Family Hotel Review: Yab Yum, North Goa, India
Spend the night in one of these magical dome-shaped pods located just a splash from one of Goa’s prettiest beach.
Best for: Laid-back sandy fun; kids of all ages
Reviewed by: Victoria Westmacott
Why You’ll Love It
Goa has plenty of beach huts to choose from but none quite like the ones at Yab Yum. Located just a few steps away from one of northern Goa’s prettiest beaches is an enchanting sandy enclave of palm groves that’s home to 12 dome-shaped pods. More conventional cottages are also available, but it’s the quirky dome bedrooms made from lava rock, palm leaves and mango wood that are the most fun.
Everything at this family-friendly hotel invites you to relax. The setting is beautiful and the staff incredibly friendly. There’s a yoga shala where Ashtanga and Iyenga yoga is taught daily, a tree house massage room and the option of lounging by the plunge pool or lazing by the beach. Breakfast is delivered to your door and you’re just around the corner from some of Goa’s best restaurants for lunch and dinner options.
Why The Kids Will Love It
Yab Yum gets a big thumbs up from kids for fun. The setting is charming; a delightful sandy garden with footbridges and wiggly paths that wind their way through the coconut and banana groves. Strings of blue paper lanterns guide the way by day, replaced by twinkling fairy lights at night. With their woolly mammoth thatched roofs and comical eyes, the domes add to the fairytale-like feel.
The biggest pull for kids big and small is the beach and you really couldn’t be much closer to this golden stretch of sand. Yab Yum also has a blue and white tiled plunge pool for splashing about in the shade and there’s a tepee crammed with a mishmash of well-loved toys, paints and other distractions. Older kids will enjoy exploring the area by bicycle and as well as boogie boarding and hopping on boat trips for dolphin spotting.
The 12 domes and four cottages are simple but and charming in a beachy kind of way. Built on eco-principles they all benefit from sea breezes and fans are provided but there is no air-conditioning so the pods can sometimes feel a little stuffy when it’s warm.
All rooms have ensuite bathrooms, an outside space where you can lounge in a hammock or enjoy breakfast and the beds have mosquito nets. Other personal touches include the incense burner that’s placed in each room and the bowl of water that’s placed beside the front doors to wash sandy feet.
Domes The igloo-shaped domes have been created on a base of lava rock with woven palm leaf walls and a shaggy grass thatched roof. Each of the 12 domes are three connecting circles; the largest circle is the bedroom and the two additional domes on either side serve as the entrance and the bathroom. Inside the pods have been painted a lively indigo.
The entranceway has banquettes on either side and is a useful place to store sandy beach kit. The bedrooms are simple and fun with stone-platform beds dressed in white cotton linen. There are no bathtubs in the bathrooms and the water pressure can sometimes be disappointing when showering.
The domes fall into the following categories:
Standard Dome: These domes have a large bedroom with a king size bed and a seating area.
Large Family Dome: There is one very large bedroom with king size bed and two good sized single beds. Medium Family Dome: One large bedroom with king size bed and two good sized single beds.
The Suite Pod: This pod sits on top of a sand dune overlooking the beach and benefits the most from the sea breeze. It has two bedrooms each with king size bed, seating area and large bathroom with a fab rain shower.
The Honey Pod: positioned on top of the dune overlooking the beach. It has one bedroom with a king size bed and is best suited to couples.
The four whitewashed cottages are old Portuguese houses that have been transformed into beachfront accommodation. There are three standard cottages, which come with a king size bed and seating area, and one twin cottage with two separate double beds. All cottages come with ensuite bathrooms and a veranda. The four cottages are small but could accommodate a cot if you were travelling with a young infant.
Best rooms for families:
Large Family Dome: The large family dome sleeps two adults and two children very comfortably, a third child can be accommodated in a travel cot free of charge or an inflatable mattress may be added.
Medium Family Dome: The medium family dome sleeps two adults and two children, a third child can be accommodated in a travel cot free of charge or an inflatable mattress may be added. This dome is located in between the plunge pool and toy tepee.
The Suite Pod: With two bedrooms, the Suite Pod sleeps two adults and two children (or three small children if they can all share a king size bed). It’s a great option for those travelling with older children.
There is no official restaurant at Yab Yum, breakfast and snacks are served where you like. There is an all-day snack menu, but for lunch and dinner you may need to look elsewhere. Fortunately you’re well placed here to try some of Goa’s best restaurants.
Breakfast is included in the tariff and is delivered to your room at a time of your choosing, all you have to do is complete the little menu card that is hung from your door every evening. On offer are eggs (any style), yoghurt, cereal, muesli, fruit salads, freshly squeezed juice, freshly baked buns with homemade organic jams and organic Indian coffee. Try eating outside at your own private table.
Lunch & Dinner There are plenty of beachside restaurants nearby to choose from. Palm Grove has a simple, kid-friendly menu with options such as toasted cheese sandwiches and egg fried rice or noodles. La Plage, one of Goa’s most acclaimed restaurants, is also nearby and is great for dinner and celeb spotting. Unsurprisingly there is a lot of seafood on the menu.
The village of Arambol is a ten minute drive away and has a lot of restaurants and bars including Fellini’s, an Italian-owned pizza restaurant, and Double Dutch, which reputedly serves the best homemade cakes in Goa. Owing to the large number of tourists this area receives restaurants serve just about everything from Chinese and French to German and Russian.
Snacks Yab Yum has daytime snack menu (12pm-8pm) and a 24hr-licensed service 24hr license for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Lassis, fresh juices, beer, wine, cocktails or soft drinks can be brought to you on the beach or to your room.
For Kids: There is no official children’s menu but the snack menu has some kid-friendly options and there are plenty of restaurants nearby catering to families.
Activities for Parents:
Grab an ice-cold Kingfisher and kick back on a sun lounger with a great book on one of Goa’s most beautiful beaches.
Relax and rejuvenate with an Iyengar yoga session followed by a soothing massage.
Head to the legendary Anjuna market and enjoy the live music while bargaining for trinkets, gifts, clothing and jewellery.
Jump on a bike and explore the back lanes and villages of Mandrem stopping for fresh coconut milk along the way.
Put the kids to bed (with a babysitter!) and enjoy a moonlit stroll along the beach, dinner for two or drinks at Yab Yum’s pretty candlelit cabana that sits on top of a dune.
Activities for Kids:
Sand n’ surf + bucket n’ spade = kiddie bliss.
Plunder the tepee full of toys and paints, and splash about in the checkered plunge pool.
Go in search of the rare Olive Ridley sea turtle that sometimes nest on Ashwem beach (Sept-Feb).
Grab a bike and explore the neighbourhood, hit the waves on a boogie board, or try your hand at kite surfing. There are also boat trips to look for dolphins.
Ask for extra pocket money and shop for bangles, bindis, colourful clothes and more at Anjuna’s lively flea market.
Babysitting (male staff), cots, kids’ activities organised during busy periods, doctor on call, laundry, massages, plunge pool.
Rates vary considerably according to room type and date of travel. Cottages and Domes start from INR 4,000 / night, including breakfast. Please contact the hotel directly for a direct quote based on your family’s requirements.
When to go:
The best time to visit is from November to March when the daytime temperatures hover between 25-30C.
Peak season is from mid-December to the end of January; if you plan to visit over this period then make sure to book well in advance and be prepared to pay extra.
From April the mercury rises and by May the daytime temperatures are nudging 35C.
The monsoons arrive early June when things get hot and sticky, but this is also when Goa becomes lush and green.
Yab Yum is closed from mid-April to the end of October.
Location & Travel:
Yab Yum is located in North Goa on Ashwem beach.
There are regular daily flights in and out of Goa to numerous Indian cities. Domestic airlines servicing Dabolim Airport include Indigo, GoAir, Kingfisher, Jet Airways and Spicejet. Yab Yum is 50km from Dabolim Airport (1-11/2 hours by car). The hotel offers an airport transfer service for an additional cost.
The main train station in Goa is Madgaon station in Margao, but the nearest train stations to Yab Yum are Pernem and Tivim. Goa is linked to Mumbai in the north and Mangalore in the south via the Konkan Railway. Yab Yum can arrange a transfer service for an additional charge.
If you’re planning on travelling around Goa then it’s a good idea to hire a car and driver; it’s a refreshingly easy place to travel around and nothing is too great a distance. Yab Yum can organise local car hire as well as scooter (moped) hire.
Contact The Hotel
For more information or to make a booking enquiry, visit the hotel’s own website by following the link below:
Reviewer’s Top Tips!
1) If you rely on hotel toiletries to wash your hair (and the kids) then it’s probably best to bring your own here.
2) Leave those Jimmy Choos behind; this is flip-flop only territory.
3) Bring high factor sunscreen, hats and sunglasses to beat the heat, and insect repellent to beat any possible mosquitoes and other little critters
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