|It’s always sunny at Santanas!|
Santana Beach Resort – in gorgeous Goa
If you are heading to Candolim on Goa’s beautiful Arabian Sea coast, you could do very much worse than stay at the fun, friendly Santana Beach Resort. One of the last few family run hotels in Goa, this hotel knows what its customers want, and gives it to them. It has a fantastic location. Right on the beautiful sandy beach it is set in lovely gardens sprinkled with Balinese statues, fountains, murals and a couple of swimming pools.
This is a hotel with personality. Individual touches abound, coutesy of owners Verner and Leanne. I was particularly taken with the living plant wall at reception.
Santana Beach Resort – a firm favourite
Santana Beach Resort opened in 2005 after extensive refurbishment of the existing property. It is a busy, happy, 55 room hotel, with holiday makers and their needs always centre stage. Guests come from the UK, Russia and Finland, but there are also plenty of Indian families here too. There are always lots of staff around the property smiling and saying hello. All are willing to help with anything at all from carrying stuff to sorting out your Wi-Fi. On one occasion a member of staff in the bar could see I was having trouble with my mosquito bites (things love to bite me.) He brought over an unsolicited ice cube to ease my itching agony.
|Service with a smile|
Santana Beach – the Bathe and Binge bar
The ‘Bathe and Binge’ Calamari beach bar is where all the action happens at Santana. Located a few metres from the hotel right on the sea front, the bar has live music at lunchtime and at dinner time too. A different performer appears every day and they are all local Goan musicians. The song catalogue however, is always very familiar to the British visitor. You really can’t hear Hotel California too many times. There have been quite a few celebrity visitors to the Bathe and Binge bar, and their photographs are proudly displayed. Cricketers are treated like gods here in India, and a visit by a few famous faces never does business any harm.
Dining at Santana beach Resort
There is a huge menu to choose from here with both Indian and English dishes available. The food is very good. I actually had one of the most memorable meals of my India trip here. It consisted of a huge and delicious Indian lobster. With its gorgeous vivid orange shell with white spots and stripes it was so beautiful a crustacean that it was almost a crime to eat it. Almost. It was grilled to perfection and served with an ice cold glass of Chenin Blanc. A lunch to reckon with indeed.
Later we enjoyed the Eightie’s play list as we sipped our Bailey’s over crushed ice. We also enjoyed the next day’s lunch at the Splash Pool with its swim up bar. You will not go hungry at the Santana Beach Resort. Santana is set on Candolim beach. The beach is a long stretch of beautiful golden sand, peppered with colourful beach shacks trying to entice you in with the powerful allure of free Wi-Fi.
|We all want Wifi|
The sea is as warm as a bath but there is a very strong undertow. It might be fun to jump the big waves, but if you miss time things you can end up being ‘washing machined.’This is not a fun experience, and you may never see your sunglasses again either. Life guards are vigilant along this bit of coast. They know when tides and weather make the waves dangerous, and vigorous whistling and gesticulating ensues to get folks out of the water to safety.
Santana Beach Resort – a real family concern
Verner and his wife run the hotel and are committed to keeping their guests happy. With 50% repeat business and 85% occupancy there isn’t even much need to advertise the hotel! Verner knows that guests value cleanliness, good food and outstanding service. There aren’t lots of managers here either and everything goes through him. No hierarchy means everyone takes responsibility for themselves, a good way to work.
|Make mine a Mojito|
We also agreed that the switch to a much cheaper on line visa service is a big improvement. It’s now possible for visitors to come to India pretty much at the last minute (previously, you had to wait weeks for a visa) and this is a very good thing for tourism here. Further changes are also coming in which will mean that people can travel in and out of Goa on charter or scheduled flights in a more flexible way.
The staff are the people who make the Santana Beach Resort special, and they make you feel as if nothing is too much trouble for them. This hotel is great value, it has lovely food and is in a top location. If you stay at Santana you are pretty much guaranteed a very happy holiday here in gorgeous Goa.
|Towel art extraordinaire