The Hotel Aroma in downtown Panaji (Panjim) Goa is a good value for tourists who prefer to enjoy sightseeing rather than lying on a beach.
The hotel is located on the nice municipal market, just a 5 minute walk to the Residency Hotel (run by the Goa Tourism Development Dept.) from where daily enjoyable super-value tours depart at 9am (see their website). I recommend their all-day south Goa loop as a starter for only 3 USD plus lunch cost, but also enjoyed the north Goa loop and the more expensive backwater boat ride and Dudsagar waterfall bus and jeep tour.
The hotel is also just a 5 minute walk to the old Portuguese quarter in Panaji, which is just beyond the Cathedral and is best enjoyed on a quiet Sunday morning.
A prepaid taxi from the Goa airport in Dabolim to the hotel is 700 rupee (exit the terminal and walk across the courtyard to the government-run taxi dispatch booth). The return taxi can be booked by the hotel, but make sure you are charged only 750 rupee for the return -- some drivers may try to mark up the price.
My single standard room at the Aroma Hotel had twin beds, somewhat dated décor, an efficient but slightly noisy A/C, a nicely tiled bathroom with good towels, and good free wifi reception in the room (get the daily user name and password from the front desk).
My room faced the back, but front rooms face the garden across the street. It is a quiet area and street noise should not be a problem. There is a very pleasant open air lounge on the third floor.
Inexpensive bottled water is available at the pharmacy next door. I did not try the Punjabi restaurant inside the hotel -- it opened at 7 pm and I was asleep by then after busy sightseeing each day.
A light and tasty in-room breakfast is included in the price (order the night before), which came to about 32 USD per night including tax for my peak-season (mid-January) single room. I booked it on the internet. The hotel is very good about answering internet queries.
I think Goa is a nice way to start a tour of India since it provides a transition between western and south Asian cultures. I would happily stay at the Hotel Aroma in Panaji again. Nothing fancy, but comfortable, conveniently located, and a good value compared with other Goa (and Panaji) options.
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Aroma Executive Goa/Panjim