Hilton Goa Resort is a hilltop property with family-friendly amenities - hotel insider

Five-star resort has three pools, large rooms and an excellent children's club

Powered by automated translation

Bought by the Sun Estates group with the initial intention of opening a cashew factory, the property where Hilton Goa Resort is sited is at once expansive but cosy. The hotel's facade is composed almost exclusively of red laterite stone, and designed to have a warren of nooks and crannies, a stroll down each of which leads to amenities befitting its five-star status.

The welcome

Exhaustion from a red-eye flight from Dubai is mitigated by the warm welcome of cheery Goan staff the second we step foot on the property. Bathed in light from the rising sun, the rusty-red laterite structure is a scintillating sight to behold, which makes up for the labyrinthine trek to the room.

However, check-in is prompt, our luggage precedes us and a four-poster bed beckons.

The neighbourhood

The property is in the charming hamlet of Candolim and is the area’s only hilltop hotel. Everywhere in Goa has a beach, and Candolim Beach – which is a 10-minute drive away – is quieter and less touristy than its North Goa counterparts. The street leading to the beach is a flea market shopper’s delight – although haggling is expected and comes highly recommended.

The more popular areas – Anjuna, Vagatore, Baga and Calangute – are about 30 minutes away, while South Goa, with its luxury hotels and virgin beaches, is an hour away.

The room

We stay in a King River View room, one of six room categories. The UAE spoils us in terms of average room sizes and amenities but, at 55 square metres, this is one of the bigger single rooms I’ve stayed in abroad.

The Turkish-style arches that dominate various nooks of the property are also aesthetically extended to the entranceway of the rooms. Inside it’s all wooden slats in lieu of curtains and a four-poster bed that feels at once quaint and luxurious.

Toiletries from Crabtree & Evelyn sit in the split bathroom, which has a shower and bath tub (this is the case for all 104 rooms), and there is ample space for stowing luggage, hanging clothes and lounging.

The view from the balcony is the real highlight of our room, though. Directly overlooking Nerul river, it feels suspended in the middle of the verdant Saipem hills, thanks to the property’s elevated location. Plush al fresco loungers mean this is where the majority of a couple’s stay can be spent.

Queen and king bed categories aside, the eight Whirlpool suites come with a split balcony with a Jacuzzi; and the property also has one Presidential suite with an expansive pool deck.

The scene

Making good on the property’s excellent children’s amenities, there are plenty of families in the Fun and Frolic Kids Club and around the main pool. The expansive club has soft toys, a drawing corner and board and video games. The team also organises arts and crafts lessons on a daily basis, from glass and canvas painting to printmaking.

There is also a quieter courtyard pool and a third infinity-style plunge pool, which offers lush views of the surrounding forest.

All-day dining restaurant Saipe, named after a historic Goan village, is on site. The team can also organise a barbecue on the balcony for an additional fee (2,800 Indian rupees, about $33 per person) and Goan Charlie, or high tea, at the Doce cake shop (Rs1,990 per person).

The food

Breakfast at Saipe is a revelation in that, aside from the usual pancake-sausage-dosa fare, it has a Goan specials section. Local bread called poi can be dunked in patal bhaji or vegetable curry, while the Ros (juice) omelette comes with a xacuti-style gravy.

Of the main meals we ate here, the following dishes stood out for their delicate and delicious flavours: Burmese khow suey (Rs425); Manchurian pops (Rs525); chicken cafreal (Rs625); and a succulent Goan prawn curry served with puffed-up unpolished red rice (Rs725).

Highs and lows

Fab food, calming views and separate family and adult pools make this a resort at which you can spend almost all of your stay. A malfunctioning Do Not Disturb sign after the red-eye flight from Dubai causes some anxiety on the first morning, but it is resolved soon after – and, thankfully, nobody disturbs our slumber.

Insider tip

When in Goa … opt for the local dishes rather than the typical breakfast fare.

The verdict

Hilton Goa has all the makings of a worthy family and couples-friendly resort that, given its tranquil hilltop location, also makes you feel at one with nature.

The bottom line

Rooms start from Rs11,000, including breakfast but excluding taxes.

This review was conducted at the invitation of the hotel and reflects hotel standards during this time. Services may change in the future.

Updated: January 11, 2024, 4:05 AM