Condé Nast Traveller India previews one of the first International chains to open in North Goa; the newly opened Swissotel Goa is conveniently located near Calangute beach. Charukesi Ramadurai, freelancer for Condé Nast Traveller India reviews the property exclusively for the magazine.
Photographs by Kate Wilson
Down a narrow, twisty lane, just off the road leading to Calangute beach
, is the new Swissôtel Goa
— Swissôtel’s second offering in India after Kolkata
. The all-white, contemporary building, though slightly at odds with the old, Portuguese-style homes surrounding it, has a light and airy feel. The spacious lobby is enhanced by a pretty lily pond and hundreds of glass tea-holders, which at sundown transform it from a plain space into a warm and inviting lounge.
Swissôtel, a 15-minute walk from Calangute beach, has been classified as a resort by the management. Since there isn’t much to do in terms of activities inside the complex, guests will either have to spend most of their time on the beach or head outside to sample Goa’s varied shopping and eating options. General manager Chahnaz Gayraud tells me the hotel will happily arrange for cars to and from the beach for a nominal charge. There are also plans to open a beach club with a spa, a multi-cuisine restaurant and a nightclub by the end of the year.
The hotel’s 135 rooms are spread across eight spacious buildings, all connected by internal corridors and poolside walkways. While the rooms are of different sizes (330-440sq ft) and layouts (the property was earlier a serviced apartment complex), they are all brightly-lit, with refreshing clean lines.
The three Executive Suites (420- 680sq ft) are expansive, with a sitting area, dining space and even a guest bathroom. The standard room I stayed in came with a great view of the vast pool. To my delight, it also came with its own Lavazza coffee machine and a desk console that allowed you to control all your gadgets—iPad, smartphone, laptop—from one switchboard.
As with the façade, white is the predominant colour inside the hotel—a welcome relief from the bright and chaotic Calangute market that’s just around the corner. Any monotony is broken up by artwork from Krsna Mehta’s ‘Pop goes Goa’ collection, most of which is beach-themed and features sunglasses, fish, beach umbrellas and deck chairs. “We wanted something to reflect local life, so that you know where you are as soon as you open your eyes,” says Susie Lim-Kannan, director of media relations at Swissôtel Goa.
Although the restaurants were not open at the time of going to press, chef Amar Chawla managed to whip up a delicious Indian meal at very short notice. Once open, dining options will include North Cafe
, an all-day restaurant and coffee shop with an emphasis on Indian and Goan food; Grab & Go deli
, which serves pre-packaged snacks and drinks to those in a hurry; North16
(16 being Calangute’s postal code) bar; and a 24- hour poolside dining area. The hotel’s Camp16 (a small play area for kids) and three conference rooms will make sure both families and business travellers are well taken care of. While Swissôtel is primarily a business hotel chain, in Goa they have carefully allowed the Sussegado (laidback) spirit, to characterise the property.The Goan staff—who have been trained by their Swiss counterparts—have a refreshing attitude: they are friendly without being fawning. The management takes pride in the fact that it is among the first international hotel chains to open in North Goa, and it already played host to a large number of visitors during last year’s Christmas- New Year season. “They liked my chef’s cooking so much that they ate all their meals at the resort,” says Gayraud.
Tempted?! Condé Nast Traveller gives you an opportunity to win a night stay for two at the newly opened Swissôtel in Goa at their Calangute property (inclusive of a complimentary breakfast for two, airport pick–up and upgrade to a Grand Room). For this you need to have the maximum reviews on burrp.com
in the month of May and you could win a free luxurious holiday.
*Conditions apply - Reservations are subject to availability
370/14, Porba Vaddo, Calangute
(0832 674 5555; www.swissotel.com)
Doubles from 8,000
Most airlines fly to Goa from major Indian cities. Swissôtel Goa is about an hour’s drive from Dabolim Airport. The hotel can arrange for airport transfers for their guests.
What To Do
Spend a day lazing on the beach or go for water sports like jet skiing and parasailing. Adventure-lovers can hire a bike to explore old Goa’s colourful houses and pretty churches. Shop at weekly flea markets, including Arpora’s Saturday Night Market.
See our Goa destination guide on www.cntraveller.in
Pick up Condé Nast Traveller April-May issue to learn about the best in travel.
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