Last September, we planned a trip to Goa with our eleven month old son. This was going to be our first holiday together and thus I was equally excited and anxious. While browsing through the various options for an accommodation, we decided to settle for a resort that could customize our requirements related to the infant and his baby food. A quiet beach like Sinquerim was an additional advantage. That is how we started considering Vivanta by Taj, Fort Aguda (also known as Taj Fort Aguda resort and spa) as a viable option.
My husband had called the central reservation number of Taj group to initiate the process. For confirmation, we had to send a mail detailing out the number of families and total members( we were two families each comprising of a couple and infant) along with our credit card details. They sent us the confirmation mail the very next day. Just the day before we were scheduled to leave, we received a call from the resort re-confirming our booking and arrangement for a pick up from Dabolim Airport.
The journey –
On the scheduled day, we boarded an Indigo flight from Kolkata to reach Dabolim airport around 1:30 p.m. The other family (our friends) from Delhi had already reached half an hour before us and were immediately picked up for the resort. Once we came out of the airport, we located a representative from the Taj group holding a placard with our names. We were handed over bottles of water and wet tissues immediately and taken to the outlook traveler that was scheduled to take us to the resort. The traveler had six more people, some of them booked for the Taj Holiday Village located adjacent to the Vivanta by Taj.
This was our third visit to Goa but the first time that we were staying in this part of the city. The picturesque view throughout the journey took away the exhaustion. On arrival at the resort, after the mandatory security checks, we were welcomed with garlands made of beads and fresh drinks. While checking in at the counter, we figured out that the room allotted to us was a little farther away from the room occupied by our friends. The Manager at the counter, Mandira immediately took it up and got it resolved by changing our room to 214, adjacent to our friends. Thus began the famous hospitality of the Taj group.
We had opted for Deluxe Delight Sea View room during booking. The room was quite spacious with a king sized bed, bed side tables, air conditioner, fridge, TV and set of table and chairs. We saw a bunch of fruits, home made chocolates and a bottle of wine kept on the table to welcome us. However what immediately caught our attention was the gorgeous view of the Fort and Sinquerim beach from our huge window pane that was also overlooking the garden below. The property is so close to the sea that one could easily hear the roaring of sea waves distinctly during nights. Having stayed at other five star resorts, I must say that I was a little disappointed by the bathroom which was of moderate size, contained just the basic amenities expected in a five star resort and had an issue of not drying up quick enough resulting in messy floors. The property has such amazing sit out options that one would hardly be expected to stay indoors much.
Taj group leaves no stone unturned to delight their customers. In the three days that we spent there, we were made to feel so welcome and comfortable that we ended up being part of a bigger family. Right from the front desk staffs to the porters to the house keeping attendants, everyone was polite, courteous, ready to go an extra mile if need be to ensure we were satisfied. We needed baby blankets and additional pillows for our infant and they arranged it in no time. I would say the same about their restaurant staffs. Right from getting two baby chairs arranged for every meal that we had at any of their in-house restaurants to getting customized meals like mashed vegetable khichdi to yoghurt made by the chef , every process just took a single request and it was catered to immediately. There are staffs who I will always remember for being so kind and sweet to our kids. In a particular instant, my son had fallen sick and gone without food for most of the day. When one of the staffs in the restaurant came to know of the situation she immediately requested the chef to come and talk to us to see if there’s anything that custom made for the baby. That banana smoothie did wonders and I will always stay grateful to the staff called Rose who actually treated us as if we were her own. If one chooses to stay at Taj, I can assure from my experience that they will be spoilt for choice.
There are five dining options here – Morisco, Il Kamino, SFX, Martini Bar and Kokum Kitchen. We generally had our buffet breakfast at Morisco and lunch and dinner at Il Kamino. Morisco has garden view on one side and sea view on the other side. Comfortable seating arrangements in an open air kind of arrangement leads to a great dining experience. Il Kamino on the other hand is an indoor kind of restaurant with great food and live music on selected evenings. While we tried the elaborate buffet for breakfast and lunch, we went a-la-carta experimenting with sea food for dinner. The quality and taste of cuisines are of top quality and the spread of starters, main course and dessert in buffet is exhaustive. I would hugely recommend their fish items.
Other facilities –
The resort has a well maintained swimming pool. The rules are quite strict regarding dress and personal hygiene ensuring that cleanliness standard is maintained. There is an in house spa – Jiva. There are quite a few sit out options available in the property. There are hammocks and pool side chairs in the gardens and near swimming pool. There are open porticoes with comfortable chairs near the reception with amazing view of the sea. Indoor sofa seating arrangement near the portico led to us sipping tea while enjoying the sun set many a evening there. The property is huge, maintained prim and proper and it is took us almost a day to explore the entire stretch.
The route to the sea and fort –
The gate to the right hand side of the swimming pool leads to the road towards Fort Aguda on left side and the sea beach on the other side. Other than beach guards, there are also trained rescue guards from the resort on the beach to ensure safety of its residents. Fort is just a two minute walk from the property while walking down the stairs lead to the sea beach directly.
Room tips –
The resort has options of suite, deluxe room with sit out , deluxe room with sea view and garden view rooms. Unless one is contemplating spending majority of the day inside the rooms, deluxe delight sea view rooms are the best option. It provides an awesome view of the sea and garden both without being too expensive.
Rating – Excellent
Visited – Sept, 2017 with family
In the three days that we spent at Vivanta by Taj, we went out only once to see the church and other beaches. The other two days were spent relaxing in the resort, having great conversations, swimming and sea bathing. If one is looking at a leisurely and luxurious kind of holiday with lavish food options, Vivanta by Taj is definitely one of the best options in Goa. The pricing, as expected is on the higher side but the fantastic facilities, ravishing views, customized services and amazing food options add up to a create a lasting surreal experience.
Link to the review on TripAdvisor is