Goa Travel Guide
Rumors have been swirling for quite some time about where the second Planet Hollywood hotel would land (Las Vegas being the first, of course.) First, it was said that China, Panama, and Qatar were the front runners. Then, over two years later, we wondered if Orlando could make sense. This week, the announcement was officially made, and it looks like we have a Cinderella on our hands: Goa, India, has pulled off the upset.
Utorda Beach will be the exact location of the new beachfront Planet Hollywood, which is scheduled to open by the end of this year. To be managed by Wyndham, it will feature 115 rooms, 15 luxury tents, spa, and multiple swimming pools. Aside from general leisure travelers, the target market of the hotel will be yoga retreats along with the Indian weddings market.
The property is being built with low-rise architecture in traditional Goan style, with emphasis on detailed sculptures and sprawling landscapes. In terms of the latter, there will be 10 acres of tropical gardens and coconut orchards.
We thought we'd covered it all when it came to the Swiss˘tels brand. Apparently not. Somehow the snuck in and added another hotel to their ever increasing portfolio and will be opening a resort hotel in the popular Indian coastal state of Goa this spring.
Unlike the business-centric aura that the brand is known for, The Swiss˘tel Goa is definitely aimed at the leisure set, with its location and layout. The town of Calangute is a popular year-round vacation spot in North Goa, just a one hour flight away from Mumbai and Bangalore and two hours from Delhi.
Instead of a regular tower, the 135 guestrooms and suites will be spread out among eight three-level buildings which will be set in a tropical garden filled with lily ponds and a courtyard pool. The lobby and rooms will also be designed using colorful works by the Indian artist Krishna Mehta. This reminds us of the lively patterns seen in the Swissotel Dresden property, which also broke away from the mold (just a bit) and gave some pizzaz to the Swiss˘tel name.
A Flyertalker who stayed there a couple years back liked the pool and the lobby, but felt overall the hotel was more run-of-the-mill Hyatt than "Park" quality.
So what do we know about this place? Not much. But a quick check on the Web reveals that opinions seem split on this place.
The visitors that enjoyed there stay don't seem blown away, but they felt the place was passable. While the negative reviewers really detested the place. They claim the property is noisy, dirty, has choke inducing food, and worst of all, the "secret garden" is just a couple of limp plants:
The room was also noisy at night when staff were rattling trolley loads of tables back from the functions held in the grounds. The "secret garden" in the upgraded room is an 8' square with a number of limp and dead plants surrounding a paving slab with a cold shower over - we weren't tempted.
As we said, as usual the opinions on this hotel appear to vary, however, you know our stance in a situation like this--we would keep searching for a hotel.