Just returned from Dona Sa Maria, Tamborim 11-25 Jan 2012. Party of 4 adults.
As we were the only party travelling South, Thomas Cook sent a taxi for the transfer, so this only took 45 minutes.
We had requested 2nd floor rooms close together and weren’t disappointed, rooms next to each other and overlooking the back of the main hotel, which was nice and quiet. The rooms are very basic, the beds are hard(as they all are in India) but especially bad were the pillows, which felt like they were stuffed with about 1cm of hay, they were that hard and thin!
Plenty of hanging space in the wardrobe, lots of hangars and plenty of plug sockets in the rooms, but not much drawer space. Bathroom basic but clean. Shower always hot (you just need to remember to turn on the water heater for about 20 minutes before you want a shower). There’s no A.C., but a ceiling fan which you can leave on when you leave the room but you may find it a little noisy to keep on during the night. However the noise of the fan does help to drown out any other night-time noises (dogs barking, pigs squealing and other guests returning noisily to their rooms!!)
Rooms were cleaned daily, with sheets and towels changed daily.
There are reports of the hotel being a bit like colditz and locking up and not letting you back in late at night. That’s rubbish. A number of times we turned up at the hotel after 11pm and found the gates locked (for security) but Roderick was always there at the gate with a smile to let you in.
The hotel grounds are clean and well kept. Pool clean and spacious enough to do a few lengths.
Ok the foods not 5 star, but what we ate in the restaurant was ok. Breakfast is sparse, just a couple of slices of toast and jam, watered down juice and stewed tea/coffee. You can however order additional breakfast made to order.
Thomas Cook advertise this holiday as half board. That’s a very loose term. You actually get 235rs allowance against your evening meal (food only). However be careful as the hotel will add a 10% service charge to everything you order, which effectively reduces your allowance to 210rs. You can’t pay for anything you order during the day, drinks from the bar (these will all be 10% more expensive than shown on the price list) or lunch. This is all added to your room bill which you can only settle on the following morning. So be careful you check what’s being charged to your room. Also if your bill is say 2520rs another 10% will be added to make it 2772rs. The hotel will then round this up again to at least 2780rs I know it doesn’t sound a lot but can seriously add up over the holiday, especially when the service charge is not advertised anywhere.
This cost 70rs a day but as it’s added to your room bill again another 10% added. You get the sole key.
There’s not much in Tamborim. A couple of bars in walking distance. Try Anita’s Place. It doesn’t look much from the outside, but Anita is incredibly kind and welcoming, and her measures are more like triples for the price of a single. About 50rs for brandy, 80rs for 660ml Kingfisher.
You can walk in to Cavalosiem, it’ll take about 45 minutes, but I wouldn’t advise it at night as the roads aren’t very well lit. You can get a taxi in and back for about 500/600rs for 4 people.(about £7 return). We used a driver called Felix for most of the holiday, who was just a phonecall away, and you don’t pay him til the end of your return journey. If you want a reliable and careful driver with a six seat, clean and safe car then contact me and I will pass on his number.
A word of caution. Please do not use a taxi driver called Sam who runs Sams tours (on the road to the beach). He tried to rip us off a couple of times, and we had asked him to arrange a trip to Khola beach for 6 of us. We gave him a weeks notice and asked him to book tents on the beach and transport. He took us there, raised the price of the taxi fare when we got there and then told us he hadn’t booked the tents. When we refused to pay the inflated fare he threatened one of our party with a rock!
Luckily we managed to get tents on the beach at the Blue Lagoon (you can book before you go at www.bluelagoongoa.com). Fabulous night, bonfire on the beach 1500rs per tent per night (very comfy double bed and pillows, fully flushing loo and shower in own bathroom!) The food here was also great and massive portions. Prices just the same as many other restaurants. Don’t miss the boat trip out in the morning. It is early, but we saw lots of dolphins and then while we were eating breakfast back on the beach, the dolphins came right in to the bay!
There’s a little collection of restaurants just behind the swanky deportment store in Cavalosiem, we tried the following:
Mikes Place: especially the mixed sizzler and the American beefsteak, onion bahjias.
Santos Paul: great prawn cocktail and amazing sea bass
Saajan: for those missing home, they do a great liver and onions and various homemade pies, as well as traditional fare
Goan Village: great all round fare in a nice setting.
A little further down the road:
River View: Nice for lunch, with the restaurant right on the river (literally!)
Betty’s Place: fabulous curries and amazing presentation.
Fishermans Wharf: very very nice restaurant. Great service and ambience. Quite upmarket compared to others in the area. Prices reasonable too. Nice for a special occasion. Get there early or book to avoid disappointment.
Don’t buy mosquito repellent before you go. Get Odomos spray from any supermarket/pharmacy. It’s about 55rs per bottle and is great and non greasy. Only got 2 bites the whole holiday. Also get some Fourderm cream from the Pharmacy, about 60rs a tube. It’s superquick at drying up any bites or stings and will also stop the itching. We’ve brought loads back for future holidays elsewhere!
Jai’s International is a good place to exchange money and he always greats you with a friendly handshake!
If you are going to use a mobile abroad, then take an unlocked or vodafone pay as you go phone and a photocopy of your passport. You can pick up an Indian Vodafone sim card for 500rs which will include about 350rs credit. A 12 minute call to the uk cost about 60rs (80p) the equivalent on a contract would be about £20!
Have a great time.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Alpha Holidays Limited, Booking.com, LoveHolidays, Travel Republic (UK) and Agoda so you can book your Dona Sa Maria reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Dona Sa Maria Hotel Cavelossim
- Dona Sa Maria Salcette
- Dona Sa Maria Hotel Salcette
- Dona Sa Maria Goa/Cavelossim