Thursday, February 21, 2013

Alila Diwa Goa and Groupon - a combinatorial review

This one has been on my mind for sometime now. Just did not get down to writing it. This is like a combi review of both Alila Diwa Goa and Groupon, the erstwhile Crazeal. Groupon is one of the many deal websites who apart from shopping deals, restaurant deals also have travel deals. We were quite skeptical initially of making a booking of 20k rupees via a deals website but I had used their site to purchase another deal at the Movenpick hotel and did not face any issues. It is as simple as

  • select deal
  • purchase the coupon
  • make a reservation with the client/merchant
  • take a printout of your voucher
  • present yourself at the said date and time. 
What's the best part about it? You can get a full refund if you are unable to redeem the purchased deal. The bad part is that the refund is in groupon credits. This happened to me when I bought the voucher for a Sunday Buffet Brunch at Soul City, UB City. They were completely sold out and so I got a refund of 1k in Groupon credits.

And now, back to Go Goa!! Our deal included 3 nights and 4 days stay at Alila Diwa Resort in South Goa, close to Betalbatim beach. Also included was buffet breakfast and evening drinks with snacks, limited to 2 happy hours. This was 24k for 2.

A resort in Goa would mean sunny, sandy beach outside the window but Alila Diwa is nestled amidst rice fields, a ways off from the beach. The property is huge and is nicely done up using natural mud bricks, eco-friendly decor of old metalware.
The pillars made of mud bricks

They have 3 blocks with the Diwa wing being the most beautiful or so I am told. They believe in sustainable tourism. The resort has 3 restaurants and the food at Spice Studio is what I'd recommend. It's value for money in a nice romantic ambience. Vivo is where breakfast is served. Vivo overlooks the pool and the food here is not that great. Avoid it except for the HUGE, I mean HUGE, breakfast buffet. We did not get a chance to checkout Bistro. Edge bar overlooks the pool, dimly lit and has the perfect setting for a good get together with friends. The staff at Edge Bar were very knowledgeable and suggested dishes that we would like and mentioned the ones to avoid as well. (LOL)

Drink at Edge Bar
The rooms were a delight, minimalistic but full of surprises. The sliding doors which open the toilet into the bedroom were a first for me. Oh yeah, I know what you are thinking now. The rooms are cleaned well every day and so you don't need to worry about any stray smells.
Room

The cozy balcony (don't miss the wooden blades of the fan)
The beach is about 600m away from the resort. You could go on the trusty two wheeler that you can hire just outside the hotel or use the free buggy service. Having the beach away and taking a walk to and fro would mean a good way to digest all the food.
Entrance to the beach

The beach - there had to be at least one of these
What we liked :

  • Friendly, knowledgeable, helpful staff
  • The room
  • The decor
  • Dinner at Spice Studio

What we did not like :

  • Over crowded - fortunately, we vacated the day there was a wedding reception to be held at the resort
  • Food was mostly for the foreign palette, quite bland