Thursday, June 1, 2017

Holidays #2 Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel - 100% FUN





The welcoming lobby

We recently visited not once but twice!

On our 1st visit in April, the husband and I stayed in a Luxury room in the new Club wing. So on our next visit in May, with the teenaged boy, we booked the same category room. The 1st time we had the pool view, the 2nd visit we had the mountain view!

Our room

Pool view from the balcony




Bar Asia - poolside 


The larger pool


Pool with waterfalls
Pool at night


Square - table with a view
Loved the contemporary chic design – the room was spacious with a large balcony overlooking the 2 inviting pools. The spacious balcony had bench type seating.

The room was luxuriously appointed, spacious, very comfortable and contained a pull out sofa bed for children.

A spacious loo had a shower stall and stocked with good toiletries (VLCC).

The poolside Bar Asia offers drinks and snacks. In the evenings, guests in the Club wing enjoy Happy Hours with cocktails, mocktails and snacks at the poolside – from 6-7 pm. It also serves  Bahn Mi the Vietnamese sandwiches. Just right for hungry swimmers or just to enjoy Goa!

The Square, the all day dining restaurant was fairly empty at lunch time and though they had a buffet laid out, as nothing appealed (no Goan seafood), we ordered ala carte seafood. But, it was buzzing for breakfast which was a huge spread from waffles to ice cream's to eggs, breads, fruits to South Indian and loads more. #BestGoaBreakfast and I’ve seen quite a few including the Taj Aguada and Holiday Village.

The lobby houses a deli cafe - The Little Place - we picked up some cakes to take to a friend's home. Very convenient for quick snacks!

The lobby has a lively vibe apart from being very spacious. Loved the music – you can also hear it poolside.

On our 1st stay I mentioned to the Guest Relations Executive that it was our anniversary so a yummy chocolate cake was sent to us! On our second stay we received a cake which said welcome back! These personalised and special touches really warmed my heart!

Though this hotel has a gym and spa you can avail the complimentary transport service to go to the Novotel Spa Resort just down the road or to the beach!

The service was excellent – everywhere – pool side, room service and even in the very crowded Square for breakfast – our server replenished our waffles, got us coffee and lots more!

Strongly recommended – I’m going back. 




Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Holidays #1 Novotel Goa Resort and Spa


As its holiday season I am doing a series on holidays and hotels – to give you ideas for your next getaway! And i have to start with Goa, my family's all time fav holiday destination.

View of the pool from the 2nd floor balcony outside our room


Table decor in our suite's living room

Welcome goodies in our suite 

We recently stayed at the Novotel Goa Resort and Spa, Candolim, Goa, in the Prestige suite. 2 rooms with 1.5 loos! Convenient for a family. Spacious and luxurious with all mod cons and 2 balconies. One was used by the husband to smoke in and the other is where we had our morning tea/coffee! 



Loved the huge bathroom with the double sink, wardrobe and lots of space. Truly luxurious!


The bedroom had many lights - good for reading too! We had a coffee machine apart from a well stocked mini bar and a mini kitchenette.


Our sitting area



Pool shaded by the giant banyan tree


The pool area is truly lovely and embodies Goan susegad. The pool itself is shaded by an ancient banyan tree! Lots of loungers around it and many attendants to give service – a cold beer or fresh lime soda?


There's a Children's activity centre to keep kiddies busy and an indoor game area with a table tennis table, foosball and carrom.

The lobby houses CHY - a deli, bar and bakery, very convenient for snacks and drinks. 

Lobby deli CHY

The very popular CHY 

Vero Cibo is the Mediterranean Restaurant, open for dinner which has fab views 
but we missed eating there as its closed on Tuesdays. We did eat at Food Exchange, the all day dining restaurant. Please see review in the next blog!


The Warren Tricomi spa is outstanding! Treatment rooms are Bali-styled Wooden huts in a tropical garden. The husband and I booked an energising couples massage. 


The 60 minute session took place in a wooden Balinese style hut with a washroom, sunken double tub, changing room and a spacious treatment room with 2 beds/treatment tables. 


Decor at the Spa reception
Spa treatment room 
Spa treatment room

We started with a warm water soak for the feet in rosemary and eucalyptus salts – the aroma was heavenly! The body massage was in lime and ginger oil! All this while soothing music played in the background. The session was very relaxing and energising! The masseurs /therapists recommended waiting for an hour before washing off the oil for best results. So we dressed and returned to the room and bathed later.


The hotel is very close to the main Candolim stretch and overlooks green paddy fields. It's a short walk from the beach. (10 to 15 minutes). The property offers a half hourly drop and pick up from the beach upto 7 pm. 

Morning view from our balcony - very Goa


Beside the pool is the gym. So you can exercise in air-conditioned comfort surrounded by the pool vista and the green fields beyond.

Must do for your next visit to Goa! 

On my last visit I stayed at the Taj Holiday Village and though it’s on the beach – the room didn’t have a sea view, the bathrooms were tired and there weren’t any bedside reading lights. This hotel with its fab service and amazing rooms is a really good option, in fact its a steal!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Koko Asian Gastropub- Great food & drink, cool classy vibe



Morning Glory and Black rice - our outstanding mains 


Restaurant
Cuisine
Price
Location
Phone No.
Koko Asian Gastropub
Asian
RRRR
Kamla Mills
JustDial 88888888





We visited Koko for dinner in October, we were a group of 5. The spacious, well-appointed gastropub seats 80 people. It was crowded at 8 pm, early by Mumbai standards, but as they take 2 sittings, the next at 10 pm, understandable. It was our 1st visit to this restaurant which opened in July where it’s still hard to get a table reservation on any day of the week! At the moment, it’s only open for dinner.    


Spicy Salmon Sushi

Prawn Cheung Fun

Crispy prawn sushi

Crispy pork belly slices

Spare ribs

We mainly ate sushi and sashimi:  crispy pork belly, spare ribs, soft shelled crab, spicy salmon roll, mushrooms, shrimp done in various sauces. Very delicious, served with a variety of interesting chilli sauces. Quite full, we barely had room for the main course.
But so glad we did- ordered black rice with burnt garlic and sauteed morning glory, both outstanding.

We had a variety of interesting cocktails –my Funky Buddha cocktail was good.
The only disappointment was the dessert, the salted caramel tart, which was strictly average.


The people behind this are the brothers Tham, sons of Henry Tham, who’ve given Mumbai Trilogy, Juhu and the Good Wife, BKC.

Good service and lively classy cool vibe. Recommended

We’d just visited Bastian 3 days prior and I can honestly say I’d rate Koko higher – with its huge menu, generous portions and cost per head less than Bastian! (It was Rs 2000 approximately at Koko versus Rs 3000 per head at Bastian – both without tip and one alcoholic drink per head) 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lebanese Food Festival At Sofitel BKC


Some of the Lebanese delicacies 


Went recently to experience 'With Love From Lebanon' the Lebanese Food Festival at the Sofitel Mumbai BKC's 24 hour - Pondichéry Café.

There’s a daily changing menu of about 8-10 Lebanese dishes prepared by visiting Chef Danny 
​Deeb from Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea and Spa.

You can try authentic delicacies like Hummus Beiruti, Hammour Harra, Shrimp Sayadia, Vine Leaves Lamb Chops, Baklawa and more. We enjoyed several Lebanese delicacies and even met the chef!

Lebanese inspired décor, wait staff uniforms and Rooh Afza served in ruby-coloured cutting chai glasses added to the ambiance. 

The great buffet for which is I’m a frequent visitor was on offer, as always: hot and cold western and Indian including a vast vegetarian range, a good Asian selection (Thai when we went), sushi, lots of seafood in the salad section, smoked salmon and a variety of great cold meats and cheese, breads, naans, dessert and a London Dairy ice cream cart!

The dessert included deconstructed lemon curd – piped onto a plate and decorated with mini meringues, and lots of bite sized candy as per your choice   


Rush – it’s on till 13th November, 2015, 7:00 pm onwards


Deconstructed Lemon Curd - Chef at Live Counter  

Yummy Lemon Curd with mini meringues


Monday, November 7, 2016

Taj Mahal Tea House - WOW


The welcoming interior

Tea and select baked goods on sale 



Amjad Alo Khan corner 


Imagine hanging out in a beautifully restored heritage Bandra bungalow! This is an all day cafe where you can drink varieties of tea and eat interesting food! 

Run by Unilever's Taj Mahal Tea, this is a beautifully crafted experience. 

Amjad Ali Khan's sarod has pride of place on the wall - The sarod maestro was brand ambassador for this brand for ages! In fact, every so often on public holidays, they organise a classical music performance.  

The restaurant extends across the ground floor of the house with grouped sating arrangements - some small and some larger. the colours and posters used in the decor exude a comfortable living room ambiance and welcome you to stop a while. 

There is a detailed tea menu, and a food menu - which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner options and all day tea pairings. 

Mini beet idli burgers 

My FAVE - the prawn pattis mini idli burger




We went at lunch time and ate the mini idli burgers - with shrimp and lamb for the non veggies and beetroot for the veggies. We drank copies amounts of 1st flush Darjeeling tea. Dessert included chai panacotta.

A great place to work solo, hold meetings or meet friends.

The store front sells a variety of tea, cookies, etc - they make great gifts for tea aficionados. i bought some too- the 1st flush Darjeeling tea.

Love the place - the exterior, the interiors, the ambiance the tea and the food! Good service too!

Strongly recommended.- I've already been twice and will return soon and will certainly try the high tea experience! 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Basho's Resort Mulshi - a Lil' slice of lakeside heaven

The view from our sit out



Our cottage by the lakeside

The lakeside tent - side view 
We visited recently - a 2 night stay. Wasn't sure how it would be as we got to know about this resort after a friend from Pune visited the café. Read the reviews on Tripadvisor.com and as everyone lauded the view and service decided to take a chance. We were enchanted by our first look around the resort.

It's built across many levels - from the road (where the café is located and the gate to the resort) all the way down to the lake.

The location is very lovely. And the monsoon weather added to its charm-a brimming lake, trees sparkling emerald green, mist and clouds surrounding the nearby hills!

There appear to be 4 cottages and 4 tents with 2 of each down by the lake. Each cottage/tent has a lake view irrespective of its location.

We had the 2 cottages at the lakeside and the soothing sound of the gently lapping waters of Mulshi Lake was akin to balm for our stressed Mumbai souls.

The rooms are spacious and clean - and can accommodate 4 adults easily. Even better is the sit out where we had morning tea, breakfast, evening tea, drinks and dinner! In fact, when we weren't sleeping, we were in our sit out and waited on like royalty by the staff (more about that). Though I occasionally lay in the lakeside lounger ostensibly reading but actually looking at the view.


The lake front sit out



Lakeside Loungers 

View of our cottage from the dining room 


There's netting in the windows to keep insects out. The rooms have fans and AC. Lots of lights including bedside reading lights!

The bathroom has a large tub-like bathing place with a rain shower and more.

The bed linen is good with soft white sheets.

If this sounds ideal, wait till you read about the food and the show stopper - the service!

The dining room - spacious and open to amazing lake views on one side, offered lunch, buffet style. This was so good that my inner foodie was extremely pleased. Especially, as many reviewers did not give good ratings to the food. 

2 soups 4 starters (to accommodate veg and non-veg guests) and many dishes to choose from in main course. Icecream for dessert.

Evening tea /coffee with snacks like French fries, bhajiyas are brought to your sit out.

Dinner is from the ala carte menu with daily specials which we were told about when we ordered dinner. One night I had fish and chips The pre dinner cocktail snacks are also part of the package - think chicken tikkas and the like.

We were very well fed, 4 times a day.

The staff consists of pleasant young men who are service oriented and anticipate your every need-extra tea, paper napkins, mosquito coils, bottled water, wine glasses when they saw our wine bottle.

They go off duty at 10 pm, so if you eat late they'll clear up in the morning. But as food is brought in casserole dishes its not a problem.

The swimming pool is very small, more like a kiddies pool only good enough for infants to splash in.

The only extras we paid were for the beers consumed.
It took us little over 4 hours of drive time to get there from Mumbai.
The only downside is that there is not much space to walk or play for kids. We walked up and down the resort steps and on the road from where you can see the clean and clear Mulshi waters.

Heavenly - perfect for a relaxing break.  go soon

To book:
Tents: Rs 7250 per couple per day. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and taxes. Extra person: Rs 3000
Cottages: Rs 8250 per couple per day. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and taxes. Extra person: Rs 3500
Call 9922743465 or 7769951416 for reservations visit http://www.basho.co.in


Our bedroom

Bedroom seating area which can accommodate 2 adults/children

The BIG bathtub