We are just back from 2 weeks at Dona Sa Maria. This is the 5th time in 9 years we have stayed here and we realise why this hotel has the highest return rate of any that the various operators to India have on their books.
It is a family run hotel where the friendly staff are so happy to please that we had no qualms a few years ago about taking the rest of the family, including our 15 month old grandson. He was immediately picked up and taken around the hotel and introduced to everybody so that thereafter he felt happy and secure in the environment.
This is a comfortable 2* family run hotel with restaurant and a beautifully kept pool. The staff are all friendly and helpful and the proprietors, Serafino and Puri, certainly have their customers at heart. They are also ahead of the curve in this part of India in being the only hotel I’ve seen who sort the waste and have an active recycling scheme. The gardens are constantly receiving attention and they give a beautiful array of flowers, whilst the many coconut trees give some shade around the pool area. It should be said that there are nets up to protect guests from falling coconuts.
With a 2* you wouldn’t expect a spa but at DSM you get someone just as good in Francis. Francis is a gem; he is trained masseur and used to be the physio guy for the Goan football team to he knows what he is about. I have seen many a person walk away from his manipulation on cloud nine, he has cured aches and ills that have baffled practitioners in UK and nobody complains about his hour long ministration for 600r.
In the small village of Tamborim this is the only hotel, and although there are now a number of apartment blocks growing up around the crossroads, the nearby beach still offers a mile of empty sand for a few dozen people. The village is far enough away from the busy resort of Cavelossim to be unaffected by mass tourism yet close enough (15 minute cycle ride) to pop in and pick what you want or to sample the many restaurants there. Cabs are cheap for night time visits.
The walk through the village to the beach is gentle but it can be hot if you don’t hire bikes at 150r or a scooter (from Joe’s rental) at 350r, however the birdlife is plenty. You’ll see kingfishers, egrets, sea eagles and more. There are shady places to stop and chat with the locals on the way and you’ll see a number of small local restaurants or refreshment stops on the way.
The local beach has 3 shacks with sun beds serving up food and drink through the day, and on into the night if you are staying out to watch the spectacular sunsets. Our favourite is Cool Breeze with very friendly guys good fresh fish and a dahl fry to die for. The water in our winter time is tepid and it varies from glass-like to challenging, although on those occasions if you walk out about 50m (still only chest high) to get past the rollers you again have calm water to swim at ease.
There is an expat community living in some of the apartments in the village and they, like some Indian city families, spend the winter on the Goan coast and this may be why in all establishments you will hear western music, and some pretty naff stuff too, unless you really like strangled mid-atlantic power rock. We had to ask to hear Indian music.
In previous years we have been happy to stay at DSM and use it as a base to go off for days at a time visiting Goa and surrounding states – in nearby Margao you can get on the Konkan railway that runs up and down the full western seaboard – but this time we just relaxed, ate well, slept well, swam, read, cycled and generally enjoyed a bit of winter sun with friends.
Dona Sa Maria is in a lovely location for those who don’t want a resort, you will be staying with a Goan family in a Goan village.
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- Also Known As:
- Dona Sa Maria Hotel Cavelossim
- Dona Sa Maria Salcette
- Dona Sa Maria Hotel Salcette
- Dona Sa Maria Goa/Cavelossim