WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Opened in 2004, the Lalit is set in 85 acres sandwiched between the picturesque Talpone River, where it has a jetty for watersports with jet skis and the kilometre-long beachfront of Raj Baga Beach.
It’s a unique position, and its design is uniquely Goan and Indian with its mix of well-maintained formal gardens and Baroque-Portuguese architecture coupled with a slightly faded air of grandeur.
There is a security check at the gate and then the approach to the pale yellow stucco hotel buildings is through the golf course, with the tennis courts and two squash courts to the left hand side.
The lobby has large chandeliers, antique-style ceiling fans and a grand staircase overlooking a hand-painted tile mosaic of Sao Rafael, the very first Portuguese ship to land in Goa under the helm of Vasco Da Gama.
We were greeted warmly, and taken to our rooms, but then having failed to have our luggage arrive despite a reminder phone call we simply walked back to reception and fetched it ourselves.
The resort is impressive during the day (the photos don’t really do it justice), but at night with atmospheric lighting around the gardens, pool and main building becomes something very special and atmospheric.
WHERE IS IT?
In South Goa, on a coastal plain with the Sahyadari mountain range as a backdrop and the confluence of the Talpone River. It takes about 80 minutes from Goa’s international airport, though there is a helipad by the hotel’s jetty to one side of the golf course for a 20-minute shuttle service.
The resort offers 255 rooms and suites, and an additional ten villas, with the rooms being gathered together into their own buildings (casas) of two storeys around the property.
Most rooms and suites have either terraces or balconies, and attractive views over the gardens to the sea, which is reached by walking across the golf course via paths.
The casas have attractive shaded walkways between them, with, in one case, a stunning series of fountains against a tall wall of creeper vines.
In the rooms and suites the furnishings are traditional, with marble floors, large bathrooms with showers and baths, and views out onto the eight formal gardens, which each have their own theme (the Portuguese Garden, the “red” Garden, and so on).
The entry level Garden view / Sea view Suites (56 sqm) are huge with dark wood, antique-style furniture big beds with large headboards and lots of furniture, and yet still there is room to perform an exercise class in the centre of the room.
All rooms have air-conditioning, ceiling fans (wifi costs ₹1,400 for 24 hours for up to 3 devices). Luxury Suites are 82 sqm and the Lalit Legacy Suites are 225 sqm. There are ten three / four bedroom luxurious villas spread over 465 sqm.
BARS AND RESTAURANTS
There’s a big choice here. Canacona is the all-day dining restaurant with a huge buffet or a la carte choice for all three meals of the day. Sirocco (pictured below) is on the first floor of the main building and is Mediterranean Cuisine.
Corta’s is the beach shack, with a choice of Goan and Mediterranean cuisine and fresh seafood grills, and there is also a sports bar just off the lobby (Veri Feni, named after the local liquor and decorated with paintings by the Indian cartoonist Mario Miranda), and Gazebo, the pool bar.
BUSINESS AND MEETINGS FACILITIES
The resort scores highly here: the few days we visited there were two large conferences and then two weddings. The functions can be held in the Braganza Hall which can seat 450 for a banquet; Raj baga Hall over by the golf pros shop, but also making use of break out rooms (Vasco and Afonso).
The swimming pool is large, with a swim-up bar and some spooky-looking stone crocodiles at its edge. The golf course is maintained to a very high standard, and though only nine holes has been designed in a double “t” way to ensure a varied 18 holes can be played. Lessons are available and there is an on-site golf professional.
There is also a tennis court, two squash courts, water sports from the jetty and a large chess board by the giant swimming pool.
The fitness centre and yoga rooms are large and well-equipped, and the two-storey Rejuve spa has a huge range of treatments, both Western and ayurvedic. On the way to the spa there’s also a kid’s room with toys and a large flat screen TV for video games.
An atmospheric, well-appointed and well equipped south Goa resort with excellent service and a pristine beach. The sports facilities set it above the competition and the design of the buildings make it a unique hotel.
HOW MANY ROOMS? there are 255 rooms and suites, and an additional 10 villas. All are huge, from entry level Garden view / Sea view Suites (56 sqm) to Luxury Suites (82 sqm) the Lalit Legacy Suites (25 sqm)
HIGHLIGHTS the formal gardens and Portuguese style of the hotel buildings, as well as rooms so large it takes a few days to get used to them
CONTACT The Lalit Golf and Spa Resort, Raj Baga, Canacona, Goa 403702, thelalit.com