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“Best holiday in a great hotel”

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Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort
Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels in Cavelossim
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 15 January 2008

We have just come back from spending a fortnight at the dona sylvia hotel.The food was excellent thanks to the new chef ramu nothing was to much trouble for him or his staff.All the hotel staff were helpful.The rooms were kept clean sheets changed every day.
The only let down was the entertainment,one group sang out of tune for the whole evening.Our Thomas Cook rep wasnt around much thank goodness for Richard the first choice rep who was always on hand when we wanted advise about the strikes on the 7th & 14th jan .Thank you Richard for your help.
Some of the beach shacks want you to eat there if you want to use there sun beds.At one time you only had to buy a drink at doms now you have to buy food.There is no way i would eat in a shack for hygiene reasons.

9  Thank bridgetSpain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 January 2008

We arrived in Goa on Christmas Day for 2 weeks all inclusive. The Airport was an experience but not as bad as some I’ve been to. Plenty of passport checks by stern looking security men, gave the impression of very tight security, but in reality you probably could have smuggled an elephant through. The porters outside are very ‘attentive’ and to be honest, it depends on your outlook as to whether they are annoying or not. For the sake of an English pound coin, I just let the guy hang on to my case till I got to the coach, and then let him take it to the back so the driver could load it. It’s quite comical really, and in a country where the weekly wage is about tuppence, it’s not worth worrying about. We took about an hour to the Dona Sylvia, taking in the various sites along the way, ranging from people living in make shift tents by the side of the road, to quite nice Portuguese churches and other buildings.
The room wasn’t ready when we arrived, but that was ok as we went straight into breakfast and then a quick wander round for a nose and then when we came back it was ready.
No complaints about the room, it had everything you need, A/C, fridge, TV etc. Plenty of Films and Premiership footie on if you ever get stuck in the room with Delhi belly. We weren’t expecting luxury, so what we got was fine.
The hotel is quite nice really, I didn’t have a good feeling when I first arrived, but by the evening when we had settled in and had the Christmas day Gala dinner, I was in a pretty good mood, and felt happy that the stay would be fine. By the end of the holiday, I loved it and didn’t want to leave.
The hotel is generally clean and tidy, the staff are very friendly and most seem to want to give you the best service they can. I think they are still genuinely interested in having tourist come to Goa and have a good time. They don’t seem to have become as tainted by tourism as people in some countries. We got on really well with a couple of the waiters; Anthony Martins and Lester Fernandez. (Goans generally have Portuguese names rather than Indian; it took us a few days to figure it out). They looked after us really well, and at the end of the holiday, they invited us to one of their homes and took us fishing. It was a great few hours, we visited their local church on top of hill, with spectacular views, and saw a little bit of Goa which is off the tourist path. They were really happy to show us their village and how they lived.
The food in the hotel is some of the best I have ever had on all inclusive, especially for a 3 or 4 star. We normally go 4 or 5 star, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The food at the Christmas Day and New Years eve Gala dinners was unbelievable, and all the staff worked really hard to make it them great occasions.
A word of warning though, if you don’t like spicy food at all, you may find it a bit of a limited choice, which will get repetitive after a while. Luckily for our group of 4 hungry adults, we love curry, and I was eating it for breakfast, dinner and tea most days in the first week. Surprisingly, I didn’t suffer from any unusual toilet habits for over a week, and then it was only mild. Most of us had a bit of an episode at some point during the holiday, but when you are sampling so much different food, washed down by about 15 pints of kingfisher a day, something is going to give at some point. I thought the quality of the food was excellent, but as is usually the case on 2 weeks all inclusive, it gets a bit same same in the second week. If you still have an appetite for Chicken Tikka Masala (which was lovely) then crack on, and enjoy. You could always sample some of the beach shacks or restaurants in the area, which are usually great value for money and all seem to be OK to eat in; we didn’t hear any bad stories. The beach shacks are a nice way to chill out and have a beer as the sun sets. We went to a couple but settled on the Blue Oasis, first on the right as you get to the beach. If you go to the Blue Oasis, tell Vincent that Dave and John sent you, and we said you could have the first drink free. He should laugh, and you may actually get one. The guys in the beach shacks are all good lads but they all have a little sideline going on, whether its henna tattoos or trinkets to sell. They are not hard sell people and won’t push you to buy anything. They are only there for a short season so have to make a bit of money before the monsoons come. We actually spent most of the first week by the pool, but most of the second week on the beach. If you get up at a reasonable time (7.30) you will get sun beds. The pool lads will help you fetch them. We tipped one on one day for helping us, and then everyday there were 4 beds waiting in the same place for us. If we didn’t use them he just let other people have them. You don’t have to tip them though, although I’m pretty sure that some people gave them a bung so they made sure they got beds. We just got up early, easy really.
There are people selling nik naks on the beach, and you get women holding babies and begging. Up to you if you give anything or buy anything, but if you don’t want to just say no thanks and if you ignore them they go away. Be prepared for a small herd of cattle trying to share your sun bed with you, which is quite amusing.
The beach is quite nice really. If you turn right you can walk for ages and see nothing at all but sand and few couples strolling along in the surf. If you turn left then after about 15 mins you come across some more beach shacks. Mikes and Betty’s are down this way and they have a good reputation for food etc, but we didn’t eat there so I can’t comment. We actually saw a couple of groups of dolphins that came right in to the shore one day while we were sitting on the beach. It was great. I was gutted because I’d paid to go and see them on a boat trip a few days before.
The town outside the hotel is full of shops and stalls selling everything a tourist with a wad of rupees could possibly want. It’s not as bad as some countries and you don’t get overly hassled as you walk past them; a friendly ‘no thanks’ is usually enough. My wife bought some nice bits from some of the stalls. Remember to barter though. Generally, you can get things for about a third of the asking price, but these things are so cheap, that if you and the seller are happy with the price, then that’s what it costs. Don’t be too stingy, as they don’t earn that much anyway.
We didn’t go on any excursions through the holiday company, although some said that the Jungle book was a really good trip. We took a taxi out for a few hours, and visited some elephants. We had a ride, and washed them in a river, which was fun for us, but I’m not sure about the elephant. It cost 500 rupees each for the ride, and for the washing, so it wasn’t as cheap as I thought. One thing to be aware of with the taxis is that they get a bung from shops etc for taking you there. If you go out on a trip in taxi they will ask you to stop at a shop that sells souvenirs etc for a quick look around. They get about £10 from the shop each time they bring someone, even if you stay for a couple of minutes and don’t buy anything. So if you don’t mind spending a couple of minutes trying to convince some very enthusiastic salesmen that you don’t want a carpet or a bronze statue then its no real hardship to let them take you there. I think if and when I go back, which I probably will, I’ll budget for a bit more shopping, and possibly look at some of the jewellery that is available. Apparently its very good and a lot cheaper than we would pay at home. Unfortunately, we went for a cheap holiday and didn’t plan on spending much, so we couldn’t take advantage of some of the offers.
The first Choice rep was Richard, and he is a great character. He was very helpful, and friendly, and always available; either at the hotel or via his mobile. He doesn’t try to give you the hard sell with the trips at the welcome meeting, which has to be one of the most annoying things about holiday reps, but instead tells you what’s available and gives you more information if you want it later. A refreshing change. Richard lives at the Dona Sylvia, so is usually about, and will try very hard to make your stay a good one. Get him when he is off duty for a couple of drinks and you can find out all about him and his love life :-)
There’s a load more to say about this holiday but I’ve bored you enough. All in all, if you are expecting 5 star luxury, then pick somewhere else and pay for it. If you want a really nice and chilled out holiday, with great food, great beach and nice people, then book at the Dona Sylvia. We have all said that we would definitely go back in the next couple of years, and we don’t usually say that.
Have a good holiday.

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled as a couple
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19  Thank TheFatFour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2008

Me and my partner stayed at the dona sylvia for 3 weeks over christmas and new year and we can safely say it was best holiday ever, and can see why people come back year after year!

The food choice was very good, i cannot see how anyone can complain about it. The staff were very friendly and helpful, nothing was too much for them. We had a problem with our air conditioning at 7pm on new years eve and it was fixed within 20 minutes - that would never happen in the UK!

Food and drink was also very good and cheap at restaurants outside of the hotel and we never felt threatened in anyway. The staff at the beach shacks were also fantastic, we spent alot of our time at the Blue Oasis and eddie, sam and vincent looked after us very well.

We bought alot of jewellery from "Din Brothers" which is next to "Mikes Place", you dont do alot of bartering, you just get a "good price" for good quality. I have noticed other reviews regarding problems with the pool, we managed to get a umbrella if we asked and didnt have to bribe the poolmen, and we didnt notice a problem with children, in fact we thought it was quite quiet. As for trips we can really recommend the jungle book trip, which we organised through the first choice rep Richard, who was so nice and helpful. To get around and see more of goa we booked a taxi and took in old goa, pangim, margoe, the waterfalls where you could also feed the monkeys, and also visited a spice plantation and got the chance to ride, wash and get a shower from the elephants (although this was expensive and it was included in the jungle book tour!)

We also meet a good mix of people from all walks of life and some we well difinately keep in touch with. We will be joining a growing amount of people who will difinately be going back!

Please dont expect to get a lot of nightlife as this resort is very quiet which suits us, if you want to be in a "indian benidorm" head to north goa.

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank angiedd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2008

Having returned from 2 weeks at this hotel leading up to Christmas Day, we were blessed with only one day of rain{quite unusual] the locals said at that time of year.
The food was predominately curries of every kind and got rather boring after a while. We approached the head chef re this and he did say he would make us anything we asked for if we weren't happy. Cant be fairer than that!
We ate at Mama Mia restaurant twice, the first time food was excellent, the second we had to complain about.
The only way you can guarantee a decent position by the pool with a sun umbrella [only ten on site] is to pay the pool boys to secure your bed. You dont come on holiday for this! The pool itself is quite large and for our first week the pool was quiet, but a week before Christmas we were over-run by children,mainly the asian community! although large party of Brits too, who abdicated responsibility of their children oncethey arrived, and hotel management did not really bother to control the situation.
If you wanted to go walking outside the hotel complex there were some local shops and eating places and you always felt safe,although with unlit streets one would not go far at night!
We travelled with First Choice and arrived at the hotel approx. 08.30am to find that our room would not be available until after 12noon at least. After such a long flight all we wanted to do was to sleep so after complaining to the management we were given a room in which to rest until our room would be ready at 2pm!
We hope these comments may be helpful .

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank JanetandHerbert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2008

Me and my husband stayed at this hotel over xmas after reading the great reviews and were not disappointed. The staff are the friendliest I have ever come across. They are more then happy to help and always at your service.

We went all inclusive and although the food does get a bit samey after a few days (problem for me as i am a veggie) they do take requests and on one occaision made pizzas specially for me, which was great.

The pool area is great, as is the beach. The rooms have all you would need for your stay, TV, Shower, hair dryer etc.

It is definately somewhere I would consider staying again as we thoroughly enjoyed it. The xmas gala dinner was good and well organised. Nice resort for couples and families, although probably too quiet for younger groups, who would probably be better off staying in northern goa.

Overally, a great experience.

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank gvek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2008

We booked two weeks from 16th to 30th December at this Hotel, mainly because of the good reviews we had read on this site. It was the first time we had been to Goa so didnt have a clue what to expect.

The First Choice flight we booked was very good - could not be faulted (although we did notice the Monarch flights were delayed both going and coming back).

The airport in Goa is awful ! They check your passport against your visa etc about 4 times in the space of about 20 feet ! When you eventually get through to collect your luggage you will notice that the Indian guys have taken your luggage off the conveyor belt and left them piled up in centre aisle where you have to fight to get hold of it ! When you exit the airport there are loads of indian guys trying to get you to take a taxi to your hotel or to wheel your cases to your bus. You really do have to be firm with them and say NO - and they do do your head in, believe me !

Anyway, one hour later and we arrived at our hotel. It is really lovely by the way. We checked in and were told to go into breakfast whic h after we finished our rooms were ready and we were taken to our rooms - on the way told what was where etc.

Rooms were fine. Not luxurious by no means but fine for what we used them for and you get a t.v. which shows English Football (much to my husbands surprise - made his holiday to be able to watch his team play). Bathroom fine with a large walk in shower. Fridge in the room which is always handy and unusual for All Inclusive. The only prob with the room was, if I used my hairdrier it shorted out the electric, so my husband was always on Electric Alert and had to run downstairs, and turn the elec back on... lol...... Found out later they did have a hairdrier in a drawer for guests to use.

Food and drinks are fine although we always ate lunch at the Silver Sands Beach Shack, which was our favourite - this year 2nd on right as you get onto the beach. A tip - Dont sit around the pool as so many do, it is so boring. Get yourself down to the beach - it is lovely and the sea so much fun, jumping over the waves etc. Loved it...... The beach parties here were lovely, we danced and drank and ate until the wee hours. We did have fun people at the party that night though !

Breakfast in the hotel is fine and do the usual cook while you wait eggs/omellettes, crispy bacon, pancakes, toast etc etc.

We also ate out quite a lot in the evenings staying at the hotel about 5 times in total. You may think what a waste as we were All inclusive and you may be right, but we found the food and priced outside excellent and the hotel meals got a bit samey - although there was always something we liked.

We spent Christmas Eve at Mikes Place and had a fantastic night, meeting allsorts of people from back home and staggered back to the hotel quite late.

Restaurants where food is exceptional - Goan Village (loved the Butter Chicken and Onion Bhaji's), Bettys Place - again fantastic and maybe possibly the best, Mikes Place. The Jazz Inn we didnt try for food but found it to be very friendly where Peter and Pinto looked after us exceptionally. Some good live music too.

A few days before Christmas at the Hotel they put up thousands of coloured fairy lights and the whole place and grounds looked fantastic.

Go on your holiday and enjoy because you will. I think its such a shame people who go to this resort and moan as there is really no need or reason too. If you are going you will love it. We will def be going back.

By the way, the info I got before I went was it was hard to smoke anywhere as the Police come around and fine you. In Cavellosim this is a load of rubbish as I smoked absolutely every and anywhere - no prob (although I have now given up for 2 days )

Happy Hols - You will love it...... Any questions feel free to contact me....

Weather was glorious. Lovely sunshine for the whole 2 weeks.

Stayed: December 2007
20  Thank Reddevil007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2008

This was our third visit to the Dona Sylvia, we stayed for three weeks and had a wonderful holiday as usual. The hotel, food, staff, and facilites are really great, Nothing is to much trouble for the staff, from the gardeners (who tends the garden with much care) the waiters and all the other members of staff who go out of their way to ensure you have a good holiday. We had no complaints whatsoever. we enjoyed Betty,s Cruise, the Riverside restaurant, we also ate out at the Goan Restaurant which was first class, so much choice. The food in the hotel is excellent but sometimes it is nice to eat outside. We purchased jewellery from The Pleasure Palace shop, which is really good value, the previous time we were on holiday and we bought jewellery from this shop and took the jewellery to be valued at the jewellery quarter in Birmingham we were very surprised at the value more than twice what we had paid. I also had dental work done to my teeth (along with loads of other people) the work is excellent and a fraction of what you pay here, the dental surgery is amazing so clean and all the latest equipment, leaves our dentists standing. We also met some fantastic people, old friends and new friends. We would strongly recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed: November 2007, travelled as a couple
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15  Thank blueroses
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort

Address: | Cavelossim Beach, Mobor, next to Radisson Blu, Cavelossim 403731, India (Formerly Dona Sylvia Beach Resort)
Region: India > Goa > South Goa District > Cavelossim
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Cavelossim
#2 Luxury Hotel in Cavelossim
#2 Spa Hotel in Cavelossim
#3 Business Hotel in Cavelossim
#3 Family Hotel in Cavelossim
#4 Romantic Hotel in Cavelossim
Price Range: £73 - £292 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 181
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Overlooking Cavelossim Beach and set in 20 acres of beautifully secluded landscaped gardens, NOVOTEL GOA DONA SYLVIA brings to mind a quaint Portuguese village reminiscent of a bygone era – an architectural style that earned international acclaim for its architect, CHARLES CORREA….a truly wonderful and luxurious location for holidays, small meetings to large conferences. This luxurious 5 star beach resort is situated on the southern coast of Goa, about 45 kms from the airport and 15 kms from the Margao Railway Station. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dona Sylvia Beach Hotel Cavelossim
Dona Sylvia Beach Cavelossim
Dona Sylvia Hotel Goa
Dona Sylvia Beach Resort Goa
Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort Cavelossim

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