It has been a while since I wrote a trip report because hardly any travel has happened over the past 18 months. But now that things are opening up again, it was both, the time to make a trip, and write about it.
Whereabout late May or early June 2021, Shipra and I first talked about travelling to Goa in July 2021. Those who have been reading for a long time know I love Goa, especially during the Monsoon rains.
While I love some international brands, I was mainly planning to focus on Indian luxury hospitality this time. And I almost named this trip Indian Hospitality in Goa, but…
Booking Goa Hotels
We skipped Goa in 2019, and then everyone knows how 2020 worked out in terms of travel. So we cautiously booked ourselves a trip to Goa, hoping the pandemic would have subsided by then. The trip initially started as a discussion to head to the ITC Grand Goa (erstwhile Park Hyatt Goa). We used to go there a few times every year, and then with the transition, we did not go there waiting for ITC Hotels to prime up their service before we made it over. Eventually, we booked a weekend at the ITC Grand Goa to coincide with our wedding anniversary.
However, I wanted to spend more time in Goa, so I proposed to Shipra that we’d perhaps spend some more time in Goa. I wanted to head to another South Goa property such as Taj Exotica, or maybe The Leela or the Alila Diwa Goa, which has bounced back after the acquisition by Hyatt. On the other hand, Shipra did not want to stay in South Goa, and the only condition to stay longer was that we headed to North Goa.
So, we eventually decided to go to North Goa from South Goa (ITC Grand Goa), and many properties came to mind. I’d done some work trips to the Taj Fort Aguada and Taj Holiday Village, the sister properties of the Taj in North Goa, and they remained a hot favourite. However, I was undecided on which Taj property to book up. So, while I held on to a parallel booking at both the Taj resorts hoping to choose one, we eventually could not decide and split our time across both the properties.
Like you would know, I’ve been away from Mumbai for a while, so we decided to make a pit stop in Mumbai for a bit before we made our way back to Delhi. While I was very tempted to go to Courtyard by Marriott near the Mumbai Airport, I figured my time away from Mumbai was the best time to try out new properties. So, I decided to stay at the Taj Santacruz Mumbai this time around.
While Vistara was the first choice, I also wanted to ensure that in case this trip was going to be a no go because of the situation in Goa, or generally around India, or something else, I’d have an option to cancel (not reschedule, which I anyways have a Vistara Platinum). So I booked Delhi – Goa and Mumbai – Delhi on Vistara using their new Vistara Bridge platform (I will write about it separately).
For the short flight between Goa and Mumbai, for some strange reason, Vistara did not open the bookings for their Premium Economy section of the plane till very late, and as a backup plan, I booked myself on IndiGo. Vistara economy was priced out of whack for our dates, and PEY, when it opened up, also was priced out of the market for a 40-minute flight, with no extra services being offered at the moment. Eventually, I stuck with my Goa – Mumbai flights with IndiGo itself.
Eventually, the following was how the trip looked:
- Plaza Premium Lounge, Delhi Airport Terminal 3 Domestic (VIP section)
- Delhi to Goa on Vistara Business Class (UK 847)
- ITC Grand Goa, Sea View Suite (Video)
- Taj Fort Aguada, Hermitage Villa
- Taj Holiday Village, Goa Villa
- Goa to Mumbai on IndiGo
- Taj Santacruz Mumbai, Club Room Runway View
- Mumbai to Delhi on Vistara Business Class (UK 910)
I’ll try and write up this trip report quickly. However, it will be in bits and parts, given my prior commitments in the coming days. However, I’ll try and get this done as quick as I can.
Do share what would you like me to focus on in the coming trip report.
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