Deltin Suites is a "casino five star" hotel. This is actually a sort of a technical term. A land-based casino in Goa can only be housed inside an officially classified 'five star' hotel. There are quite a few such hotels in Goa, some genuine five stars and some others that are 'five star' only so that they could have a casino on their grounds. One can see the difference by staying in a five star hotel in Goa where there is no casino, and then in a 'casino five star' like La Calypso in Baga or Crown Hotel in Panjim. The differences in the quality will be huge. But to be fair, an exception to this general rule is already there. A genuine five star hotel - Grand Hyatt Goa has got a casino in its premises - Strike Casino. Coming back to Deltin Suites, it is a pure 'casino five star'. Even before it got its own little in-house casino operational, the hotel has existed mainly as a residence for the patrons of the group's main casino - Deltin Royale. Even today it is true. Deltin Group sells "Stay & Play" packages that entitle guests to accommodation in this hotel and some 'One Time Play' casino chips and/or free entry to Deltin Royale. Some airlines flying from Mumbai to Goa also offer "Fly & Stay" packages that include a subsidised stay in Deltin Suites. I think this is how Deltin Suites gets a majority of its guests. Keep reading...
|Deltin Suites Hotel Nerul Goa|
During July 2016, I stayed in two five star hotels in Goa. First in Vivanta By Taj in Panjim for three days and then in Deltin Suites for an equal number of days. Price-wise, I paid a little over Rs. 7000 a day for Vivanta and somewhere around Rs. 4000 a day for Deltin Suites. Both the times, I got what I paid for. But now I can also tell that there are "five stars" and five stars.
Deltin Suites Nerul Goa
The hotel is located in Nerul, near Candolim which is a Rs. 1200 taxi ride away from Dabolim airport and Rs. 500 from Panjim city. The location is not exactly scenic, a main road is in front of the building which makes commuting easy, if nothing else. The hotel guests get a free to-and-fro taxi ride to Deltin Royale casino at any time of the day or night. Sometimes, it may take a few minutes of waiting so it is better to give a bit of advance notice to the front office. The reception is open 24 hours. The front of the building has a somewhat traditional design but inside, the building around the pool is all modern and boring. The swimming pool is a nice facility and is enthusiastically used by the guests. There is a gym nearby and also a spa which deserves a separate article. The other facility on the ground floor is the restaurant in which the daily free breakfast is served. The breakfast is nothing "five star" but is adequate. Breakfast timing is good, I think up to 10.30am.
|Guest Room in Deltin Suites Hotel Nerul Goa|
Guest Rooms are of three types - Executive Suite (backside facing suites), Deluxe Suite (pool facing suites), and Penthouse Suites which probably have some added facilities in addition to the pool view. I stayed in an Executive Suite which faced backwards with almost no view. A separate sitting area and a small kitchenette are what qualify these rooms to be called as "suites". I was told that the kitchenette can be made operational at the preference of the guests.
|The Kitchenette in Guest Room of Deltin Suites Hotel Goa|
I only used the small sink there for rinsing mugs for coffee but there was a hot plate too if a guest got serious about cooking. They said they would provide pots and pans. In one corner of the kitchen board they kept an electric kettle, tea/coffee/whitener supplies, and four half litre water bottles which were replenished daily.
|Guest Bedroom in Hotel Deltin Suites Nerul Goa|
The size of the suite was large. I did not use the sofa in the sitting area after I saw water dripping on one of the seats from the indoor unit of the A.C. above it. But it all looked good otherwise. There was only one A.C. unit but it cooled OK if run non-stop at 16 degrees. This was rainy season but during a hot summer I am not sure how a single A.C. will cool such a large room. I guess the ceiling fan above the bed will come to the guests' rescue. The bed itself was double and comfy.
|Executive Suite Bathroom in Deltin Suites Hotel Goa|
The bathroom was next to the bed. Inside, a separate shower cabin and a couple of empty cabinets completed the setup. The overhead "tropical rain shower" was not operational. The handheld shower was on a stand that was fixed too low. As a result, taking a shower was not so easy there. Since it was for three days only, and I knew perhaps it was going to be my first and last stay there, I did not care much about that. Toiletries were of a good quality, thankfully. I had to call housekeeping for bathroom slippers which they sent after a few minutes. Tea/coffee supplies could also be ordered extra but there was a limit on the free water bottles. Other facilities in the room were a paid minibar, a cabinet, an iron & ironing board, and a locker.
Answering of the phone by the housekeeping was rather a matter of chance because many times I found it busy and many times just ringing with no one there to answer - the little things that differentiate a "five star" from a real five star.
The Spa in the hotel is very good, a value for money experience. Hotel guests get a 20% discount on massage treatments. Click here to read more about The Spa at Deltin Suites Goa. Other than that there is not much else to experience in the hotel. Still, overall, among the "casino five star" hotels in Goa, I found Deltin Suites to be good. They were able to offer the most basic thing, a good night's sleep which I had found difficult in Crown Hotel. The breakfast was also many times better than what Crown serves. For Deltin Suites, if one can find a real value package, like the ones offered by the airlines, it can be a good deal. About the "Stay & Play" packages, I will recommend that you read this about One Time Play Chips before making a booking.
The Casino at Deltin Suites
|Deltin Suites Casino in Nerul Goa|
The casino at Deltin Suites was not fully up and running when I visited there in July 2016. It did not open 24 hours a day and it was open only to the hotel guests. It looked like some licencing issue or whatever because the main entry to the casino from the outside had been sealed off. The hotel guests could approach the casino from within the premises. The open-close timings of the casino were 1.00pm and 4.00am. But the restricted entry and limited timings were not the main problems with this casino.
I have been to dozens of casinos in India and abroad and the casino at Deltin Suites looked to me as totally avoidable, at least at that time. Like most onshore casinos in Goa, gaming in Deltin Suites Casino was not live. Onshore casinos in Goa cannot have "live gaming" by law. They are supposed to use gaming machines instead of actual playing cards and conceptually, the gaming there is supposed to be purely for recreational purposes. This concept is the creation of timid politicians who wanted to have casinos in Goa but did not have the guts or arguments to convince the voters. The result of this policy has only been disastrous for the players. Initially, the fully digital gaming rule was complied with. Later, some casinos started experimenting with a mix of actual playing cards and electronic sensors that read the cards and sent the image of the card to a screen in front of the player. The sorting of cards is fully automated in most onshore casinos. As a result, you never know if the gaming there is random or a slot machine type of system that guarantees a neat profit for the casino while screwing all the players. An exception to this is the new Strike Casino at Grand Hyatt Goa which is the best onshore casino in Goa and is perhaps better than most offshore casinos too. Deltin Suites Casino on the other hand, is perhaps among the worst. I will explain.
I played at Deltin Suites Casino for several hours on three different days on Blackjack and Three Card Poker tables and on a few slot machines. The slot machines were a total rip off. But the gaming tables, Blackjack and Three Card Poker, looked no different. Apparently the cards were getting sorted inside automated shufflers but no matter how many players bet on each hand and no matter what choices they made for 'Hit' or 'Stand', the dealer always won. I was not sure if the machines were sorting cards or positioning them. Before a shuffler there spews out the cards, the players place their bets on digital screens. As such, the system is aware of how many cards will be dealt to the players before the dealer gets his cards. That and the fact that I only saw losers there during those three days, I decided to avoid digital games in Goa altogether, in whatever onshore casino. Later I went to Strike Casino and was happy again. Perhaps Strike will force other casinos to change their ways. Strike has manual sorting and manual shoes except for tiny card sensors in the shoe. The gaming at Strike is honest to say the least.
Other aspects of Deltin Suites casino were like this: Other games except Blackjack and Three Card Poker were Andar Bahar, Baccarat, and Roulette. Minimum bets started at INR 100. There were some very ordinary free snacks, some basic drinks, and no dinner or entertainment. One just has to enjoy losing money there. Perhaps at some later date Deltin Suites Casino will change after entry for non-hotel guests is allowed and the timings become 24/7. There is potential but as long as there are shuffling machines in the casino, I say avoid it.
|Posted by Narinder Singh|