10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Best on the beach
"Just to affirm the previous critique...we also stayed at the Leela over Easter, our 2nd visit to this hotel, having gone to the Taj on the previous two occasions. Provided that you can get the Leela for a sensible price (we transferred our allegiance to the Taj when the Leela doubled in price), then in our view this is, at the moment, the better of the two hotels. Would thoroughly recommend the spacious lagoon suites (available through most tour operators for a small margin), BUT pack earplugs if you're a light sleeper since the dawn chorus from the birds on the lagoon starts at 4.30 a.m. This year we were upgraded (FOC hooray!) at the end of the stay to a Club Room- not sure of the price differential (our room wasn't overly special, but our children bagsied the pool suite, that was enormous), but the use of the private pool, and private beach were a bonus. Whilst the main beach is in no way crowded, the pool-side can get busy, at peak periods, so the private pool with only 16 or so well spread out seats, and complimentary water/tea during the day was a little haven. The breakfast in the club area was also superb, and far better to the somewhat indifferent offerings in the main hotel. So -dependent on the price differential -these rooms are worth looking at to stay in a resort within a resort.. I would imagine however that the additional cost outweighs any benefits, in which case suggest you smile nicely at the manager on check in and ask for a free upgrade! Vis a vis restaurants, whilst the Indian Samovar can be quiet, the food is sublime, and if you book a sofa seat next to the chef's window, you can see the food being prepared and there is more atmosphere. Do not miss the lamb with spinach! We too were disappointed by Betty's this time- most curries seemed to come in grey gloop. Drinks are expensive in the Leela- needlessly so when the shacks offer an alternative source during the day. Suggest you try and develop a palate for the local Grovers wine, it's absolutely fine and will only imrpove as the Indian vineyards mature. The beach shack "Pearls" however, just to the RHS of the Leela beach as you face the sea is great- selling gin, Grovers wine, beers etc etc at 1/3 of hotel with clean ice as well. It serves a mean vegetable biryani during the day, as well as delicious fresh sea food (and no funny tummies as a result). It's a quick 2/3 minute dash across the hot sand, and well worth the effort- sit on the seats on the sand in the sea breeze, and a parasol will appear- in our opinion, a far more pleasant experience than dining inside. Didn't try it at night however. All in all, a superb hotel and situation, with charming staff. ."
- Travel date: 1st May 2006
Leela Palace, WOW!!!
"We have just returned from 2 weeks in paradise. The Leela Palace is a fab hotel in an amazing setting surrounded by tropical gardens, sleepy lagoons, a stunning beach, wonderful swimming pool, golf course, a croquet lawn and very comfortable rooms. The staff are very friendly and always willing to stop and chat, giving you the benefit of their knowledge of the area. The breakfasts are good but a little repetitive. We found that if you have a really good breakfast and take a few pieces of fresh fruit from the fruit bar out with you it's enough to keep you going until an evening meal, although I guess that would depend on what your appetite is like in the heat. It is pretty expensive to eat in the hotel and not many guests stayed in of an evening. Most would go up the road to Bettys Place or Fishermans Wharf. A taxi will take you to Cavelossim for RS100 (about one pound fifty pence) where there are more restaurants but they all seem to serve the same meals - mostly curries which you would expect, and the odd pasta dish. Celebrities use the Leela Palace which will give you an idea of the standard of hotel. We were told that Paul McCartney and family had recently visited, Bill Clinton stayed in March (there's a large photo in the lobby) and Jordan and Peter Andre according to other guests had recently been. The rooms all have gorgeous views over the lagoons and what surprised us was that there were no mosquitos. We figured they must treat the water to keep them down. Dressing gowns and slippers are provided along with extremely large towels in the lovely bathrooms which have a 3/4 bath and large walk in shower. On one occasion we found a cockroach in the bathroom but they certainly weren't a problem. There was even a can of bug spray supplied just in case! Bottled water is provided daily (about 5 bottles a day), tea and coffee making facilities are kept stocked up and ice is delivered early evening. We took a couple of bottles of duty free spirits with us which we thoroughly enjoyed over ice on the balcony, whilst watching the kingfishers dive for their meals. I really can't fault the Leela Palace on anything and would recommend it to anyone wishing to visit Goa."
- Travel date: 1st May 2006
Best of the bunch...for now.
"Having been to Taj Exotica twice, 2003 & 2004 we decided to stay at Leela this time. We have visited the hotel several times over the last 8 years and have seen it in various states of repair / maintainance. This time it was very well groomed other than cosmetic aging of the pink external paintwork. The gardens and lagoons are quite stunning due entirely to the huge number of staff attending to detail. Our lagoon suite was superb; the idea of creating a large suite from 2 rooms is fine, however 2 televisions in the bedroom and sitting room is rather superfluous. His and her marble bathrooms is a very indulgent touch. The 2 balconies would be better if made into one, even though each is generous in size. The Jamavar restaurant serves superb Indian cuisine but don`t expect ambience. Riverside Italian restaurant made grand claims of quality due to the addition of some chef by the name of Nancy Kinchela, American I think. We dined there on 8/4 but the menu was the same as 2 years previous. My artichoke starter was very "nouvelle cuisine", huge plate mainly covered by single rocket leaves to look more substantial. Nice food but pretentious and old hat. Lobster risotto was top price main course which we both chose ( 50th birthday! ) but disappointing - too rich and unbalanced flavours. Imported wine prices in all good restaurants in Goa are ridiculously overpriced so why bother-60% import tax dosn`t translate to 1000% mark-ups. The only really disappointing thing about the leela is that there are no good independent restaurants within walking distance.Betty`s seemed very popular with the few million ants we saw there one afternoon,no doubt due to the mess which hadn`t been cleaned up from the previous night(s).Fisherman`s wharf is owned by Holiday Inn nearby. We had a look but weren`t impressed by the location or menu.It appeared that both these places would be noisy at night and that is what we least want from our time in South Goa.The shacks ( 4 )on Mobor Beach are ok for a drink and a snack but underwhelming for full meals. We took a 20 minute taxi to Benaulim beach several times to revisit Sun & Moon and Mateus Zumbrai & Sons, 1st on right and 1st on left respectively of Taj Exotica. Both still easily the best around in our opinion. The 12 hole pitch and putt golf course is a true test of skill. It is far more testing than that of the Taj Exotica and is very attractive. The Taj course hasn`t been developed at all since 2004 and is raw in comparison. I play off 12 hcp and struggled to make par at Leela. Play early ( before 10.30 ) or late ( after 4.30 ) to avoid serious dehydration. The beach is pleasant, the sea is about 100 metres out at this point in South Goa. The sea comes in much closer, about 30 metres, at Benaulim. The currents and waves are very strong at this time of year so be careful. Sea temp around 28 deg. To sum up, the best holiday we have ever had."
- Travel date: 15th April 2006
Loved this hotel
"We had the most wonderful stay at The Leela Goa. The staff were polite, friendly and could not do enough for you. The hotel is large and spread out but you can get the hotel buggies to pick you up and drop you off wherever you are going. We ate in all of the restaurants and couldn't fault any of them. The room was fabulous, with a breathtaking view of the lagoon. The beach was to die for with plenty of shacks serving good quality food at very cheap prices. There are sellers on the beach selling jewellery and beachware. It was embarrasing to see English tourists and Russians "shooing" them away and totally ignoring them. Take time to talk to them, they are charming, hospitable and very interesting. If you buy off them, and it is extremely cheap, they do not approach you again unless it is to say hello or ask how you are. On our last day, I cancelled what would have been my 3rd massage of the holiday and gave 2 beach sellers the money instead. The photo I have is priceless - both of them were sobbing on the beach as if they had won the lottery. We have tried to book this hotel for christmas but it is fully booked - we will be going back there."
- Travel date: 12th April 2006
"We had very much been looking forward to our holiday in Goa splitting our time between the Taj Exotica and the Leela. Both were disappointing - by general standards I would say 3.5 stars - but if you know that and accept it it is possible to have a lovely holiday. The Leela out-charms the Taj by a country mile."
- Travel date: 18th March 2006
Great Resort Hotel
"Could not disagree more with last review... The lobby is one of the beautiful I have come across. More of a "resort" than a "hotel" ie spread out but never far unless you are old or infirm. This means large rooms with big bathrooms. The Leela looks its best at night - carved stone temple statues, candles and fountains. The official hotel photos do not do it justice. Fantastic tropical gardens with amazing plant life. Don't be put off by the golf course as it small & fits in with landscaping down to the beach. However if you are serious about the game you may be disappointed. As other reviews mentions meals can be expensive esp wine (but really only by comparison to Indian prices.) Just eat out a few nights at the many other possibilities elsewhere. Fishermans Wharf is good & within walking distance at a quarter of the price! Friendly staff - could not recommend more highly for R&R."
- Travel date: 18th March 2006
"We were very disappointed by this hotel. The first room we were shown was far away from the main facilities and we asked to be shown other rooms. We thought all the rooms were very tired looking and eventually we were offered a room upgrade at no extra cost. Certainly this room was better as it had a seperate living area and 2 bathrooms. Nonetheless we felt that the resort lacked in atmosphere and the restaurant prices, particularly the wine were extortionate. If you do decide to go eat out at Betty's place just a few minutes along the road. the golf course was very good for beginners."
- Travel date: 4th March 2006
Loved it, we go back every year
"The Leela is simply beautiful, the Goan people are the nicest people in the world who will bend over backwards for you, we have been going there since 1999 when our youngest daughter was 6 months old, people told me I was mad to take a new baby to India, not a problem, I took everything I needed, ie, nappies, babymilk (hotel would of provided and did on the odd occaion) nappies, etc, but you can buy everything in the village which is a 20 minute walk away or about Â£2.00 in a cab, and they wait and bring you back. The Hotel has several restaurants, Indian, Italian, Goan, International. All brilliant, the children mainly ate in their room, their choice not ours, we ate on the beach and in the 'Shacks', locally caught fish and in the 6 years we have been to Goa none of us have every had a tummy problem, just outside the hotel is 'Betty's Place', not only do they serve fresh fish, pork and chicken, but the owner will take you early morning fishing, 5am and you can catch your lunch/dinner. Its brilliant, last year was our 20th Wedding anniversary and my husband took me to the Hyatt which is about 20 miles south of the Airport, we had a lovely week, the bedroom was out of this world but it was not a 6 star hotel, people were lovely, but not a patch on the Leela. We are going back this Easter April 2006, I know it is going to be hot but we are prepared for it, we usually go for Christmas, nothing quite like Santa arriving on a Elephant!!, our girls are now 18, 14 and 6 and they absolutley love it and cant wait for Easter. They have a small golf course, which when we first went it had 3 holes!!! so hubby went round about 3 times, I think it now has 5 holes, so he usually finds himslef a buddy and off he goes at 4pm, back for happy hour in the beach bar. The bedroom (Pavillion Rooms) are huge and the bathrooms marble, lovely and clean, you cannot fault them, the 3 girls share a room and we are next door, you can borrow Video/dvd's from reception which the girls loved and each room has a cd player so take some cd's. We are a well travelled family and this is by far the nicest destination we have ever been to, where we all enjoy everything and we have no complaints, its an early to bed and get up early holiday, usually lights out by 11, no disco's or flashing lights, the highlight of each 'shack' is Party Night, where they have a firework display, the Health and safety Executive would love this, they throw fireworks at each other and put 'dead' ones in their pockets, its a real eye opener, we usually stand very close to the sea edge or the bar!!! It's a long way to go but totally worth it."
- Travel date: 14th February 2006
Go for the Club, its well worth it.
"We booked a Lagoon Suite with Somak for Christmas. Flight with Monarch (upgraded seats) was on time and friendly flight attendants. After seeing so many bad reviews about Monarch I was dreading going with them, but I would use them again. Back to the Leela, The first room we were shown was 805, it was awful, you could just about see the Lagoon through the giant palm trees, needless to say we were very disappointed and asked for a better room. After seeing a few rooms, we were shown a Club Suite, which we decided to upgrade to, and it was well worth the extra money.I must add that Terence Motha (the assistant manager-front desk) was very efficient in helping us get a room we were totally happy with. We had what we considered to be the best sea view in the hotel, great accommodation, great Butler Service, Breakfast on the Balcony daily at a time to suit us,nothing was too much trouble, Club Suites also had their own bit of Beach which was lovely, most of the time we were the only couple there. The push for sales on exorbitantly priced wine did get on our nerves, as neither of us drink a lot. The Jamavar (Indian) restaurant was good , We thought the Italian was only average, but we also liked Susegado (Fish)restaurant on the Beach, but all of the restaurants are pricey. ( I wish 5* hotels would learn that if they kept their food and drink prices down, they would keep more of their guests eating and drinking in them). The restaurant at Fisherman's Wharf was our favourite, It is owned by the Holiday Inn, it was reasonably priced and great food. Pearls Beach Shack next to the Leela also did very good food at good prices. We also went on 2 Boat Trips, one to watch the Dolphins, and one on the river Sal to watch the Birds, both were very enjoyable. All in all we had one of our best holidays, and we would return to the Leela, but only to the Club."
- Travel date: 21st January 2006
"Read rave reviews about this place, expectations were high.Suffice to say this place did not let us down. Service was excellent, staff very friendly, food excellent, esp' the Indian.Stayed over Xmas, place busy but service was maintained. Dont expect this to be cheap holiday you will pay UK prices for everything.Did go out and about but got caught by the Goan runs so stayed mainly in the hotel.Wanted a total chill and thats what we got, worth every penny."
- Travel date: 2nd January 2006
The Leela Goa is also called
- Leela Palace Resort Hotel
- leela kempinski goa cavelossim
- leela goa