I demanded a refund from my travel agent and took off to the 5 star Mahindra. The manager is a (-) who refuses to lift a finger to help out; staff is helpful but there is only so much they can do. AVOID!"
- Travel date: Tue 11th of April 2006
Dom Francisco improves under new management
"We booked a last minute 'fly and flop' to Goa and the deal was so cheap that we were prepared to change hotels in Candolim if we didn't like the Dom Francisco. The hotel was basic but fine and we spent the full 3 weeks there. We were allocated a room overlooking the lane at the side of the hotel so noise from the pool area was never a problem, the room and bedlinen were very clean, there was a fan, balcony, easy chairs, fridge, and a fully tiled en-suite shower. After the first night we asked for extra mattresses as the beds had only a very thin mattress - these were supplied while we went to the beach for the day. The decor is very basic, the bathroom had an ancient looking wall-mounted water heater which was fine once we mastered it, the electricity supply was a bit erratic (as with everywhere in India) and yes, the included breakfast is toast, tea or coffee - but for a few rupees you can order extra food, both European and Indian. The staff are a real asset to this hotel and make up for its 'tired' appearance. They were always polite and ready to help whenever we asked. This hotel came under new management while we were there and we saw real improvements over the three weeks, particularly in the speed and efficiency of service in the poolside bar/restaurant and in the reception area. If you are looking for 5 star luxury this is not the place to go, but it is a perfectly serviceable base, within walking distance of good restaurants, beaches, tuk-tuks and taxis. There are also travel agents nearby which we used to book 'side trips' to local sights and to Agra and Hampi."
- Travel date: Sun 1st of January 2006
Loved the whole Holiday
"Me and my mum went to Goa in Feb 2005. As soon as i got off the plane i had a bit of a culture shock due to the security and all the beeping of the horns when you leave the airport. When we arrived at our hotel (Dom Francisco) i loved it from then on. The room boys were very kind and helpful. Rooms were Basic but very clean and tidy. We had a room which over looked the poolside which was lovely. Bar staff were very kind and helpful. The walk down to the Beach is an experiance due to all the Taxi drivers, people out side their shops and of course the busy roads. We went to the Boat shack which is on Candolim beach and has very very kind staff. Dom Fransisco is placed at the top of a street which is full of bars and resturants. We had a lovely meal in the Fishermans Cove. The people in there are really friendly and kind. If you want to go to a party i suggest that you go to Club Cubana (night club in sky) It will the best night of your holiday i can assure you that. I am going back to Goa in December for 1 month with my mum. We can not wait."
- Travel date: Mon 28th of March 2005