Hard Rock Hotel, Goa | Review | Travel

Hard Rock Hotel, Goa | Review | Travel

So, it was the 17th day of July, 2018, while we were already on a vacation in Goa. From July 15th till 17th, 2018, we stayed at Caravela (previously known as Ramada) Beach Resort. And the last two days, i.e. July 19th and 20th, we stayed at Novotel Spa and Resorts. Day 17 an day 18th, Hard Rock Hotel was our .

While we were making this booking, we were very excited to choose from several available resorts and hotels in Goa. We ended booking Caravela Beach Resort and Novotel Spa & Resort along with Hard Rock Hotel. Followings were the available properties which were almost equivalent to that of Hard Rock Hotel price, fitting our requirements:

  • Taj Ford Aguada.
  • Planet Hollywood.
  • Radisson Blu.
  • Zuri White Sands.

am a Rock fan and a metal fan and I thought this is going to be my pilgrimage. I was hopeful that I will get to listen to rock, all night and day. Every time we make a booking at a hotel or a resort, we generally receive email or a call from our booked hotels seeking our confirmation, preferences etc., however, from Hard Rock Hotel, nothing. I told my wife, maybe Hard Rock Hotel has a surprise for us. Here is the brief review…

We arrived at the hotel approximately between 2:00 PM to 2:30 PM. We noticed that there was a big jeep ahead of us, maybe it was parking, as we waited for over 3-4 minutes for porch clearance. As soon our Taxi arrived at the main porch, I saw no one. I looked at my wife, we both were blank, since no one was available to welcome us. I got down and opened the door for my wife, picked up our child and looked at the staff and told, “Hi, we need to check in, we have a booking!”

We arrived at the hotel approximately between 2:00 PM to 2:30 PM. We noticed that there was a big jeep ahead of us, maybe it was parking, as we waited for over 3-4 minutes for porch clearance. As soon our Taxi arrived at the main porch, I saw no one. I looked at my wife, we both were blank, since no one was available to welcome us. I got down and opened the door for my wife, picked up our child and looked at the staff and told, “Hi, we need to check in, we have a booking!”

I am surprised, no one was available to receive us. Then a gentleman, I believe he was a bell boy, came running towards us and said, sir, please follow me.

We approached the front desk and the first thing I heard (in the background), while walking to the reception was Ed Sheeran. Sadly, no rock!

Upon producing the requested identification proofs, we were asked to deposit INR 2000/-. Why? We were excited to go to our room and after 5 minutes, the bellboy guided us to our room. He opened the room for us and left. The view was alright, a swimming pool view, but the alley wasn’t looking like that of a 5 star hotel. There were extra beds lying outside our room without covers.

I and my wife felt, there is some sort of bad aroma in the room which we are not able to recognize, as if someone has been smoking in the room or washroom. We tried to ignore the stench, assuming, it may be a woody aroma or sort of a new fragrance, since this is kinda Rock hotel.  We called the reception and they sent a housekeeping staff, who basically sprayed some fragrance. The washroom was dark, dampened and there was no source of direct natural light. Our 2 year old son was tired, and he jumped into the bed. We thought, let us unfold the blanket for him. Man! That was a terrible cigarette smell. I looked below the bed, it was dusty, not very dusty, but it was dusty, no 5 star would have such thing. We again thought, let us ignore and have some beer from the refrigerator, to our disappointment, we found that beer was not cold. We told each other, “These guys didn’t prepared the room for us before our arrival?” I called again and requested for beer replacements. That stench was catching us up!

Here is the detailed room tour:

I had enough and called the reception and requested to change the room, to which the receptionist told that she will call me in 5 minutes. She called back and told, “Sir, another room is ready, and I am sending someone with the key.”

An intern (why would you send an intern to a guest who is supposed to change his room right about after the guest has arrived) rang the bell and guided us to our new room. That was quite a walk from one block to another. The intern was very kind and humble. And we arrived to our new room. This room was fresh and there was no stench. The washroom had natural light so we were alright. However, the view was terrible, it looked like someone’s home or maybe a lodge. Nevertheless, our intention was relaxation and room view was not a point of concern for us.

After freshening up (by the way washrooms have a very poor ventilation system, I guess, they need a service, as there is no other way of natural ventilation. Neither the room nor the washroom has windows), I went down to the reception and during this short walk, I was amazed to see the poor condition of the hotel. Here is my detailed observation:

  • Most of the doors were wet and drizzly due to condensation. I understand that July is a monsoon season, but c’mon, there were white chalk marks outside our door. Terrible infrastructure.

I slipped twice before reaching the elevators in the walkway, because water was dripping all over.

There was a light bulb/LED right outside our door, can you imagine water was dripping out of it? How risky it could be!

There was total darkness on this walkway especially the walkway nearing the restaurant on the ground floor. It definitely had some eerie feeling to it.

There was total darkness on this walkway especially the walkway nearing the restaurant on the ground floor. It definitely had some eerie feeling to it.

  • Dark and full of monsoon stench. Surprisingly, no one was available to supervise this.
  • The fire exit or you can call it a stair case, looked like a staircase of a government developed co-operating housing society.
  • I am adding few photos to back my claim. There used to be a lounge, now they no longer use it as an eatery. The place stinks of monsoon dampness.
  • This very lounge also showcase the fender collection, however, beware, do not go near these guitars, else an intern will come and warn you. You are always being watched here, beware.
  • If you would like to play a fender in your room, you can make a security deposit payment of 50,000/- rupees and enjoy jamming. But honestly, these guitars are bad. C’mon, look at the condition of these poor instruments.

Anyways, I reached the reception to inquire about the whereabouts of the facilities of the hotel, the gentleman on the reception responded that we have one restaurant, a bar, Rock shop, Gym, a swimming pool with an attached kiddie’s pool to it. That’s it! I asked him, is this even a 5 star hotel? He responded, “Sir, this is a 5 star resort!”

Right outside the resort, there was a shop who can help you with Bike, a Scooter, Jeep, Car etc. for rent on a very good price. We planned to rent a scooter for two days, since there wasn’t much for our child in the hotel. So that went well!

Now here comes the night! It was around 8:00 PM, when we planned to have our dinner at their restaurant, “Sessions”.

We returned back at around 11:30 PM, the room wasn’t cool, so I tried to fix the temperature, however I was totally clueless, since this strange remote shows the temperature till 5 degree Celsius, maybe I am too outdated. Here are few more observations:

  • We wanted to order milk for our baby so I called the reception and told, “Hi, I need a glass of milk for our baby!” and the operator responded, “Rightaway!”
  • Another intern rang the bell. To my surprise, he came up with a big mug. He didn’t even bothered to keep the tray. It was just the mug! That’s it! The milk was dripping right since he kept that on the side table. No sugar, tissue papers and no teaspoon was served.
  • I had to take the mug and the baby milk bottle in the washroom, near the washbasin to fill the bottle in order to avoid any spilling.
  • Baby was happy with milk, however we realized there are mosquitoes in the room. I was lucky to take one down.
  • I called the reception and informed them about the mosquitos.
  • Another intern rang the bell and handed over us an anti-mosquito machine. I showed him the dead mosquito, he said, “Sorry for the inconvenience!” and left. He didn’t even bothered to pick up the damn dead mosquito from our bed where we were supposed to sleep.
  • When I turned on the TV, I realized, there are so many channels to which hotel hasn’t even subscribed.
  • Almost around 12:00, we started feeling that AC is not working at all. We tried all the temperatures, all the R&Ds, 24 degrees, 5 degrees, 16 & 18 degrees, assuming this thing works maybe a different way, since no one had guided us its operation. So we called reception again (feeling embarrassed by calling so many times, even front office desk would have thought, this room guest is a bugging one. But we were really troubled).
  • Around 12:30, a maintenance engineer rang our bell and tried his stuff for fixing AC, but it didn’t worked.
  • He told, “Sir, we need to clean the AC filter, what do you suggest?” I told him, “Sure, go ahead, else we won’t be able to sleep as there is no fan available.”
  • By 12:45, our AC was fixed and we slept. The maintenance engineer was a very well-mannered and humble.

I felt that the total money we have spent, was such a waste. I ended up tweeting in frustration, to which the authorities responded the next day.

The next day we got up for breakfast and left hotel for some sightseeing, but returned early. We planned to stay back at hotel, since there wasn’t favorable weather condition for us to roam on a scooter with a child during evening. I planned to swim with our child in the Kiddie’s pool. I asked where is the changing room, they pointed me to a washroom behind the bar. Anyone, who is walking down from the reception towards the pool can see here if the room stays unlocked. To lock the door, it was a disaster, since that was not a changing room, rather just a toilet. The swimming coach (there is only one coach, who is unavailable between 7 PM and 8 PM, for dinner break) asked us to take shower first. So I along with my 2 year old son, walked to the shower. It was chilled! There was no warm water. I felt bad to force cold shower on my son. Nevertheless, we spent that day well unlike the first day, the next day was the checkout.

Now, let me say this, Hard Rock Hotel wasn’t a total botch, there were few good things to it. Read the following observation:

  • There were lots of loud guests, yet the staff was very nice, courteous.
  • A gentleman, Mr. Sagar, was so courteous, he always ensured that we are taken care.
  • The food was amazing! I can easily say, it tasted better than that of Thalassa, Novotel and Caravela. It was really fresh and delicious.
  • Irrespective of issues in the room with AC and Mosquitos, we really slept very well. We got up fresh and relaxed the next day. Actually we slept better in Hard Rock hotel in comparison to Novotel and Caravela.
  • The breakfast buffet was sumptuous. Eventhough it was not a very big spread, like most of the 5 star hotels, yet it was very good. Breads were fresh, cheeses were excellent, yoghurts and salads were delicious.
  • Sagar ensured that we relish during our restaurant visit. Infact, he took care of the baby milk/fruits without us even requesting him.
  • Eventhough, there were so many loud guests at the eggs live counter and making multiple requests during breakfast hour, Mr. Bimal was kind enough to ensure our order is taken care of.
  • The bar is available next to the swimming pool, who generally play music as per the schedule, however, they take requests as well. We enjoyed some Scorpions and Deep Purple classics.
  • Hookah is available at the bar.
  • Eventhough the food menu is limited at the bar, staff are good with the service and taste of the food is really very good.

The day we were checking out, we met Mr. Nirmal, who was the Manager (I believe House Keeping department), available at that time. He apologized for the grievances we faced and told that if we are planning to extend our stay, he would like to give us an upgrade. That was very nice gesture, however, that was our checkout. Nevertheless, Mr. Nirmal arranged for us a free taxi to our next destination, ‘Novotel Spa & Resort’, that was great.

One person we would really like to Thank is, Mr. Atiq. I believe he was a Kashmiri gentleman. A very humble and courteous fellow. I suggest, he deserves a raise. He was the one who really made us feel that you are being departed from hotel, yet there is someone you sort of know, available to see you off.

Why do we pay a decent amount of money? We can definitely stay in a 1-2 star property and save some money, isn’t it? C’mon, do something about the infrastructure and maintenance. Do not call it a resort in front of someone who has been traveling all the times.

Pros:

  • Good and fresh food, especially North Indian and Mughlai.
  • Good service in restaurant.
  • Kid’s swimming pool and the main pool.
  • Comfortable beds.
  • Location – Centre of the city.
  • Good for couples.

Cons:

  • Bad infrastructure.
  • Lots of interns attending guests.
  • Low maintenance (especially the galleries and the walkways).
  • Only one restaurant.
  • Set menu for the ones who book room with meals.
  • Loud restaurants.
  • Very limited inventory at the Rock Shop, not even costumes or recreational tubes/noodles were available.
  • Not a family friend hotel.
  • Not kids friendly, even though staff is courteous.
  • No dedicated smoking zones near the pool.

Dear travelers, thank you for reading this rather lengthy review. If you ask me, I would say, for couples (without children), it is a good place if you want to roam around Goa and maybe stay back at hotel only for breakfast and dinner. Not recommended for families with children. Happy surfing!

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