This is the season to travel to Goa. The fresh smell of earth, the salt hanging in the air, the drizzles accumulating on the curb, and impromptu cries of the migratory birds—nature is in full bloom and travellers, just the humble spectator. One of the things that make the trip better is this hotel you choose to check into. By Rashima Nagpal
If you’re unsure about travelling to Goa in the monsoons, you’re missing out on the best experiences that the state has to offer. It is the dream of chasing that endless possibility of outdoor adventure that draws scores of families to this most beloved beach destination. From a hike to the Dudhsagar waterfalls to white water rafting on the Mhadei River; from touring the lush spice gardens to exploring nature and the wildlife at Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary; Goa is all out to surprise you.
One of these surprises, is the hotel you’ll check into. Le Meridien Goa, the stunning property on the bustling Calangute-Candolim belt, has just completed a year since its launch and in the short time, already won three prestigious awards for the world class hospitality it offers. (The Best New Hotel–Upscale award at the Hotel Investment Conference South Asia Awards 2018; the Best International Hotel award at the Business Goa Awards 2018; and the Design Hotel of the Year 2018 award at the Travel & Hospitality Awards, UK)
Drawing from the state’s rich history, Le Méridien Goa lovingly bestows its spaces with an authentic Goan culture and it overwhelms you the moment you walk in. What you see is a seamless blend of traditional and contemporary design employed through the region’s exhaustive history of art. As you move between the restaurant and your room, or between any two spaces for that matter, you’re perpetually in a state of discovery of the two defining settlers of Goa, the Kunbi tribe and the Portuguese; each piece of installation touching upon the cultural nodes of the two races.
Choose from 146 classic rooms, five family studio rooms, or five suites, for a comfortable stay–all feature private balconies that look out to the neighbourhood or the swimming pool. This is a perfect hotel for a staycation as guests looking for a nook they’re most comfortable in, will most certainly find one. At the Library Lounge, discover books on Goan history or catch up on some personal reading time; at the Le Meridien Hub—the social gathering space carved out of the lobby—engage in a conversation with fellow guests over coffee. When you wish to bond with your kids over playtime, head to Le Meridien Family Kids Club, an expansive gaming space for people of all ages.
The Gourmand’s Spot
Le Meridien Goa has Calangute’s hottest dining options, so stay in and explore. For breakfast, head to Latest Recipe, the signature all-day dining restaurant by the pool, that brings to the table international flavours in the form of hearty salads, gourmet burgers, wraps, and popular Goan curries. Later, you can complement a good swim with select cold beers, cocktails, and comfort foods at Plunge Bar. If you fancy Illy coffee, do try some at Longitude 73 in the day; this eclectic lounge transitions into a bar at night. At Jazz & Grills, Goa’s first whiskey bar, savour canapés and international grilled meats along with an extensive menu of premium liquor and cigars over live performances by celebrated local musicians.
If you’re looking for something exclusive and bragworthy, head to the concierge desk for local insight into Goa’s best-kept secrets. Hire a bicycle and ride through a quaint unnamed village, discover a local market to shop at, take a ferry to an island with a picnic lunch packed by the hotel, or take a culture trail and visit churches, Goan villas, and local farms. For a good shopping experience, request the equipped professionals at the hotel to guide you to the heart of entertainment in Calangute.
While there’s plenty to do within the hotel, venture out to the nearby attractions over a week-long Goa visit. Explore Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Mangueshi Temple, tour Fort Aguada and Chapora. With Panjim only 15 kilometres away, one could plan a short escape to this colourful Goan capital too.