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“Relaxing haven”
Review of Dona Sa Maria

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Dona Sa Maria
Ranked #6 of 10 Hotels in Cavelossim
Certificate of Excellence
Darlington, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Relaxing haven”
Reviewed 22 January 2014

We went to this hotel just before Xmas 2013, I think it's the most relaxed holiday we've ever had. It's got a lovely pool area where you can spend the day in gorgeous sunshine having a swim and a coffee or cold drink from the restaurant at the side of the pool, or maybe have a massage.The food in the restaraunt is very good, lots of choice for lunch and the evening meal it's basic at breakfast, just fruit juice, toast and jam but you can pay extra for a cooked breakfast or omelettes. The beach is about a 15 min walk away but it's a lovely walk through the paddy fields passing restaurants and shops on the way, then you arrive at a beautiful beach with a few different places to have lunch and a drink where everyone is so friendly. A 10 min taxi ride will take you into Cavelossim where you will find lots of shops and stalls selling everything from fruit to shoes,gifts, and clothes. Lots of lovely restaraunts to try. The rooms in the hotel are basic but cleaned every day, the bedding and towels were also changed every day, the beds are hard but you get used to them, it might be a good thing, I went with a bad shoulder and by the time I came home it had gone :-) everyone who works there are very friendly, including serafino and puri the owners who do a very good job of recycling everything in the hotel. We had a 3day trip to see the Taj Mahal, it was fantastic I would definitely recommend it. This hotel gets a lot of people returning year after year, it's so peaceful. We met a lovely lady called Elaine who has been there since November and goes home at the end of March, if you read this Elaine thank you for the most interesting tales of your travels around the world you are a very brave lady, enjoy the rest of your holiday.

Room Tip: We had a ground floor room overlooking the gardens at the back, it was very quiet.
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank 632Sandra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (63)
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English first
leicester
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 January 2014

Just returned from an 11 night stay on our first trip to Goa. Our initial impressions of our room were in keeping with some of the comments I've read in that it is very basic. However once you get to know the place, after the first day, we started to realise that underneath the superficial surface we were staying in a place that is full of charachter and warmth and our love for the place grew throughout our stay, which was wonderful.The owners and other staff couldn't have done more for us. When we had problems with our bank card ( lesson learnt- make sure your bank knows you're travelling abroad) the owners helped us to get things sorted out. When the tour oporator wasn't running the trip we wanted to go on they arranged the trip using their own transport and we had a wonderful day for less money. You may be able to save a few pounds by going elsewhere but we felt we'd got value for money with the 'half board arrangement' and had some delicious meals by topping up for example breakfast is just toast, tea and juice but for £1.50 you can have a cooked breakfast if you want it. Many of the guest are regulars and there was a really friendly welcome from everone we encountered. The rooms are cleaned daily and the resturant, reception and pool are were always clean. If you want somewhere polished this may not be the place for you, if you want somewhere with a friendly relaxed atmosphere in a pleasant area with a real local feel then we'd definitely recommend it. We had a brilliant time.

Room Tip: We were happy in the Farm House which is separate from the main buliding and the rooms slightly larg...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank lcfc1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Aberdeen, Scotland
Level 6 Contributor
115 reviews
110 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 January 2014

Many hotels overbook as a matter of course but these are usually business hotels were a similar alternative can be arranged. It is not common practice for resort hotels.

Around a week before our arrival Serafino e mailed me to ask if we were still intending to come. I replied by return re-confirming date and time of arrival. When we arrived at 8.00 pm we were informed no room was available. At this point Serafino started to phone around for an alternative room. We were transferred to Jack's place in Cavelossim were we had to wait for the room to be prepared. There were other people there also transferred from Dona Sa Maria due to over booking. It seemed to be common policy to just take bookings and then sort it out on arrival.

We did go back to Dona Sa Maria for lunch and the place seemed fine with very simple rooms and clean pool. If this was a UK hotel I would sue them in the small claims court but as they are in Goa all I can do is to warn people of their very poor business practices and their disregard for their customers.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
6 Thank jot54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
England
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 January 2014

We are just back from 2 weeks at Dona Sa Maria. This is the 5th time in 9 years we have stayed here and we realise why this hotel has the highest return rate of any that the various operators to India have on their books.
It is a family run hotel where the friendly staff are so happy to please that we had no qualms a few years ago about taking the rest of the family, including our 15 month old grandson. He was immediately picked up and taken around the hotel and introduced to everybody so that thereafter he felt happy and secure in the environment.
This is a comfortable 2* family run hotel with restaurant and a beautifully kept pool. The staff are all friendly and helpful and the proprietors, Serafino and Puri, certainly have their customers at heart. They are also ahead of the curve in this part of India in being the only hotel I’ve seen who sort the waste and have an active recycling scheme. The gardens are constantly receiving attention and they give a beautiful array of flowers, whilst the many coconut trees give some shade around the pool area. It should be said that there are nets up to protect guests from falling coconuts.
With a 2* you wouldn’t expect a spa but at DSM you get someone just as good in Francis. Francis is a gem; he is trained masseur and used to be the physio guy for the Goan football team to he knows what he is about. I have seen many a person walk away from his manipulation on cloud nine, he has cured aches and ills that have baffled practitioners in UK and nobody complains about his hour long ministration for 600r.
In the small village of Tamborim this is the only hotel, and although there are now a number of apartment blocks growing up around the crossroads, the nearby beach still offers a mile of empty sand for a few dozen people. The village is far enough away from the busy resort of Cavelossim to be unaffected by mass tourism yet close enough (15 minute cycle ride) to pop in and pick what you want or to sample the many restaurants there. Cabs are cheap for night time visits.
The walk through the village to the beach is gentle but it can be hot if you don’t hire bikes at 150r or a scooter (from Joe’s rental) at 350r, however the birdlife is plenty. You’ll see kingfishers, egrets, sea eagles and more. There are shady places to stop and chat with the locals on the way and you’ll see a number of small local restaurants or refreshment stops on the way.
The local beach has 3 shacks with sun beds serving up food and drink through the day, and on into the night if you are staying out to watch the spectacular sunsets. Our favourite is Cool Breeze with very friendly guys good fresh fish and a dahl fry to die for. The water in our winter time is tepid and it varies from glass-like to challenging, although on those occasions if you walk out about 50m (still only chest high) to get past the rollers you again have calm water to swim at ease.
There is an expat community living in some of the apartments in the village and they, like some Indian city families, spend the winter on the Goan coast and this may be why in all establishments you will hear western music, and some pretty naff stuff too, unless you really like strangled mid-atlantic power rock. We had to ask to hear Indian music.
In previous years we have been happy to stay at DSM and use it as a base to go off for days at a time visiting Goa and surrounding states – in nearby Margao you can get on the Konkan railway that runs up and down the full western seaboard – but this time we just relaxed, ate well, slept well, swam, read, cycled and generally enjoyed a bit of winter sun with friends.
Dona Sa Maria is in a lovely location for those who don’t want a resort, you will be staying with a Goan family in a Goan village.

Room Tip: Ask for rooms in the main building rather than the farmhouse or elsewhere
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank ColinBrighton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Malden, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 January 2014

In many years of travelling, this is the first time I have felt compelled to write a hotel review. This trip was my second to Goa and third to India -during previous trips I have stayed at various types of accommodation from back packers upwards, so I am well aware of the general standard of hotels.

Our expectations were not high, given the rating, but this fell well below the standard which was reasonable to expect from any Monarch/Cosmos package deal. On arrival, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when we were shown to a dank, dark room in an outbuilding behind the main hotel. It would seem that as there was no room at the Inn we were shunted to the stable block out the back. I felt that a visit from the three kings was imminent. The owners expressed no surprise at our complaints and we were (admittedly very swiflty and obligingly), shown an alternative room in another shambolic outbuilding across the road. It was an awful, bare and depressing room, the bathroom was dirty, the mattress flimsy and stained and the 'wardrobe', was a rail covered by half a curtain hanging limply and forlornly in a doorway. The only marginal improvement from the previous room was that it didn't smell so strongly of damp. I do not expect 5 star accommodation for 2 star prices, but nor do I expect to pay approx £900 per person for 2 weeks in what was effectively nil star accommodation. No surprise that the owners smile so much. We moved out after 2 nights, as soon as we found an alternative and had a great time in Agonda.

As others have commented, the 'half board' is a clear misrepresentation of what you actually receive. We ate one evening meal here, I'm not AA, Gill but an hour and half wait for 4 prawns floating in a non-descript sauce is poor by any standards. This was the worst meal we had in 2 weeks and I categorically disagree with the owner's claim that this was good basic food, we ate far better for less everywhere else.

I am completely mystified by the reviewers who wax lyrical about this shabby guest house they have been visiting since time immemorial. Raise your expectations, broaden your horizons and try elsewhere -I can assure you that there are far better places out there for less money.

Room Tip: Go to a different hotel
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Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
10 Thank Nicky B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newquay, England, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 January 2014 via mobile

Ok so we booked to stay in 2 star accommodation in India, we were expecting basic, very basic in fact, and to be fair, some of the rooms we were eventually shown were to this standard, however, the room, or should i say 'outbuilding' we had be allocated was sadly nowhere near this level of basic living you would expect from a cosmos package deal. On arrival we were told we had the last room in the hotel were very lucky to have been given a 'fridge', no other room had one apparently and a downstairs room due to the fact that were travelling with an infant. We were then escorted by the very friendly proprietors over the road to the 'ramshackle' building that accommodated 3 rooms that weren't fit for animals let alone a family travelling with a ten month baby. The windows were broken, mosquito netting torn on the windows, wires exposed around the archaic air conditioning unit that we daren't even touch and a bathroom, if you could call it that, that was filthy to say the least. The luxury fridge, was also filthy and didn't work! Obviously unhappy with the accommodation we voiced our concerns, and that we weren't prepared to stay in that room. At this point we had learnt from other guests that the room we had been allocated had been rejected by 3 other couples in the few days prior to our arrival. The proprietors did at this point show us two other rooms - both strangely vacant???? Both rooms were marginally better, but still unacceptable.
I am unable to comment on the food offered within the half board package we had booked due to the fact that we had left the hotel within an hour of our arrival. This was the best thing we did - from this point we travelled around South Goa stopping in various places, all in basic 2 star rated accommodation that ranged in price between £10 and £15 per night and ate out with meals costing no more that £7 in total for all food and drinks. As for location the hotel is at least a 10 minute walk to the closest beach and at least a 30 min walk to the nearest town, although taxis are cheap.

I do not know how the dona sa Maria has the reviews it has to be honest although of late they appear to be a little more accurate, I am just so glad that we left when we did and were able to experience the real Goa as if we had stayed in the room we had been allocated our holiday would have been ruined.

Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
8 Thank Jenny G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
high wycombe
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 January 2014

First timers to Goa, so all new experiences. Found the first couple of days a massive culture shock but soon got into the groove of this quiet area and friendly hotel.
80% of the guests were happy, friendly, down to earth and happy to give us tips about everything Goa. Perhaps the other 20% will one day find a paradoxical haven.

Yes the hotel is basic, but what do people expect from a 2 star in India!!!?
The half board allowance is a bit tight, but thats more down to lack of information given from the tour operators. Prehaps a fruit selection in the morning and a side/rice dish to accompany the 250rupee allowance in the evening.
Food/drinks served by the mighty Savio, top bloke great presence. Cant fault any of the staff, smiles aplenty.

Enjoyed days by the pool, beach, day trips, and a stay over in Palolem.
The pool was neither tired or dirty.
The local beach, endless whichever way you look, pretty quiet with 3 shacks, our favourite was the "Cool Breeze" amazing food and friendly service, big shout out to Sandeep!
The boat trips are great value, we did the Jacks 900r sea,river cruise with food and unlimited drinks.

If your thinking of doing the waterfalls trip please take note- It was way over crowded (90% Russians) once you've endured the 30 minute bone busting jeep ride you only get an hour to explore the beautiful waterfall, all a bit rushed in my humble opinion.
The trip would have cost 5000-7000 each if booked through cosmos, we booked the hotel taxi man (vinood) and did it all separately costing us 6000 altogether, which included spice plantation and elephant ride.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank downleyloyal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dona Sa Maria

Property: Dona Sa Maria
Address: Tamborim, Cavelossim 403731, India
Region: India > Goa > South Goa District > Cavelossim
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Cavelossim
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Dona Sa Maria 2.5*
Number of rooms: 18
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Also Known As:
Dona Sa Maria Hotel Cavelossim
Dona Sa Maria Salcette
Dona Sa Maria Hotel Salcette
Dona Sa Maria Goa/Cavelossim

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