Whenever I used tell people that I haven’t ever visited Goa, I got the same reaction as I do when I tell people I haven’t watched Sholay yet! Anyway, finally, the jinx was broken and I got to visit Goa. Better still, I got to visit Goa with my son Kabir. We were invited by Novotel Resorts and Spa for a weekend staycation. And only during the staycation, I realised how much we needed it. It had been two years since we got to travel together and the recent loss of our pet was making staying at home tough. Yet, I was jittery as we were supposed to spend two days together, would Kabir enjoy his little vacation with just me around.
Kabir was super excited and the Friday morning flight was uneventful except the Go Air flight attendant’s announcement that we have safely landed in Bengaluru. All of us had a hearty laugh while soaking in the green airport. I would have usually cribbed about the one hour journey from the airport to the hotel but the view was so beautiful that Kabir who usually after every 5 minutes says, “I’m getting bored”, kept looking out of the window quietly. We were greeted with some delectable drinks but we were really hungry so we went straight for lunch yet I couldn’t help noticing that there is no way Kabir is going to get bored as the hotel has been designed for families and kids. More on that later. So we moved to The Food Exchange, the hotel’s coffee shop for lunch. We had the massive Saraswat Thali with prawns, clams, squids, laal saag, fried fish, mutton and bibinka and we barely manged to finish half of it but loved every bit (except clam which I didn’t try).
We relaxed a little and did a little tour of the hotel post lunch. The hotel lobby has an interactive game table, Play station, Karaoke and the Chy, a very reasonably priced bakery. But it’s the outdoor area with a swimming pool with jacuzzi and zorbing, basket ball area, table tennis, badminton court, carrom board which won us over. Kabir and I spent some time playing and then headed to Candolim beach. The beach is located 5 minutes from the hotel and a free shuttle is available through the day. Kabir went crazy at the beach and I had to pull him out of there after a couple of hours but you need to see the pictures to believe the Goan sunset. I had a quick beer and Kabir had snacks by the beach at a shack before we headed back. We had dinner at the Vero Cibo, the specialty Mediterranean restaurant at the hotel. We had some awesome grilled chicken and watermelon and feta cheese salad. It was like our little date.
The next morning we woke up early to do a quick bike trip around the hotel. Something I wouldn’t ever feel like doing in Gurgaon. Just the clean air, greenery and architecture was enough to make it worthwhile. We had a long lazy breakfast at The Food Exchange. I forgot to mention that for kids they have “make your own doughnut/cookies/cupcakes” sessions as part of the buffet too which Kabir did post every meal. I headed to the room for a relaxed cup of tea while Kabir explored all that he could at the property. Post lunch, Kabir learned to make cocktails at Chy which he enjoyed thoroughly. And then we went to Fontainhas at Panjim for an Instagram meet (basically bunch of instagrammers meet to explore an area) which was incidental. Fontainhas is an old Latin Quarter which maintains its Portuguese influence, particularly through its architecture, which includes narrow and picturesque winding streets. I’m glad we went there as we got to see a different side of the place. We were tired post the walk and got to the hotel and had a quick dinner. In fact, I had one of the best biryanis ever at The Food Exchange and for Kabir they tossed some simple pasta as he wasn’t in a mood to experiment much.
We were supposed to check out at noon on Sunday so we spent the entire morning at the pool. Kabir tried his hand (and legs!) at zorbing too.
Overall it was a great experience with warm and friendly staff, excellent food and loads of activities yet a very relaxing stay. For us it was a much needed time out and honestly I feel one should do a staycation, without any agenda, once in a while to connect with their kid/s better.
PS – I was invited to visit Novotel Resorts and Spa, as a blogger.