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The Vivanta Goa, Panaji hotel brings Goa’s resort experiences to the inner city
The Indian Sunshine State has built a reputation as a laid-back leisure destination, best exemplified through the world-class resorts that make the most of its sandy beaches. But as the state attracts more business travellers every year, there’s been a push to rethink the inner-city hotel offering, and the Vivanta Goa, Panaji successfully reconfigures one’s perception of this segment.
Yes, its situated near the heart of the commercial district, but the long driveway from the periphery gates to the hotel entrance takes you physically from the busy city streets to a more tranquil environment that melds efficiency with the joie de vivre Goa is known for.
Rooms are well appointed to cater to the needs of the business traveller, and have all the mod cons modern life requires, including a multi-media gadget panel to keep all your devices charged. Dark wooden flooring, plush furniture and recessed lighting with dimmer switches create a comfortable space to lounge in, while the sleek bathrooms feature full-sized Kaldewei bathtubs and rain showers, complemented by Egyptian cotton bath linen.
The hotel’s food offering is a personal highlight. Spearheaded by Chef Rego, called the Godfather of Goan cuisine, Vivanta Panaji embraces its locality in a fun way. While the chef leads cooking classes with trips to local markets, you can also leave it to the experts, as I chose to do. His lunch offering at the Goan Stories pop-up experience starts with a spicy milk drink made from coriander and the tangy local fruit known as kuka. He then rolls out a big thali of his specialities, including a fragrant prawn and coriander dish, a traditional prawn curry, a thick and creamy crab curry and fried kingfish, served with a local rice and an eggless bread fresh from the wood oven.
The hotel also has two award-winning restaurants, a deli and a lounge serving European classics, all-American meals and authentic Asian flavours. For special occasions, the team organise private candlelight dinners on the rooftop pool deck, as well as Champagne sunset cruises on the Arabian Sea.
Many travel to Goa for its infamous party scene, but the state has a rich heritage foreign tourists often overlook. Portugal had a presence here for almost 500 years, and that country’s cultural influence is recognisable throughout Goa, with pockets of perfectly preserved architectural wonders and even some World Heritage Sites the hotel’s concierge team are happy to organise tours of. A standout is the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa, often described as India’s grandest showcase of Baroque architecture.
Sportier types are accommodated with surf and kayak outings. The hotel also has a 24/7 fitness centre, spa and salon.
The Vivanta Goa, Panaji brings Goa’s resort experiences to the inner city.
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