Family Hotel Review: The Grand Hyatt, North Goa, India
Enjoy a truly relaxing Goan holiday in this grand, Palladian-style family resort. With a divine spa and excellent kids club it allows for a genuine break with the kids in tow.
Best for: Luxury-loving parents looking to recharge, a monsoon escape; kids of all ages
Reviewed by: Victoria Westmacott
Why You’ll Love It
Located just 15 minutes from Goa’s capital, Panjim is this extensive palatial resort that offers the perfect tonic to luxury family holiday dilemmas. The five-star Grand Hyatt promises both an indulgent getaway for mum and dad and a fun-filled holiday for kids too.
This property is far from small. Set on 28 acres of tropical gardens along tranquil Bambolim Bay there are 314 rooms spread across 10 stand-alone buildings. All rooms come with either a private terrace or balcony and are within earshot of the sea. Despite the size of the property, however, great care has been taken to integrate traditional Goan design and craft into the architecture of the hotel. It’s been built to resemble a 17th century Portuguese palace and the characteristic wide hallways and sloping roofs have been replicated, as have traditional capiz shell windows and individually tiled floors.
The Grand Hyatt also offers seven restaurants and lounges, a sublime spa with 19 treatment suites, six boutiques in the offing and the Royal Villa, 1600 sqm of extravagance that comes with easy helipad access. Just in case…
Why The Kids Will Love It
The Grand Hyatt may well be a über luxurious hotel but it also happens to be incredibly family-friendly with plenty to please kids of all ages. Plus, it’s very close to Goa’s airport making it an easy place to visit. The grounds themselves are perfect for exploring, acres and acres of leafy gardens full of banyan, mango and shady palm trees. The calm waters of Bambolin Bay are ideal for swimming although being an estuary beach it’s not terribly sandy so your sandcastles might be a little small.
Surrounded by 200-year-old banyan trees the main hotel swimming pool is great for big kids and teens and there’s a separate kiddie pool that has been built according to a traditional temple well design. There’s even a 25m indoor swimming pool – a great option if you visit during monsoon months.
Camp Hyatt, for children aged three to 12, is guaranteed to keep kids entertained and amused for the entire day. Activities start at 9am and run until 6pm and include craft projects, pottery, kite flying, scavenger hunts and story telling. Face painting, archery, dance classes and yoga lessons are just some of the additional pursuits on offer. In short, there is a lot for kids to do.
There are 314 rooms, all with either a private terrace or balcony, are spread across 10 stand-alone buildings. Decorated in contemporary neutral colours with traditional Goan flourishes the rooms are beautifully understated and incredibly comfortable. They all have king size beds and private balconies overlooking the gardens, and fun gadgets (for kids, at least!) such as the electronic screen that magically separates the bedroom from the bathroom at the touch of the button. Best of all, however, are the private sit-outs (furnished with sofas) overlooking either the gardens or pool and Bambolim Bay.
As with many larger hotels there are an incredible number of room categories; here you have 14 different types of room to choose from. All bedrooms have a marble bathroom with bathtub and separate shower, flatscreen TV, AC, a safe, tea and coffee making facilities, WiFi, an iPod docking station and almost any other mod con that you can think of.
Ten categories of rooms are the same size (50sqm) and are graded according to their views and amenities.
1. Grand King / Twin – garden view
2. Pool View King / Twin – views of pool
3. Bay View King / Twin – views of pool or bay
4. Club King / Twin – garden view
5. Club View King / Twin – views of pool or bay
Guests staying in the Club rooms (and Suites) enjoy the following complimentary amenities: in-room Internet and access to the Grand Club lounge, serving continental buffet breakfast, all-day coffee, tea and snacks, evening cocktails and canapés, and one-hour complimentary use of a club meeting room per stay.
Grand Suite King Enjoy scenic views of the pool or sunsets on the bay in this 100 sqm contemporary suite, offering a separate sitting and dining area and a 20 sqm private balcony with whirlpool. The marble bathroom houses a separate bathtub and walk-in rain shower.
Grand Executive Suite Covering 150 sqm is this one-bedroom suite with wooden floors, a work desk, marble bathroom with a bathtub and separate walk-in rain shower and a large vanity space with sunset views.
Presidential Suite Even larger is this two-bedroom suite that covers 250 sqm. The suite boasts two king size beds, a separate sitting and dining area and a 50sqm private balcony with no less than two whirlpools overlooking the bay.
Royal Villa This 1,400sqm private villa houses four bedrooms, three with king size beds and one with twin beds. The villa is also equipped with a private plunge pool and balcony overlooking the landscaped gardens and sunsets on the bay. There’s a kitchen and living and dining areas, a home theatre and private gym.
Best rooms for families: Despite the size of the rooms, the Grand 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.
The Presidential Suite is a two-bedroom suite and therefore allows for two extra beds, the maximum number of guests permitted in this room is six. The Royal Villa is a four-bedroom villa and can accommodate a maximum of 10 people. The rooms on the ground floor allow for easy access to the swimming pool and gardens.
The Grand Hyatt has four restaurants and three bars and lounges.
The Verandah is the hotel’s signature restaurant and serves an international menu of mainly market fresh produce alongside plenty of grilled seafood and meat. The crab cakes, potato gnocchi and coconut curry with paneer and pumpkin all come highly recommended. The Verandah won the Times of India ‘Best Grills BBQ’ award in 2012.
The Dining Room is an interactive buffet restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here guests can choose from Thai, Indian, Italian and Middle Eastern all prepared in the show kitchens while you watch and wait.
Chulha is the hotel’s Indian restaurant offering home-style cooking and there’s a tandoor show kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work. The plates are small here so you can try as many of the dishes as possible including a variety of chaat, traditional street food. The live chaat counter also features a sugarcane-crushing machine, used to make their extremely tasty sugarcane mojitos. Chulha won the Times of India ‘Best Newcomer and ‘Best Indian Restaurant in North Goa’ awards in 2012.
A favourite with most kids is Confeitaria, the hotel’s patisserie that serves pastries, ice creams, smoothies, chocolate alongside a range of savoury snacks and light bites.
Positioned outside near the pool and bay, the Pool Bar and Grill serves salads, grilled dishes, light snacks and homemade ice creams.
Breakfast is served in The Dining Room with continental and Indian options to choose from including cereals, freshly baked pastries, magnificent croissants, eggs cooked to order and a plentiful supply of freshly squeezed juices.
The Dining Room and Chulha are both open for lunch and the choice of food is exceptional. The Verandah is open for dinner only.
The Confeitaria is open daily 7am to 10pm and the Pool Bar and Grill is open from 8am to 6pm. Room service is available on a 24-hour basis. Hot and cold food is delivered to your door via a modified electric golf cart!
For Kids: There is a dedicated children’s menu that offers kiddie-friendly fare such as pasta, burgers, fish fingers and other kid favourites.
Activities for Parents
Indulge yourself with a treatment or two at the hotel’s Shamana Spa, listed among the Best New Spas 2012 by Conde Nast Traveller (US). There are 19 treatment rooms, including six rooms just for couples.
Wander the grounds (all 28 acres of them) and visit the ruins of the 16th century chapel in the garden.
Make the most of the hotel’s lifestyle studio and enjoy yoga or Pilates, or even an aerobics class.
Swim laps in the indoor 25-metre pool and then soak up the sun on the loungers by the outdoor pool.
Go scuba diving and discover the colourful coral, rocky pinnacles and shipwrecks below the surface. The dive season runs from October to May.
Learn to windsurf! Neighbouring beaches (1 to 1.5hrs drive) offer the perfect conditions for beginners and more advance practitioners. The best months are from January to March.
Cast a rod and wait for dinner to bite on a deep-sea fishing trip or enjoy an evening cruise on the Mandovi River in Panjim instead.
Tour Old Goa, admire the grand Portuguese architecture and visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Take a trip to Dudh Sagar Falls, India’s fifth tallest waterfall and then visit a spice plantation to see how spices are grown.
Send your kids off to Camp Hyatt and enjoy a day lying by the pool doing absolutely nothing.
Activities for Kids
Splash around in the swimming pool and then head to the beach to look for capiz shells; these pretty shell pieces were traditionally used to decorate the windows of Goan homes and can be found in the windows of the Grand Hyatt as well.
Children aged from three to 12 years can join Camp Hyatt (charges apply) and spend their days doing arts and crafts, listening to stories, playing indoor and outdoor games and watching movies. Camp Hyatt is open from 9am to 6pm. Children younger than three are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.
Teens can try their hand at windsurfing, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing.
Face painting, magic shows, t-shirt painting and pottery are also on offer and there’s even someone who can make balloon animals!
For kids with a lot of energy to burn there are bicycles to borrow, dance classes, archery lesson and even yoga sessions designed especially with mini globetotters in mind.
Learn to swim in the ‘Tadpole Group’ (three to five years). Lessons are held once a week.
A/C, babysitting available for an additional charge, common rooms, cots, doctor on call, nearest hospital is 1 km away, 1 extra bed per room, inter-connecting rooms,f kids’ activities, kids’ club, kids’ dining facilities, kids’ swimming pool, laundry, pushchair-friendly, shop, spa, swimming pool, travel desk, wheelchair access, WiFi.
Rates vary considerably depending on choice of room and season. Please contact the hotel directly for an exact quote based on your family’s requirements.
When to go:
The best time to visit South Goa is from late October to March when the daytime temperatures hover between 25-30C. Peak season is from mid-December to the end of January.
April and May sees temperatures rise along with humidity levels and the monsoon season starts in June and runs until September.
The Grand Hyatt is a good choice for a monsoon escape as there is an indoor pool and a kid’s club, Camp Hyatt that never closes!
Goa’s annual Think Fest is held here in November.
Location & Travel:
The Grand Hyatt is located in Bambolim Bay, North Goa, 7 km from the capital Panjim.
Dabolim International Airport, Goa’s only airport, is located 30 km south of the capital Panjim. There are regular daily flights to numerous Indian cities with a number of domestic airlines including GoAir, Jet Airways and Spicejet. It takes approximately 30 minutes to drive from the airport to the Grand Hyatt and the hotel can arrange transfers for an additional cost (please enquire when booking).
The main train station in Goa is Madgaon station in Margao, but the nearest train station to the Grand Hyatt is Karmali Railway Station, 18 km (25 mins) away. Goa is linked to Mumbai in the north and Mangalore in the south via the Konkan Railway.
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) Sadly, I didn’t have time to try any treatments in the Spa but it looked amazing! This is the place to spoil yourself. Go for it!
2) It’s important to stress that the beach is not one of Goa’s finest. This hotel is more for families who want to unwind by the pool or in the spa whilst their children are kept entertained in the kids’ club. It’s also ideal as the first port of call after a long-haul flight as it’s reasonably close to the airport.
3) They usually have some good packages during the monsoon season that are well worth checking out.
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