Sandalwood Hotel & Retreat, Dona Paula
Vainguinim Valley Dona Paula
Phone Number 832-2452190 www.sandalwoodgoa.com
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My tryst with Goa. All over. A much needed escape from the heat, the grime, the mundane and nagging drone of the decibel immune traffic buzz. We eloped to the comforting arms of the welcoming seas, the quietude, the desolate, and the rains !!! Rains. Which had not then touched the earth in this side of the world. The soul was parched and crying to be enveloped in the embracing arms of the comforting clouds. As always. The science of flying intrigues me. How it lifts me and drops me at exactly the same place as I wish to be in. We had landed at Dabolim airport in the deep of the night, welcomed by the ohh- so - unfamiliar drizzle which transformed into a steady downpour as we hit the Kochi - Panvel highway, on our way to our destination, Sandalwood Hotel & Resort, Dona Paula, a very posh locality in the south of Goa. The area is cocooned in a quiet clearing after the main road suddenly turns a sharp downhill, into a clearing surrounded by beautiful, palatial private bungalows. Being cordially escorted at 2 am into the reception, and being welcomed with a refreshing Kokum welcome drink was a complete surprise! Huge Sandalwood branded umbrellas escorted us nice and dry into our suite. A large living room along with a pantry and an equally large bedroom The large suite housed a spacious living space and a dining space with a well ensconced pantry strategically located with a well stocked bed tea larder. A very well appointed and well stocked bathroom comprised the inner quarters. We were welcomed with a whiff of fresh air as we stepped on to the two attached balconies with the living room as well as the bedroom. The super thick mattress beckoned us to quickly change and tuck in for the night. There is enough time to explore tomorrow. Dawn brought with it, ominous clouds, had enveloped the expansive horizon. Threatening to cancel our plans for the day, but we were not to be discouraged. Armed with umbrellas, we climbed into our vehicle and set off for sightseeing towards Heritage Goa, known as Old Goa. What it is, to experience the sweet, adventurous, absolutely exciting and pleasurable feeling of sightseeing in intermittent rains, has to be truly experienced to be described. Our first stop was the Basilica of Bom Jesus, a 17th Century imposing and rambling church building, made in the most brilliant colonial architecture with a worn- out red brick stunning exterior, which time has withered, but not been able to diminish its grandeur. The church houses the remains of St Francis Xavier, patron Saint. This church becomes the focal point of mass pilgrimage during St Francis Xavier Day on the 3rd of December. Our next destination was the Archaeological Museum, massive store house of discoveries and their stories starting from the 6th century BC to the 17th century Portuguese arrival in India. A massive statue of the Dom Alfonso, the architect of Portuguese Indian Empire greeted us at the door. As if guarding the heritage till today! Statues of Shiva, Parvati, Ganesh on one hand and numerous weapons of the ancient and medieval India to the culture of the foreign invasions- the museum is a delight for the history hungry tourists! On the other side, giant size ships and real anchors made of stone, in those days, have been displayed complete with fishing nets and masts hanging all around !. The serene atmosphere of Se Cathedral beckoned us as we came out of the Museum, our historic buds satiated! The dress code here is to dress in a and not show any skin, to pay respect to the deity inside. Se Cathedral - The largest church in Asia is again a 17th century achievement of typical old world Portuguese architecture. The celestial, white interior features six depictions from the life of St Catherine to whom the cathedral is dedicated. The walls are covered in the most colourful and varied depictions of Jesus Christ that one can see anywhere !. Fontainhas, our final destination for the day, is the heritage quarter of the capital city of Panaji, lying along the banks of the ancient Ourem creek. The new commercial complex of Patto along with the main Kadamba bus stand, lies just across the creek from here. This old district or latin quarter has a completely different atmosphere from the hustle and bustle of the main city, with its Mediterranean appearance, narrow streets and overhanging balconies of the ancient Portuguese style houses. The colourful houses, with their multi colour roof and walls, added a huge dash of colour to the rain drenched atmosphere. The narrow lines lining the exceptional Portuguese style architecture of the beautiful villas, posed a mysterious and adventurous turn at every bend !!. A sumptuous lunch of fried prawns and fried pomfrets later, we dived into the large swimming pool with rains giving us company from the skies. Evening brought with it torrential rains and cyclone which forced us to restrict ourselves to the plush confines of our hotel with hot food and the incessant musical sounds of the rains hitting the tiled roof for company. Next day was planned to visit the pristine, white sand beaches. We started with the private beach off our hotel, named Vanguinim beach, a 3 minute walk from our property through a narrow, picturesque stoned walkway, through the well manicured garden. Extremely clean and well maintained with safe places to store your clothes and valuables, ably watched over by a guard stationed by the beach. We decided to have lunch at one of the numerous shacks dotting Calangute beach and throw in some street shopping with it. Looking at the welling crowd we quickly moved to our next halt at Candolim Beach, right in front of The Park Hotel. An absolutely white and well monitored beach with a big team of life guards complete with the life guard towers and jeeps, gave a lot of reassurance to people venturing towards the restless sea. Turbulent waves, threatened the adventurous people to move back- high tide was setting in as were the clouds crowding in the skies. In no time, pouring rain ensued which propelled us frantically to our vehicle to take cover. The men of my family decided to play an energetic game of water volleyball in the pool after which. We took refuge in the beautiful garden bar at the hotel, the high point of the property with a fully trained staff to pamper your liquor taste buds! I would like to mention here, that the staff is extremely polite, well trained and cooperative and pro takes care of all the needs of their guests, right from the gateman to the Manger. We had kept the last day, for the final drive around in case we had missed out any thing. We finally landed at Panjim Market, an upper class market just off the beautiful jetty housing the most famous cruises like Deltin and Kingfisher. The son was keen to check out the musical instrument stock at Furtados. The most striking aspect of the place hits you like a bolt no one will honk at you or try to overtake you, no matter, how much in a hurry the person behind you may be in. And someone going from a metro, would be overwhelmed at such a least we all were! Amazing culture of an amazing you want to come back again and again !. And it was time to head to the adieu to the land of surprises, seas, serenity and the tranquil topography, and the restless waves enveloping you into the folds, to make you feel the expanse of the universe, to feel exist within it !. Adieu we meet again!
We spent good time at this hotel. The hotel is fully justified, its 4 stars! Breakfast was of two kinds of fruit, one type of juice, always prepare an omelet with ingredients of your choice, one vegetarian and spicy soup, cereal with milk, potatoes, tea, coffee, one kind of dessert. Also they prepare delicious lunch, but pricey The hotel has a beach, though not its own, but at walking distance. Hotel has a special deck chairs and sun loungers, towels guard issues The hotel itself is clean, cleaning is good and done on every day basis! The staff were friendly, always smiling. On the tour make lunch-boxes. Iron and ironing board bring the first treatment at the reception The rooms are cosy, even nice. The rooms have a small kitchen, kettle, TV, wardrobe as bollards, safe, balcony with table and chairs In general, the hotel is good if you are going to move a lot to Goa and spend the night in the hotel (as we did). Goa is amazing and the hotel has wonderful staff with good beaches and entertainment.
Good place to visit for relaxation. Easy to locate, very near to the city and all facility available within 5kms radius. Hotel appearance was not so great but it was good inside. Interiors and exteriors were nice. Staff service was very good. Hospitality was good and management was friendly. Rooms were maintained and had Pool view. Amenities were in good in working condition. Food was available and quality was good. Food was hygienic, food is reasonable. Smooth transition during check-in and check-out. No indoor activities but had outdoor activities. Hotel provided sightseeing facility. It's value for money and happy to stay. Overall rating is good.
One of the 2 self planned honeymoon locations (other being Ramada Resort) and it didn't disappoint us. Best part was quiet surroundings including Vainguinim Beach. Property is situated down under palm trees. Place is calm, clean and pollution free. Rooms are decent and so are the surroundings. Comfortable bed and nice balcony view Complimentary breakfast was delicious;) Staff is really humble and helped us a lot. Also they have travel desk tie up with third party. We had a nice outing through cab booked here. Need to mention cab driver (Diwakar). Without his planning and help, our trip wouldn't have been that successful. Lucky if you catch him, when you visit here nice, clean, calm beach was the best part. Narrow path that connects to beach is wonderful with small water canal and greenery. Beach will give lot of privacy. It's on the backdrop of hill. Leave you worries. Go and have a blast. This property will provide you a pleasant stay. Overall we had a great stay here! Would love to visit again.
It's a good resort so far as location and facilities are concerned. Rooms are spacious and clean. Staff is helpful and service is prompt. I have not used the swimming pool so cannot comment. Food quality was good and tasty as well. There is no restaurant or food stall near the hotel. So basically you have to take food from the hotel it self. No choice to explore local food outside. No grocery store in the nearby vicinity. It's a kilometre away up hills. They provide you a free shuttle service to main town twice in a day in a fixed time. So guys keep you daily needs ready with you Friends I did not find this hotel suitable for stay with family because:. 1. They allow parties to be organized and they allow smoking, consumption of alcohol and loud music. They continue it even if you tell them that it's disturbing for the guests. My room was at the first floor of the hotel and till the party continued I had to bear with the loud music, smell of alcohol and cigarette smoke. I complained at the reception and they said to me that it would continue till 10pm, as there is a party booking. It's very annoying. So, a big no from my side if you are with your family to spend some quality time 2. They will not provide you a bed for your kid even if you mention the age of the child while booking through online portal. Charges are Rs. 750 extra for only mattress and Rs. 1250 if you want a bed. If you are booking online through a travel site then even if you mention the age of the child correctly and pay extra for it, it's not absolute to get a bed for your child. You better call the customer care or the hotel directly and ask how to go about it. Because you have to pay extra if you have a child but that extra charge might get you a mattress not bed. Decide I won't prefer this hotel in my next visit to Goa at least with my family
Sandalwood Hotel & Retreat is ranked #3 among the 28 hotels in Dona Paula with an average rating of 5.6 out of 7. It is one of the 2, 4-star in Dona Paula. On HolidayIQ, it has a total of 195 photos, 371 text reviews and 2 video reviews. it is rated top for its Room, Service and Destination. It was also named winner of the Better Holiday Awards in 2017 under Great Location.
The online booking price of the hotel ranges between Rs 6,000 to Rs 14,000 per night. The hotel offer 69 rooms to check availability or to avail complimentary breakfast, we recommend contacting the hotel to check if the final tariff includes it.
The ambience and the location of the hotel makes it a suitable option for variety of travellers. Family (37%) and Couple (34%) are the most common type of travellers that like to stay here. 46% of guests enjoy the hotel's relaxed environment, whereas 22% have rated the ambience as romantic.
Although the hotel is a suitable stay option throughout the year for travellers, book your accommodation in the months of July, Aug and Sept for the best experience.
Sandalwood Hotel & Retreat is located at Dona Paula . Dona Paula Beach (2 Kms), National Oceanography Institute (2 Kms) and The Governor's House - Cabo Raj Niwas (3 Kms) are some of the popular sightseeing attractions located near the hotel.
If you are in need for airport transfers or require a car for sightseeing around the city or you have to do an early check-in, then we recommend contacting the hotel directly and requesting for these additional services. All of the available amenities ensure your stay is enjoyable and free from any hassles.
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