Usually, when I review hotels where I have stayed, I will write an individual review for each hotel. GTDC hotels in Goa are, however, a different matter. In a way, all these hotels, though located in different parts of the state, are somewhat similar. If you like one, probably you will like the others too. Their advantages, problems, and prices are not much different. Two of these hotels happen to be in Panjim, the capital city of te state of Goa - Panaji Residency and Miramar Residency. Panaji Residency is in the city closer to the Bus Stand whereas Miramar Residency is on Miramar Beach. I have stayed in both the hotels on multiple occasions and always have had mixed experiences. After the recent renovation and private sector maintenance, Panaji Residency appears better but I guess the other hotel - Miramar Residency will eventually get private maintenance. In this article, I will share my experience of staying in these two hotels so that you will know what to expect if you decide to book one of these. Keep reading...
|Miramar Residency Hotel Panjim Goa|
|Hotel Miramar Residency Panjim Goa|
When I last stayed there (November 2015), there was no renovation and the property appeared to be fully in the grip of hopeless bureaucracy. The staff were unconcerned about customer service, and the front office would get locked down at night with the staff sleeping somewhere in the back. It was impossible to wake them up. The security guard on duty would be sleeping somewhere else and so was equally untraceable.
Miramar Residency is a huge property with one multi-story building with standard rooms and another group of individual buildings (huts) with so-called A.C. deluxe rooms. The first time I stayed there in 2015, it was a standard room. It was OK. Some of the bathroom fittings were broken, the shower head was faulty, and there was no toilet paper. On the positive side, the window A.C. in the room worked alright and the bedding was clean which helped me sleep well. That almost satisfactory stay prompted me to book another stay there and that time it was a "A.C. Deluxe" room.
|Guest Room At Miramar Residency Panjim Goa|
|Dirty Bathroom in Miramar Residency Panjim Goa|
The A.C. Deluxe room turned out to be a hut or a cottage or whatever else they call it. It was old, almost in dilapidated condition both outside and inside. The furniture was old & dusty, the bathroom was in a poor condition, and the room shared a door with the next room in the same hut where a group of rowdy tourists kept drinking and shouting without a break. Even if they had been well behaved, I am certain that the mosquitoes in the hut would have kept me awake. There was nothing deluxe about the room except for the price.
|Free Open Air Breakfast At Miramar Residency Panjim Goa|
One redeeming feature of my stay at Miramar Residency was the free breakfast that was served in an open air setting by the hotel's private sector partner - the people who operate Delhi Durbar and Moti Mahal restaurants in Panjim. It was a buffet breakfast with a good range & good quality. Purely thanks to the restaurant's owner because that much honesty in a government contract is rarely seen. This on-site restaurant serves good food for lunch and dinner too.
Miramar Residency is on the beach but there is no view of the beach from most of the rooms. There is some open space and lots of mosquitoes year-round. Room prices start at Rs. 1700 and go up to Rs. 4700 for an AC room depending on the season. For A.C. Deluxe and "Suite", the range is between Rs. 2300 and Rs. 5500. These prices include breakfast that is good at this hotel as long as the Delhi Durbar people are managing it. Avoid the Deluxe and Suite types and stick to the basic AC Rooms for the best value. Two or three local English newspapers are supplied in the rooms everyday and if you do not get them, ask for them. The website of the hotel in June 2016 claims that the property has been refurbished. I do not know how much refurbishing they have managed to do between November 2015 and now.
|Hotel Panaji Residency Goa|
The old hotel is forgotten now after the extensive renovation and maintenance by a private sector firm, its a whole new experience. But let me add a rider here. New experience does not mean a better experience in all the rooms. There are several incurable problems with this hotel after the renovation and the new maintenance arrangement. Location-wise, Panaji Residency is better because it is located close to the old secretariat building and is at a 10 minute walk from the city's main bus stand. The two main casino jetties - Deltin Royale and Casino Pride are almost opposite the hotel. Crown Casino is on a hill behind the hotel. In fact you can see Crown Casino's staff during their break if you have a back side room of Panaji Residency.
|Guest Room At Panaji Residency Goa|
The beautiful patterns made from towels that you see on the bed in the picture above are from the initial days when the hotel had just opened after renovation. These things do not happen now.
The furniture in the rooms after the renovation is very poorly planned and designed. A lot of public money seems to have been wasted there. There is a writing desk and a chair but you cannot use those two unless you drag the rather heavy easy chair away to make space for using the writing table. Later of course you will have to drag the heavy chair back into place because otherwise you may injure your knee by accidentally hitting it. This heavy furniture creates even more problems. When a guest or the housekeeping staff need to go behind the chairs to the window, they need to drag them away and then drag them back in place. The dragging of he chairs back and forth seems to continue all day. And if you are trying to sleep late in the morning of during the day, the dragging of the chairs make it impossible. You will get hammered by the noise from the adjoining rooms and also from those above you. It is nothing short of hell unless you happen to have a room on the top (6th floor). Let me make it very clear here, if you are getting a room in Panaji Residency on any floor other than the 6th floor, you are going to have a horrible stay. Even if you try to sleep early, some drunks in the rooms close to you will keep up the chair racket and thus keep you awake. Another thing that disturbs sleep here is the room door open buzzers. Any time a guest or housekeeping opens a room door, a buzzer starts. Since the housekeeping will keep the door open for 30 minutes, the buzzer will continue for 30 minutes. A guest arriving or leaving late at night will also set off the buzzer. This nonsense it totally avoidable but who will tell this government hotel.
The housekeeping in this hotel is privatised. This means that the vendor selected for the housekeeping submitted the lowest quotation to get the job. Initially for a few months, housekeeping was good. I saw it. Now during my stay there in May 2016, it was showing the "lowest quotation coupled with corruption" colors. Toilet paper missing, stained and smelly towels (when they are not missing totally), tea maker supplies missing, etc. are the new norm.
The ACs in all the rooms appear to have no temperature control. Either they work at full load or at the lowest setting. You will be either too hot or too cold. The A.C. supplier seems to have duped Goa government.
The free breakfast in this hotel is a total fraud. I guess the vendor here is paid the same money that the vendor at Miramar Residency is paid but the difference in the quality and the quantity is shocking. Some days they just prepare one dish apart from the bread/butter and this dish is vada-pav. The restaurant where breakfast is served in called "Saib" which perhaps is the worst restaurant in Panaji. Once I ordered Bread Pakoda from them and they fried the bread dipped in the batter made from Maida, not from Besan. The mixed vegetable curry they supplied in the room had so much oil and masala that after eating it, my stomach took 12 hours to cool down.
There is no paid or free Wi-Fi internet in any of the GTDC hotels but 2-3 free newspapers are supplied in the rooms daily.
The rooms here are divided into "front" and "rear" with a difference in the view. The front rooms on the higher floors give a view of the Mandovi river in the front. Prices start at Rs. 1850 and go up to Rs. 5500. Rear rooms are OK, called AC rooms. Try to stay on the 6th floor and be careful with the towels that housekeeping gives you. Sometimes they are leaving used towels lifted from other rooms for your use. On the positive side, the location of Panaji Residency is superb, there are a mini fridge and a small locker in the room and there is the added advantage of a 24-hour coffee shop in the building, Marc Brown Cafe, where one can buy water bottles, etc., at odd hours.
Where To Book GTDC Hotels
Now that GTDC hotels can be booked at discount prices from Goibibo.com, ClearTrip.com, and MakeMyTrip.com, there is no need to book direct with GTDC. Anyway, GTDC's online booking engine is not reliable. Bookings through email are troublesome because they ask you to deposit money in their account and send receipts. One sure shot benefit of staying in a GTDC hotel is that you can book Goa sightseeing tours from their reception desks. These tours are good value compared to the private sector tours.
|Posted by Narinder Singh|