Hotel Review: W Goa

The ultimate exotic hideaway

In Goa they call it Susegad, which has a loose similar meaning to Namaste; Contentment, Live, Life. And what better way to experience that than in the form of W Goa, a sprawling 10 hectare ultimate luxury seaside resort that aims to help guests to relax and recharge. Sitting on a hillside facing the Arabian sea on Vagator Beach north of Goa, W Goa opened its doors in Dec 2016 and is the 50th property under the W Hotel brand.

What a view. Credit: W Goa

Before you get to paradise, you will need to endure a bit of hardship first. Hardship is in the form of a 1.5hr of sitting in a ‘tourist vehicle’ from GOI airport in order to arrive in heaven. Hotel transfers can be easily booked with the hotel directly; it will cost you INR4,500++ each way (about S$92++). The driver will wait at the arrival gate with the hotel paging board with your name on it. Then it will be a long ride to paradise in the company of international trance blasting from the taxi speakers. But once you get over with the ride,  the multi-sensory charms of the property will set to WoW you.

The signs

The reception area has a vast and colourful facade, with white fishing ropes draped across the ceiling of the Living Room forming a loose canopy overhead making the place super-loungey and chill. The Woobar next to it is a well-stocked arsenal of stiff liquors and colorful mixers, capable of serving the widest range of commercial cocktails from worthy bartenders. We had several cocktails of lychee martinis and passion fruit & watermelon mojitos during happy hours on one of the evenings, but more about that later. Whatever/Whenever is a concierge service of W hotels which aims to provide anything anytime, yes anything that is legal, to the nonsensical whims of W’s guests (marijuana, anyone?).

Impossible is nothing

Infinity pool

The Welcome lobby is where a friendly staff checked us in. A huge colourful art mural line the wall of the lobby, artistically drawn by lndian artist M. Narayan. What it looks like is up to your imagination but apparently the art depicts people relaxing and letting themselves go. Not long, a chilled bottle of local pilsner beer came our way and I must say it tasted quite good. Check-in was a breeze and in no time, the smiling staff led us to an awaiting buggy and whisked us off to have a good look around the property.

Happy staff who was happy to see us

Before I go on, I want to state that my two nights stay here at W Goa was free. No it was not sponsored nor was it an invite. It was possible because of a targeted SPG promotion last year for up to 2 free nights by completing six stays between 15 Sept and 15 Dec 2017. And yes, I timed it with the SPG Platinum Challenge as well.

One of many 2017 SPG targeted promo: two free nights awards

W Goa is a Category 5 SPG property (at least for now, just look at the W resorts in Maldives, Bali and Koh Samui) so I was glad to be able to utilise the awards. The two free night awards were used to redeem the entry level Wonderful Room that costs easily INR17,000 (S$350) onward per night. On this trip, we really got lucky because we got upgraded to the Fantastic Villa (INR48,000). I am still wondering whether it was because of my Platinum status or my charm….

From this
To this

It was really nice of W Goa to upgrade the room to a villa although SPG Platinum members are eligible for suite upgrades, where available. We did not get a suite and my guess is that all the Marvelous Suites were sold out and the hotel still gave the upgrade for the next higher category of rooms. Full points for that. Have a look at the photos below to see my abode.

Outside the villa

Bedroom
Lounger

Bedside controls. Yes, that’s a fan control switch.

In case things get too rowdy
During the turn down service
The high ceiling
Step into the bathroom

Dressing table
Wardrobe
Big bathtub
If you are feeling a bit more daring

Simple bathroom amenties
Bathroom ceiling light

The villa is a true reflection of the what W stands for. Outstanding chandeliers hanging from tall slanted roof that flip colours at a touch of a button, psychedelic tunes from the sound system, the W bed that draws you into deep slumber land, an extravagant bathroom that has two sinks. I can definitely stay indoors rejuvenating and recharging all day long.

Since it is nearing dusk, we made our way to the Rock Pool to catch the sunset. Rock Pool is a huge party place, with a man-made lagoon in the middle of it, atop the hill facing the Arabian sea. It is also THE place to be every evening when the resort ups the tempo with Sundowners DJs dishing out beats and bass till late.

Throne seats

Sushi rolls we had for dinner at Rock Pool

The next morning bright and early, we hit the Kitchen Table that is one level below the reception lobby. Kitchen Table is an all-day diner serving a long list of international cuisine with an infinity poolside that faces the sea. There is also a glass-enclosed live kitchen where you can see chefs baking daily fresh breads. Just after 8am, we were the earliest guests hungry for breakfast. We were told by the restaurant staff that most guests would have partied the night before and should be out and about by 9am. So protip: get to Kitchen Table by 8:30am before the masses come. Kitchen Table opens from 7:30 to 10:30am for breakfast.

Sausage fest

Mine

A very good lamb shank curry. Had this for two straight days.
A freshly baked croissant from the chefs.
Love the colour of the table mat
Alfresco
There’s even a Wee Kids club for the kids-welding parents.

There is Spa by Clarins where you can indulge in Whatever body treatments and services. Located at the basement floor of the reception lobby, the 14,000 square foot spa provides a host of spa packages meant to cleanse the body from long nights of partying and drinking. I did a scrub and massage package (90min – INR8,950) on the second day after breakfast. I felt like a baby; totally smooth and moist. Regarding the massage, it was just ok (I’ve had better).

Spa by Clarins. Credit: W Goa

You should know that there is no executive lounge in W Goa. So where do elite members go for free booze? Woobar it is. A coupon was given at check-in that allowed me to ‘fuel myself with energizing liquids’ at the Woobar from 5:30pm to 7:30pm daily.

Apparently this applies to SPG Gold member as well…

Remember what I said about the Woobar earlier? Personally I think it was a great place to enjoy a relaxing drink while watching the sun goes down. The staff were eager to impress with their bartender skills, volunteering to mix us drinks that are out of the menu. Man, the drinks were stiff!

Mojito
Lychee martini

Dinner was set at the in-house Spice Traders restaurant. The restaurant is housed in a two storey building with indoor dining as well as a rooftop terrace and lounge. The cuisine is a multi-mix of Pan-Asian flavours focusing on fresh ingredients. Since Dec 2017, the restaurant launched the See-Food Diet which was a celebration of fresh seafood caught off the Goan coastlines. Daily catches such as lobsters, crabs, pomfrets and tiger prawns can be grilled or wok fried in various flavours such as garlic butter, Singapore chilli style and black pepper. Overall the seafood was very fresh and the sauces have a spicy touch to them. If you can’t take spicy, be very upfront about it. Don’t be shy.

Indoor dining at ground floor. We dined at one of the daybeds on the right. Credit: W Goa
Grilled lobster
Tiger prawns

Conclusion

W Goa strikes all the right notes in delivering what one will expect from a W resort. It is loud in areas where they should (Woobar, Rock Pool) but it also exudes the calm when one chooses to (sea fronting villas, the beach). The staff are also professional in their work, mostly going beyond what is asked of them. Being a new property, the W Goa was immaculate where it should be. I am ok with browned leaves that occasionally fell into the pool or on the dining tables outdoors. In general the property is very well taken care of.

There are many other hotel brands in Goa; such as the Leela, Marriott, Holiday Inn and Grand Hyatt Goa (which I stayed two years ago) which are nearer to the airport and will give W Goa a run for its money. There are still some work-in-progress chalets and villas that are in the final stages of completion. One of the villas stand atop the hill overlooking into the Arabian sea.. I could imagine myself in one of them soon. So if you have free awards nights or sufficient SPG points to redeem (16,000 Starpoints for Wonderful Room), do consider W Goa for an unforgetable holiday.

 

Jon Lee
Jon Lee
Jon is in love with food, cooking and travel (who isn't?). Apart from cooking up a storm in his kitchen and worry about the calories, he is blessed to be able to do occasional travels around the region for his work. Sharing is caring, he feels. And this is how he shows that he cares for mankind.

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Ken

Where’s the Inifinity Pool? “Infinity” means at least one side overflows over edge to give impression that the pool goes on….

Ken

No, it doesn’t.

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