Goa, one of my most favourite places for a quick break, I never need a reason or a season to go to Goa, maybe it’s my love for the beaches, multicoloured sunsets or just the vibe of the place, give me a day’s notice and I’m ready with my bags packed.
Over the years we’ve made countless trips to Goa and stayed in many of the resorts, but one of my most memorable stay was at the Leela Goa. We planned our trip to Goa as we do every year, we were looking for a quiet chilled out holiday and so decided to avoid north Goa for a change and chose to stay at the Leela. It was my first time at the Leela and what can I say, it was love at first sight…I absolutely fell in love with the property!
We were received at the airport by the hotels luxury coach service and the drive to the resort was approximately 40 minutes. The first impression when you enter the Leela is that of serenity, its like living in the lap of nature, the only sounds you hear are the waves in the distance and the cacophony of birds and bees. Set in a secluded location in the south of Goa, the Leela is enchanting with an old world charm, spread over 75 lush green acres with 206 luxurious rooms and villas, a stunning beach, and to top it all a river with countless lily pads running through the resort creating beautiful lagoons. It made me feel like I’d entered an exotic rainforest with all the lush greenery and the river tinkling in the background.
We got a warm welcome by the staff at Leela and though check-in was a 15-20 minutes wait, the staff was very courteous and made sure we were well taken care of with refreshments. We’d booked the Lagoon Terrace room which was a buggy ride away. Over the next few days we realised how sprawling the resort was and while the buggy’s were our mode of transport to get to different parts of the resort, what we really enjoyed were the easily accessible cycles that let us explore every nook and corner of this breathtaking property.
Architecturally the Leela offers a mix of Portuguese and Indian heritage, with one and two storey villas dotting the landscape, the property is so vast that it offers you a sense of peace and privacy in whichever category of room you choose to stay. They have a mix of beautiful rooms and villas to choose from, there are 160 Lagoon Terrace rooms, 26 Lagoon Suites and 20 Club Suites and Villas.
Lagoon Terrace at The Leela Goa
We stayed in the Lagoon Terrace room which was luxurious and elegant with all the amenities you would expect from a 5 star property. The interiors of the room were warm and inviting with wooden floors and earthy tones, the bathroom was pretty opulent with marble walls, a rainfall shower and a huge tub. My favourite part of the room though was the balcony which had the most mesmerising lagoon view.
Over the next 4 days we experienced Indian hospitality at its best, the Leela Goa surpassed all our expectations of luxury and hospitality. The staff was courteous and friendly, creating a relaxed hassle free atmosphere, there was a smiling face waiting to guide and assist us at every corner. The facilities at the Leela were world class, from speciality restaurants, an award winning spa, lounge with live music, a beautiful rock pool, private beach, various activities specially curated for guests and an exclusive 9 acre golf course by the coast of the Arabian Sea.
The Leela has an exciting variety of multi-cuisine and specialty restaurants and can satisfy the most discerning palates. We ate many of our meals in their all day coffee shop called “The Restaurant” which had an amazing multi-cuisine buffet and a lot of live counters going throughout the day. We loved the warm and informal ambience of the “Restaurant” and the stunning views of the the pool, golf course and the sea! We also had a meal at their highly recommended, fine-dine Italian restaurant called Riverside, it was magical, with the most romantic setting on the banks of the River Sal.
The exquisite food, wine, and ambience of the Riverside are definitely an experience not to be missed. Couple of nights we went for drinks to the Yali Lounge, which was a lot of fun since they had a live band playing. The Pool Bar was another favourite with us since we spent a major part of our days lounging by the pool and the staff made sure we were never short of refreshments and cocktails. We missed eating at “Susegado”, their beachfront restaurant as it’s seasonal, and Jamavar, their signature restaurant for Indian cuisine. Overall I must say that the culinary experience at the Leela was exceptional and the foodie in me was completely satisfied.
There was so much to do at the resort, we spent mornings cycling and exploring the property, with all its splendid flora fauna and the evenings at the rock pool. The resort was completely child friendly, with a kiddy pool, playground and a large colourful children’s activity centre. There was also the Aqua entertainment lounge if you want to spend a quiet evening playing snooker, chess, table tennis or if you just want to curl up with a book. On some nights the Aqua lounge converted into a discotheque for those who want to dance the night away.
The Leela also has a stunning private beach with its set of ocean facing lounge chairs and for those interested, the concierge will help you out with water sports and other beach activities as well. They can also make arrangements for a number of other activities like the sunset cruise, a visit to the spice gardens and sightseeing tours around the city. For all the sporty people, there’s a 12 hole golf course plus a couple of 9 hole putting greens, they have outdoor tennis courts, a basketball hoop and a well equipped fitness centre as well.
Our last afternoon at the Leela was reserved for the Spa. We had heard such good things about their award winning spa and it lived up to all our expectations. It was located in a beautiful spot just off the beach and offered an entire range of holistic ayurvedic treatments, as well as yoga, meditation and reiki classes. We din’t really have enough time to attend any of the classes but throughly enjoyed our massage and the visit to the spa left us fresh and completely rejuvenated.
For those wanting to venture out of the property, there are a few really nice restaurants in close vicinity. The Fisherman’s Wharf was located at the main entry of the Leela, you can get a buggy or simply walk across and the other ones to go to were Mike’s Beach Shack and Betty’s Place, but our personal favourite was the Fisherman’s Wharf which had good food and live music.
Overall, the Leela Goa was a revelation for me, a trip that’s etched in my memory. The staff went all out to make our stay unforgettable and left me with memories of a very special holiday, lazy carefree days spent swimming, cycling and spending quality time with my favourite two! We will definitely keep going back to this breathtaking resort where the service was outstanding, the food a delight, and the hospitality unparalleled.
Don’t miss out on their Enchanting Monsoon Offer. Pay for 3N and stay for 4N for your money’s worth at www.leelagoa.com
About the Author – Kirti is an ardent traveller who loves exploring new places, cuisines, and cultures. The wind beneath her wings is her pilot husband who joins her in this wanderlust and together they are constantly in pursuit of new experiences and adventures.