This was our 6th stay at the DS, and it continues to satisfy almost all of our requirements for a great winter sunshine holiday. The choice and quality of food continues to be excellent (even better than last year in our opinion) but the real stars of this resort are the staff. Each year we arrive to find most of our friendly staff from the previous year have moved on, many on to the cruise ships. However it soon becomes clear that they have been replaced with people just as eager to please, and always with a smile. It does of course help if you are actually polite and friendly to them, and the majority of the British guests do just that. Our particular favourites this year were Cynola and Majal(?) at the pool bar, Clayvon, Vishell, Joseph and Harish in the restaurant, and the main barman in the Amalia Bar upstairs (I apologise to him for not remembering his name, as he was superb under pressure, especially approaching 11pm!). Once again the gardeners do a fantastic job, and the pool is always kept clean.
We ate at Mama Mia's twice, and although the first visit was good the second time much of our food was overcooked and dry - maybe just a bad day at the office!
Three things stopped me from awarding it an excellent rating. The rooms are now overdue refurbishment, and our party of 8 were unfortunately allocated 3 of the much smaller semi-detached bungalows (despite e-mailing a request some time before Christmas) and these also have a shared patio area. This was a problem for our friends who had to share this with a couple who were often on the patio smoking, and were quite noisy. The hotel did eventually change their room, but only after 6 days. I believe the DS should consider a differential cost for these rooms (whether that means charging more for the larger rooms with balconies, or a discount for the bungalows) but it would at least give people the choice.
Secondly, the entertainment has continued to deteriorate. I applaud the DS for providing entertainment when many other Goan hotels do not, but surely there could be some Indian based music/dancing, rather than the lift music/karaoke options provided. When we first visited DS there was a good mix of Indian/European music, but that has been phased out over the years, sadly. Surely a little Indian/Goan culture would be appreciated by the guests, we have in the main flown over 10 hours to stay on the continent after all!
My third area of concern is the Radisson resort next door. Over the last few years we have watched it taking shape, and have been concerned. We were assured on our visit last year that it would not impact on the DS at all, but clearly this is not true. The Radisson attracts many weddings and large celebrations, and these invariably take over the area we know as Haystacks (they appear to have priority over this area, as one of our "Haystacks" evenings actually took place on the tennis court!) There were a number of occasions when the music was loud enough to drive us back to our rooms, and there was also a steady flow of Radisson guests passing through the DS, or using the pool and games facilities. The two hotels are, I understand, owned by the same company, and the higher profile Radisson is therefore always likely to be given priority. This conflict will certainly affect our decision as to whether we return to the DS, which is a shame, as the hotel otherwise offers a peaceful, friendly venue for a winter sunshine holiday.
I should make mention of the Thomson rep, Karen, who yet again was wonderful. Thomson are very lucky to have someone who is so knowledgeable about the area, helpful and approachable, and always available. She is a star.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dona Sylvia Beach Resort is spread over 20 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens on the southern coast of Goa, it nestles by the soft white sands of Cavelossim beach. The Resort offers comfortable air-conditioned rooms with all modern amenities in Mediterranean style villas with balconies and open sit-outs. The Resort has excellent conference facilities, extensive options for outdoor events / theme parties and entertainment. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dona Sylvia Beach Hotel Cavelossim
- Dona Sylvia Beach Cavelossim
- Dona Sylvia Hotel Goa
- Dona Sylvia Beach Resort Goa/Cavelossim