Both the Grand Hyatt and Park Hyatt Goa provides me complimentary transfers to and from the airport. The Grand Hyatt transfers were due to staying in a suite with club access while the Park Hyatt transfers were from booking a special package that includes 5,000 Rupees worth of credit for spa and dining in the resort. Thus when I checked in at the Grand Hyatt, I mentioned that I would be needing transfer to the Park Hyatt, and somehow the 2 hotels arranged it for me to get the transfer on the day I checked out at around 2pm. It was a lazy afternoon drive to the Park Hyatt which was about 40 minutes away by car and I had a private car transfer which was very much appreciated.
The arrival at the Park Hyatt showed a different hotel that was older. Now if many of you do not yet know, Park Hyatt is reserved for smaller properties and is considered the creme-de-la-creme of Hyatt’s house of brands. And I am a huge fan of their hotels and resorts having stayed at their properties in the Maldives, Melbourne, Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul. In fact the Park Hyatt Goa was one of the resorts I was looking forward to. The room rates in both the Grand Hyatt and Park Hyatt Goa was actually quite similar around (12,000 Rupees for a standard room) and the Park Hyatt will turn out to be more value-for-money when you consider the 5,000 Rupees credit.
The resort in the Park Hyatt seems more popular as it was more crowded during the day I stayed there. One of the host welcomed me to the resort and directed me to a seating area facing the water feature and the pool while she handed me a cold towel and a fresh young coconut as she takes my credit card and passport to conduct the check-in process. Since I had the transfer from the hotel car, most of the procedures were probably completed but with a seat that made me comfortable, a nice view and a wonderful coconut drink, I was in no hurry to get to my room just yet.
With the check-in completed, the host escorted me to the suite while explaining the layout of the resort and provided me a map of the resort with the key holder. She further mentioned my suite will face a lagoon and I was actually expecting another ocean view suite. Apparently suite upgrades will only get Diamond guests suites facing the lagoon and not ocean view suites since those are a different layout and a higher category I believe. It turns out that did not matter at all as I will explain later.
Room No: 514 Category: Park Suite King
The rooms in this resort is even more spread out than that in the Grand Hyatt Goa. The layout of the rooms here were more like chalets, as in several small buildings are located around the huge hotel compound with each building housing around 8-12 units of rooms and suites. My suite is located on the second floor of one of the buildings about 3 minutes walk from the lobby. This layout is meant to create a village-like atmosphere with a decorative water lagoon meandering around a landscaped garden.
Inside the suite was a large spacious living space with a powder room just beside the entrance. The living room has a two-seater sofa and 2 armchairs with one ottoman leg rest. On the corner beside the TV console lies the ornate and large work desk with 2 chairs. The living room also has a large cabinet which houses the minibar and safe.
A narrow archway leads guests from the living space to the bedroom and bathroom. The bedroom lies on the right and is furnished with another TV cabinet, a dressing table, a sofa and a King-sized bed. Compared to the room at the Grand Hyatt, this felt more spacious which could be due to the vaulted ceiling.
The bathroom on the left side has an interesting layout as the first section when entering is the toilet and bidet again, as found in most of the hotels I have visited in India. Then guests will find a long alleyway with a wardrobe and luggage storage on one side and a double sink bathroom vanity counter on the other side of the wall. The highlight of the bathroom is the sunken bath in the corner with louvred windows that open out to the lagoon.
Having the Park Suite on the second floor also meant more privacy though it can be a hassle bringing your luggage up the stairs. It was fortunate there was bellboys helping me with the luggage though. Another feature I liked was the wrap-around balcony that links the bedroom to the living room of the suite, providing great views of the lagoon. There was some lounge and dining chairs on the balcony along with towel racks that would come in handy to dry my swim gear.
The only hiccup I had in this resort was the very fixed timing they had for laundry services and they could not process the laundry within a day (dropping off in the afternoon and getting it back by the morning). With the spa and dining credit, I made a reservation for a spa appointment in the evening before dinner time and also ordered room service in the room as I was feeling somewhat hungry. I ordered grilled prawns and it was huge and delicious which satisfied me somewhat before I took a walk around the resort.
Even though the Park Hyatt was an older resort, it has a village charm to the whole place. There was a lot of beautiful sceneries around the garden and somehow the resort feels more inter-connected due to the covered bridges that links some parts of the resorts. I spent the afternoon walking around the huge palm tree grove that lies between the resort and the beach. This was actually one reason why the ocean view would not make much difference since the extent of the palm grove created a barrier between the resort and the beach.
Arossim beach fronting the Park Hyatt is a real beach destination and there are 3 huge cabanas by the beach along with a row of beach chairs managed by the resort. There was also some beach shacks operating around the beach with some water-sports centre that provides paragliding activities. The sunset in the beach is definitely memorable and marks a high of my visit to Goa.
Guests would also want to enjoy the sunset from the poolside which is another beautiful area as the pool is comprised of 2 level and is a true resort pool with water slides and a jacuzzi and hot tub corner. There was also ample deck chairs by the poolside. Some of the accommodations in the resort are located around the pool, so do highlight that if it is important. The pool also seems to be very family friendly with the resort being popular amongst families, and that means the ambience is not as serene compared to the pool in the Grand Hyatt.
Another venue to enjoy the evening would be the village courtyard where nightly entertainments were held during dinner time. After my relaxing spa session at the Sereno spa, I had dinner here and the dining concept was smart. Since all the restaurants in the hotel are located around the village, diners could be seated anywhere around the fountain courtyard or in the individual restaurants and order from any one of the restaurants. Guests are provided with the menus of all the restaurants and there was a lot of selection. Definitely a great concept for large groups and families since different members could want different cuisines.
For dinner I picked the Prawn curry again since I did not have a great experience with the pomfret curry in Mumbai. Compared to the prawns served during my room service, this one was quite small and not as tasty. Thankfully they do serve a decent garlic naan. It could be I do prefer North Indian cuisine after all which seems to have a richer curry flavour.
Breakfast was included for me and I had it at the Village Cafe which is essentially in the same courtyard where I had dinner. Selections during breakfast was kind of similar to the Grand Hyatt in terms of variety with the usual continental selections of cold cuts, pastries and cereals along with eggs and bacon. Though there was also roast meat available along with parathas, puris and Indian desserts. This was definitely another breakfast feast and does not lose out to the Grand Hyatt Goa. For drinks the resort also offers Masala Chai in addition to the usual coffee and tea.
During my stay, I also had a massage at the Sereno spa since I had the hotel credit, though that 5,000 Rupees probably only went to pay for my spa and the room service since the spa costs around 4,000 Rupees for a 75 minute treatment. The therapist was excellent and the resort has a very relaxing spa ambience with individual treatment rooms. In addition, the spa consultant would come by and make recommendations on the various spa treatments based on individual guests’ needs and preferences and I do think she made a good recommendation for me. Before and after my treatment, the staff also served a nice cup of ginger tea that tasted terrific with honey. Though without the spa credit, it is not one of the spas I would consider visiting since it was not the best massage I had.
Another feature I liked about this resort was the DVD rental list provided in the room, and I was able to get some DVDs for entertainment at night in the room. However the only DVD player was in the bedroom which is connected to the smaller TV. It was simple enough to move it to the living room which has a larger TV screen.
On the last day when I checked out, I had to arrange with the hotel for the complimentary transfer to the hotel. In addition, I had also asked for a postcard of the hotel since Park Hyatt gives out these awesome black & white postcards which I collect. This took some time for the front desk agent to pass to me but fortunately I did not miss the transfer since it was a scheduled transfer by bus. There would only be one other passenger and myself during the transfer and the journey took probably 30 minutes as the bus needed to go uphill on some one-way street which means it could take longer during busy travel season due to the need to give way on some of the narrow village roads.
Comparing the Park with the Grand Hyatt, I liked both properties but I would give a slight nod to the Park because of the slightly more intimate service by the host, the DVD rental service in the rooms and the beach (which I think is what visiting Goa is all about). Though if the Grand Hyatt was cheaper and one does not head to the beach at all, that would be my choice.