Why you’ll love the Park Hyatt
If what you’re after is an easy family beach holiday then look no further than the Park Hyatt Goa. Spread over 46 acres, this 250-room resort seemingly has it all; a pristine private beach, a superb kids club, a sublime spa and enough activities to keep everyone busy for weeks, if not months.
The design echoes that of a traditional Goan village, albeit a very upmarket one. Cobbled pathways connect the rooms and amenities and at the heart of the resort lies the lively Village Square. Here you’ll find most of the hotel’s restaurants and bars (there are nine in total) as well as a charming theatre presenting movies and live dance and music performances.
The award-winning spa is one of the largest in Asia, the swimming pool reputedly the biggest in India and there’s even a shopping arcade and weekly artisan market. Activities range from jet skiing and sunset cruises to yoga, tennis, archery and volleyball tournaments. As we said, you can be kept very busy here. Or, you may simply choose to lie on the private beach and catch up on some much-needed sleep.
Why the kids will love the Park Hyatt
There’s a lot for kids to love about the Park Hyatt Goa. Positioned near the airport it’s an easy weekend getaway or an ideal start to a longer holiday after a long-haul flight. But there’s much, much more to this family-friendly resort than simply a convenient location.
The glorious swimming pool consists of a handful of turquoise lagoons, linked by a series of cascading falls that you can swim or slide down. There’s also a separate kids’ pool for younger globetotters. Once they tire of the pool then there’s Camp Hyatt, a kids’ club for children aged 4-12 where the days are spent playing games, enjoying arts and crafts, watching movies, singing, dancing, playing on the beach and more.
Teens can try jet skiing or paragliding, play tennis and beach volleyball, borrow bicycles for tours of the surrounding countryside and then flop in the game centre, PlayStation in hand. In fact there’s so much to do (we didn’t even mention the banana boat rides and ice cream cart) that it’s almost guaranteed you won’t see your offspring until it’s time to check out.
The resort layout is based on that of a traditional Goan village and cobbled pathways connect the buildings and amenities. The 250 guest rooms and suites are positioned over five sandstone coloured buildings (known as ‘courts’) that are arranged around the Village Square, the heart of the resort.
All the rooms, except the suites, are the same size (41 sqm) and differ merely in aspect. The elegant rooms are decorated in neutral tones and include contemporary artwork, a king size bed and an open-plan marble bathroom with a sunken tub and rain shower. The rooms also boast flatscreen TVs, AC, a safe, tea and coffee making facilities, WiFi, and a private outdoor space.
The rooms and suites are divided into 11 categories.
1. Park King / Twin – lagoon and lawn views; secret garden and large veranda
2. Park Deluxe King / Twin – lagoon and lawn views; secret garden and large veranda
3. Pool View King / Pool View Twin – pool views; large veranda
4. Sea View King / Twin – sea views; large veranda
The suites are as follows:
Park Suite King (85 sqm) With far-reaching lagoon and sea views this large suite has a sitting area and desk, a powder room and the bathrooms comes stocked with Forest Essentials spa products. It also has a private veranda.
Vista Suite (127 sqm) This is a beautiful room with a kitchenette and separate living area as well as a powder room. The bedroom can have one king or two twin beds. Forest Essential spa products are stocked in the bathroom.
Imperador Suite (172 sqm) Even larger is this one-bedroom suite that enjoys a kitchenette, a sumptuous living area and separate dining area as well as a private garden with jetted spa tub and veranda where you can enjoy views over the sea, pool and gardens.
Best Rooms For Families: Despite the size of the rooms the Park Hyatt only allows one extra bed per room in addition to a baby cot. Those families requiring more than one extra bed will have to book two rooms; inter-connecting rooms are available. For families with young children the rooms on the ground floor opening onto the gardens are a good choice and for those with older kids then easy pool access courtesy of the Pool View rooms work well. Babysitting is available (for an additional charge); rooms are out of monitor reach.
The Park Hyatt has five restaurants and four bars and lounges.
Casa Sarita is the hotel’s signature Goan restaurant. It features an interactive show kitchen and serves traditional dishes from the area. Signature dishes include chouris pao, a local spiced pork sausage served in Goan bread. Also recommended is the Casa Sarita prawn curry and the Goan fish curry. Casa Sarita was named ‘Best Goan Restaurant’ in the Times Good Food Guide 2011 and ‘Best New Restaurant in India’ on the Condé Nast Traveler Hot list of Tables 2008.
Masala serves authentic Indian street-side food, predominantly from the Northwest Frontier and Punjab. Enjoy paneer mirch masala (paneer in a tomato and onion curry), gosht rogan josh (slowly braised lamb shanks with onion, tomato and yoghurt) and tandoori ajwaini pomfret (carom-flavoured whole fish cooked with mustard oil) accompanied by freshly baked naan breads.
Da Luigi is the hotel’s Italian restaurant and serves wonderful pizzas in addition to grilled tiger prawns, confit of duck and perfectly cooked risotto. Younger kids will enjoy watching the chefs toss their pizza in the large open kitchen before putting it in the oven.
The Village Café is open throughout the day and is the perfect spot for a sandwich or salad or a more casual dinner. Evening meal options include a number of pan-Asian dishes.
Palms is an open-air, beachside seafood restaurant that serves a wide range of freshly caught seafood. Palms is open from 10am until 11pm during non-monsoon months only.
Overlooking the swimming pool is the Poolside Bar, a great option for snacks and light bites as well as cocktails!
Breakfast is served in The Village Café and Masala. Both offer Indian and continental options.
All the restaurants are open for lunch and dinner so all you have to do is decide what you feel like eating be it seafood or Goan specialities, freshly-made pizzas or pan-Asian fare.
There are three bars, the Praia de Luz, the Wine Room and the Poolside Bar.
For Kids: There is a dedicated kids’ menu that is available in all the hotel’s restaurants. This menu includes soups, salads, cheeseburgers, sandwiches, chicken nuggets, fish and chips, rice, noodle and pasta dishes, pizza and a range of non-spicy Indian dishes too such as palak paneer and parathas.
Camp Hyatt, the hotel’s kids’ club, has its own menu offering macaroni cheese, ice cream sundaes, milkshakes and more. Room service is available 24 hrs.
Indulge yourself at the hotel’s Sereno Spa, listed as the Best Destination Spa at the Conde Nast Traveller India Awards 2011. Spread over 36,000sq ft the spa offers a range of treatments including some wonderful – and long! – massages.
Send your kids off to Camp Hyatt and enjoy a day lying by the pool doing absolutely nothing.
Unroll your yoga mat and salute the sun during one of the hotel’s complimentary yoga sessions, held three times a day.
Learn to create traditional Goan dishes during an interactive cooking workshop. Held in Casa Sarita, groups of eight to 10 work together under the watchful eye of the master chef to create a typical Goan meal.
Go jet skiing, parasailing or choose a serene dolphin cruise instead.
Learn your cashews from your coconuts on a horticulture tour of the resort held every Wednesday afternoon.
Borrow a bicycle and head off along Goa’s southern coastline, stopping for a dip in the sea every now and then.
Watch the evening performances of traditional dance and music held nightly in the Village Square theatre.
Tennis, beach volleyball, cricket, football, archery, table tennis and more are all available to play.
Go shopping! Browse the shopping arcade and enjoy the weekly Saturday artisan market that sees traders arrive to sell their handicrafts, bangles, spices and other can’t-live-without locally produced gifts and souvenirs.
Take a day trip and explore the villages and old homes of ancestral Goa, the colourful churches and temples in the surrounding areas and the numerous monuments and museums.
Spend your days poolside. The pool here is one of the largest in India and there’s a separate children’s pool and winding waterslides for extra splashing fun.
Join Camp Hyatt, the hotel’s very own kids’ club. Here children aged 4 to 12 can play games, do puzzles, enjoy arts and crafts, watch movies, sing, dance, play on the beach, learn pottery and generally keep very, very busy from 9am to 7pm every day. Children under 4 are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. Charges apply.
Play table tennis or make like Andy Murray on the tennis courts instead, join in a game of football, serve an over and then run around the sand in a game of beach volleyball.
Experience the traditional art of henna and have your hands decorated with beautiful designs.
Borrow a bicycle and pedal along the coastline or board a boat for a dolphin-spotting cruise.
For kids with a lot of energy to burn there are dance classes, archery lesson and even yoga sessions designed especially with mini globetotters in mind.
Play on the pristine sands and swim in the warm Arabian Sea; teens can try jet skiing and paragliding too.
A/C, babysitting available with advanced notice and for an additional charge, common rooms, cots, doctor on call, nearest hospital is approx. 20 mins away, 1 x extra bed per room, inter-connecting rooms, kids’ activities, kids’ club, kids’ dining facilities, kids’ swimming pool, laundry, pushchair-friendly, shops, spa, swimming pool, travel desk, wheelchair access, WiFi.
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.
Location & Travel:
The Grand Hyatt is located on Arossim Beach, South Goa.
Dabolim International Airport, Goa’s only airport is located 15 km from the Park Hyatt, approximately a 20 minute drive. There are regular daily flights to numerous Indian cities with a number of domestic airlines including GoAir, Jet Airways and Spicejet. A complimentary air-conditioned shuttle bus service is available to and from the airport. Chauffer driven cars are available on request for an additional charge.
The closest train station is Madgaon station in Margao, which is also Goa’s main train station. The Park Hyatt is 14 km (roughly 15 minutes by car) from here. Goa is linked to Mumbai in the north and Mangalore in the south via the Konkan Railway.
1) The resort is vast so bring a pushchair or backpack for little kids and a big beach bag to avoid frequent trips to and from your room.
2) Fiona Caulfield’s Love Goa is not cheap, but it is very good and worth getting if you plan on spending a few weeks in Goa.
3) Take advantage of the kids’ club and catch up on some reading. We loved Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo.