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“We'll be back”
Review of Dona Sa Maria

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Dona Sa Maria
Ranked #6 of 10 Hotels in Cavelossim
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 17, 2014

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.

Room Tip: Ask for rooms in the main building rather than the farmhouse or elsewhere
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank ColinBrighton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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102 - 108 of 218 reviews

Reviewed January 15, 2014

In many years of travelling, this is the first time I have felt compelled to write a hotel review. This trip was my second to Goa and third to India -during previous trips I have stayed at various types of accommodation from back packers upwards, so I am well aware of the general standard of hotels.

Our expectations were not high, given the rating, but this fell well below the standard which was reasonable to expect from any Monarch/Cosmos package deal. On arrival, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when we were shown to a dank, dark room in an outbuilding behind the main hotel. It would seem that as there was no room at the Inn we were shunted to the stable block out the back. I felt that a visit from the three kings was imminent. The owners expressed no surprise at our complaints and we were (admittedly very swiflty and obligingly), shown an alternative room in another shambolic outbuilding across the road. It was an awful, bare and depressing room, the bathroom was dirty, the mattress flimsy and stained and the 'wardrobe', was a rail covered by half a curtain hanging limply and forlornly in a doorway. The only marginal improvement from the previous room was that it didn't smell so strongly of damp. I do not expect 5 star accommodation for 2 star prices, but nor do I expect to pay approx £900 per person for 2 weeks in what was effectively nil star accommodation. No surprise that the owners smile so much. We moved out after 2 nights, as soon as we found an alternative and had a great time in Agonda.

As others have commented, the 'half board' is a clear misrepresentation of what you actually receive. We ate one evening meal here, I'm not AA, Gill but an hour and half wait for 4 prawns floating in a non-descript sauce is poor by any standards. This was the worst meal we had in 2 weeks and I categorically disagree with the owner's claim that this was good basic food, we ate far better for less everywhere else.

I am completely mystified by the reviewers who wax lyrical about this shabby guest house they have been visiting since time immemorial. Raise your expectations, broaden your horizons and try elsewhere -I can assure you that there are far better places out there for less money.

Room Tip: Go to a different hotel
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Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
10  Thank Nicky B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2014

Ok so we booked to stay in 2 star accommodation in India, we were expecting basic, very basic in fact, and to be fair, some of the rooms we were eventually shown were to this standard, however, the room, or should i say 'outbuilding' we had be allocated was sadly nowhere near this level of basic living you would expect from a cosmos package deal. On arrival we were told we had the last room in the hotel were very lucky to have been given a 'fridge', no other room had one apparently and a downstairs room due to the fact that were travelling with an infant. We were then escorted by the very friendly proprietors over the road to the 'ramshackle' building that accommodated 3 rooms that weren't fit for animals let alone a family travelling with a ten month baby. The windows were broken, mosquito netting torn on the windows, wires exposed around the archaic air conditioning unit that we daren't even touch and a bathroom, if you could call it that, that was filthy to say the least. The luxury fridge, was also filthy and didn't work! Obviously unhappy with the accommodation we voiced our concerns, and that we weren't prepared to stay in that room. At this point we had learnt from other guests that the room we had been allocated had been rejected by 3 other couples in the few days prior to our arrival. The proprietors did at this point show us two other rooms - both strangely vacant???? Both rooms were marginally better, but still unacceptable.
I am unable to comment on the food offered within the half board package we had booked due to the fact that we had left the hotel within an hour of our arrival. This was the best thing we did - from this point we travelled around South Goa stopping in various places, all in basic 2 star rated accommodation that ranged in price between £10 and £15 per night and ate out with meals costing no more that £7 in total for all food and drinks. As for location the hotel is at least a 10 minute walk to the closest beach and at least a 30 min walk to the nearest town, although taxis are cheap.

I do not know how the dona sa Maria has the reviews it has to be honest although of late they appear to be a little more accurate, I am just so glad that we left when we did and were able to experience the real Goa as if we had stayed in the room we had been allocated our holiday would have been ruined.

Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
8  Thank Jenny G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2014

First timers to Goa, so all new experiences. Found the first couple of days a massive culture shock but soon got into the groove of this quiet area and friendly hotel.
80% of the guests were happy, friendly, down to earth and happy to give us tips about everything Goa. Perhaps the other 20% will one day find a paradoxical haven.

Yes the hotel is basic, but what do people expect from a 2 star in India!!!?
The half board allowance is a bit tight, but thats more down to lack of information given from the tour operators. Prehaps a fruit selection in the morning and a side/rice dish to accompany the 250rupee allowance in the evening.
Food/drinks served by the mighty Savio, top bloke great presence. Cant fault any of the staff, smiles aplenty.

Enjoyed days by the pool, beach, day trips, and a stay over in Palolem.
The pool was neither tired or dirty.
The local beach, endless whichever way you look, pretty quiet with 3 shacks, our favourite was the "Cool Breeze" amazing food and friendly service, big shout out to Sandeep!
The boat trips are great value, we did the Jacks 900r sea,river cruise with food and unlimited drinks.

If your thinking of doing the waterfalls trip please take note- It was way over crowded (90% Russians) once you've endured the 30 minute bone busting jeep ride you only get an hour to explore the beautiful waterfall, all a bit rushed in my humble opinion.
The trip would have cost 5000-7000 each if booked through cosmos, we booked the hotel taxi man (vinood) and did it all separately costing us 6000 altogether, which included spice plantation and elephant ride.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank downleyloyal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2014 via mobile

Booked this hotel last April on arrival no room at the hotel but put over the road in frog villa, shortly after our arrival hubby got a bad chest infection I got food poisoning not from the hotel but one of the shacks. The food at the hotel very under par compared to goan food outside the hotel once we where well enough and the new hotel we transfered to could take us at our cost we left, location peaceful enough but not very much around it. I will stick to the north south a little to quite but lovely beaches.

  • Stayed: December 2013
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2  Thank Avalanche O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2014

This is our sixth holiday staying in Dona As Maria.We can't give one reason for returning six times.
Maybe it's the warm welcome we receive from owners Puri and Serafino,maybe it's the staff, who will do anything to ensure we have a great holiday.
There's many reasons why this excellently family run hotel has more return visitors than anywhere
else we have ever stayed.
Maybe,if you aren't happy staying here then you might have a problem communicating because Serafino and Puri want happy customers and will go out of their way to ensure your stay is perfect.
This is not classed as 5 star but the service is 5 star.if you want to pay four times more,then go to The Leela
.If you love wild life and want an eco friendly holiday in a clean comfortable hotel with lovely pool,friendly guests and a restaurant with good,reasonably priced food,then this is the place for you.If you wish to see all the eco equipment Serafino has installed,he will show you around.

Room Tip: We like an upstairs room but there are rooms on the ground floor too.most face pool or fields.
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank bossMiddlesbrough
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2014

I am just back after spending two wonderful Christmas and New year weeks here.
After reading some of the reviews on here I wonder if they were at the same hotel as me,the trouble with some people is,they pay 2 star prices and want 5 start treatment.
First of all let me say ,the pool was spotlessly clean,it was cleaned everyday between 7;00 and 7;30 each day,my wife commented on this on our first day,saying it was the cleanest pool she had seen in India.
As for the staff,I would say they were the friendliest I've ever had the pleasure to meet,but more on them later,the rooms are basic but clean,bedding and towels were changed every second day.
The set breakfast was 2 slices of toast with fruit juice,jam and butter,all the tea and coffee you could drink,if you wanted eggs,every way,bacon,pancakes etc,there was a cost,but when you are getting 100 rupees to the pound the cost is minimal,and like the last reviewer,you have to taste the puri bahji to believe how good it is.
We only had two meals in the restaurant,(because of previously arranged meetings)Christmas day and New Years buffets all for the equivalent of £6,yes £6,all you could eat,and while the Christmas buffet may not have been to everyones taste(not enough Goan food)the New Years was excellent,the Vindaloo and Xacuti were tremendous,all served with rice buy the bucketful and plenty of bread.
Now for the staff,what can I say that has not been said before,Savio is the hardest working man I have met,nothing is too much for him,he works from early morning and is still there very late in the evening,if not the morning,always with a smile on his face,Anthony is another who works hard,and I defy anyone to see a happier looking barman,he obviously loves what he is doing,and I wish him and his fiancee all the very best for their future,Anita,what can I say,every business would love to have someone like her,always a smile and a cheery hello,had my bar bill ready every morning,and at times it was considerable,arranged taxis,and lifts when needed,and their taxi driver was always on time and another who seemed to smile constantly.
Now to the boss,Puri,belive me she is the boss,excellent lady who was a joy to deal with,you'll notice that smile is a constant on my review,but everyone has one one their face,none more so than Puri,and last but not least Serafino,the most helpful person you'll ever meet,nothing is too much,and this is obviously passed on to his staff,we were in another hotel for part of the holiday and he would arrange for us to get taken there and brought back for no charge.
Stupidly we forgot our passports on the last day,and Serafino sent his driver to meet us with them,I can't thank him enough.
If you want an hotel with flashing lights,loud music and impersonality,this is not for you,if you want to go to an hotel for friendliness,good food,peacefulness,cleanliness and a great staff,this is for you,don't believe what the moaners say,if you go with an open mind and get into the way of things you will love it.
If you don't converse with people,you will always be by yourself but if like most people here you will make friends and enjoy yourself.
I went to this hotel a stranger and left with plenty of new friends.
If the Holidaylover12456 reds this,the good news is Francis's wife has been given great news,I've never seen a happier man the day before we left.
A last thought,if this hotel is as bad as some would have you believe,why have most of the friends we met keep going back.
Try and enjoy.

Room Tip: Try for a room over looking the pool,not across the road.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank frankandviv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dona Sa Maria

Address: Tamborim, Cavelossim 403731, India
Location: India > Goa > South Goa District > Cavelossim
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 10 Hotels in Cavelossim
Price Range: $23 - $251 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Dona Sa Maria 2.5*
Number of rooms: 18
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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

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