Steamed idlis, fresh pineapple juice, and chunks of sliced papaya that take me back to my childhood are part of my chosen first course at the luxurious breakfast buffet at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Panaji, Goa, a beach destination that is one of India’s hottest vacation and honeymoon spots. Goa was part of Portuguese colonization in India, and Goa’s architecture is reminiscent of both olden mosques and temples as well as churches including the Basilica of Bom Jesus that holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier.
The DoubleTree in Panaji is nestled by the Mandovi River and is an unexpected change from beach resorts and hotels in Old Goa.
I flew to India for the Goa International Travel Mart, and amidst unexpected rainy days and busy work schedules, the DoubleTree becomes my space to rejuvenate and stay recluse in quiet hours.
The Infinity Pool
In the quiet hours of the morning, I lounge at the blue infinity pool surrounded by two sculptures. The views of the Mandovi River and lush forest are the ideal way to begin a morning.
There’s a zorb for children and adults alike, which they can jump into right on the pool, steam rooms, and a fully-equipped glass-walled gym, perfect to start a morning of yoga with views of the river.
The infinity pool quickly becomes my preferred way to start the day.
A luxurious hotel buffet is a great way to start tasting the cuisine of India. From Goan delicacies to masala omelettes, fresh fruit, parathas, and the best muesli I’ve ever had, breakfast becomes the best meal of the day, and indeed the biggest.
There are also at least three types of fresh-pressed juices, cold coffee, chai, coffee, and desserts.
The green apple muesli and fresh hot puris fried right in front of you are two must-haves at the buffet but by no means the only.
The Pik – Pequeno children’s club has activities for all age groups, including yoga classes, pizza making sessions, towel art, and movie afternoons. Adults can join children in exploring spice farms in the area or lounge under the mango tree overlooking the infinity pool as the children swim.
The hotel’s location means you need a vehicle to get to most places in town. To make this easier, the DoubleTree provides complimentary daily tours to beaches, the Basilica of Bom Jesus, a bird sanctuary, and cruise and cycle tour starting spots in Goa. The hotel can also arrange complimentary airport shuttles for guests.
Soft linens and lush forest views welcome you to your stay at the DoubleTree. The rooms are equipped with multi-purpose plugins which means you don’t need to worry about having a converter to charge your electronics.
This sense of ease lingers through to the entire stay at this property that is a welcome introduction to both Goa and India.
The author was a guest of the DoubleTree by Hilton Panaji, Goa as part of a tourism trade conference.