Unless you choose a package, or an accommodation in Goa you know already or by word of mouth, or a 4 or 5 star hotel, I advise you to book a place in advance for a stay of just 2 days, so that you can rest from your journey and safely store your luggage, and start to enjoy your Goan holidays. From there, you can, in the next days take your time to look for another better accommodation if the first one doesn’t fully satisfy you. This is what I usually do when I travel and I have noticed that I’m not the only one to opt for this method.
A Goa travel guide or any guide can give you some indications which can be useful for a first place to stay, but it cannot know your tastes, nor recreate the whole atmosphere. Also changing can happen, and updates are not done that often.
So, I tend to be a proponent of the check-yourself method. Moreover, when you go and visit yourself, you can discuss the price. See the bargaining article to know some tips to get the best prices.
So, in this section, you won’t find a detailed list of all the accommodations, but rather a guide for choosing the best accommodation in Goa that will suit you.
You can find some addresses in each category of hotels or accommodations that are central and easy for the discovery of the area, in any Goa travel guide book. The travel guide books I prefer are first Outlook Traveller and second, the Rough Guide. The only defect of the Outlook is (or at least was) their evaluation chart of the Goan beaches at the beginning of the book, which is completely nonsense! Apart from that, this is the best guide I know on Goa.
Now, let’s see the things to check before choosing a place to stay for you to comfortably enjoy your Goan holidays:
One of them concerns electricity. You have to know that there are some electricity problems in Goa. Not only the voltage fluctuates a lot, but also very often, there is no power for some time, going from 5mn to all afternoon, or just 1 hour, and rarely all night. When it happens in the middle of the night, you can spend a very bad night because of the heat and the mosquitoes. The only pleasant thing in these moments is the silence! So, how to avoid this situation? By staying in a place where they have a generator or any backup power system.
If you intend to stay in a luxury hotel during your Goan holidays, there is no problem, they all have their own generator. However if you intend to stay in an average or cheap hotel or a guest-house, ask if they have such a system that takes over during the power cuts. Just because you choose a place with air conditioning doesn’t mean it will work during the power cuts. I have already been in a hotel with air conditioning and no backup power system, and when there’s no power, the A/C is of no worth!
Even with a backup power system, everything might not work during the power cuts, like heavy power consuming devices such as the fridge or the air conditioning… but at least you should get the fan, a light, the TV and some sockets. Don’t plug in a 1 000 watts, it would drain the battery in no time! 🙂
Enquire about which electrical circuits are on the backup power system to be sure. Checking out this point carefully can make a big difference in the comfort of your holidays. Personally, it’s been life changing when we got such a system and I wouldn’t hesitate a second to pay more to get a back-up system in the place I’d stay in Goa: it is es-sen-tial!!!
Otherwise, if you stay in a place with no back-up power system, check the mosquito net if you don’t have one of your own.
There’s also another point to check, and this is an important one too, and it is the ventilation. There must be at least one window in your room facing west, or northwest or southwest, because this is where the wind comes from most often in Goa. And if not, 2 opposite openings help the air ventilation, and also high ceilings.
Once, I went in a guest-house to see some friends. The flat they were renting was really big with a large terrace, looking really nice at first sight, but only the east and west parts had openings. There were no windows nor doors on the other sides of the flat, and the ceiling height was the ordinary one of modern houses. I felt I would die in there: It was so hot! no air circulation at all in spite of the fans that were moving only hot air!
That which leads us to another thing to take into consideration the type of building you stay in. The traditional Goan houses, with their Indo-Portuguese architecture, high ceilings (the warm air goes up), mud and stone walls (cooler inside than outside and if it’s cold, it’s the contrary), and numerous openings for air circulation are ideal for the tropical climate. Goan architecture in the old times used to take these parameters into consideration. There were no fans or air conditioning at that time, and the constructions were smart.
In the flat that we rent, the living-room for exemple has 6 openings and the bedroom 3. Moreover, ceilings are at a height of 4 meters, and the walls are mud and stones, so no ventilation or heat problem in the Villa Clemente.
Another thing to check is the water supply. During the peak season (from november to march), there is sometimes restrictions of government water and it can be very frustrating. So, check that out too. In the big hotels, there is no problem; big water tankers come to refill their water tanks. But for smaller hotels or guest-houses, this is not the case. So, see if they have a well and big capacity water tank (big blak one on a high stand), always fill the bathroom bucket with water and have an extra bottle of drinking water in your room.
You can also check in the room if there are hangers, shelves. In many small Goa hotels or guest houses, they furnish the real minimum.
If you want a TV, check if it’s a cable or a satellite connection. The best is the satellite of course.
All these “details” can make a big change in the comfort of your Goa vacations. They can also help you in bargaining the price !
Enjoy your Goan holidays!