Yes, we love staying in homestays and sharing a meal with the locals, but a dose of glamour and sophistication – once in a while – doesn’t hurt much. On our recent trip to South Goa, we chose to stay at Planet Hollywood Beach Resort located in the quiet village of Utorda and returned feeling like a celebrity. Owned by director Sachin Joshi, this 10-acre beach resort is the first Planet Hollywood resort operational outside the US. It is the only second such resort after Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas.
PERSONALISED OPULENCE AT ITS BEST
We were picked up from the airport by a courteous, knowledgeable driver in the owner’s very own brand new white Audi! How’s that for a grand entry to the hotel? Post a warm welcome and quick check-in procedure, we were guided to our suite.
Striking red sofas in the living room, a private massage chair, soft mood lighting, well-stocked bar, sleek sound bar where you can dock your personal music device, bedroom with an interesting slice of Hollywood memorabilia, a spacious bathroom with a jacuzzi tub and walk-in wardrobe – our suite had it all!
What blew us away was detailed personalisation. A personalised chocolate cake, wine bottle, table linen, and TV slide show did wonders. Yes, it was a delight to see some of our lovely travel pictures playing on the television.
When you have a massage chair in your suite!
Our private sit out area or balcony offered breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea and the property’s beautifully landscaped gardens.
We somehow knew that we were in for three days of red-carpet treatment and sheer pampering!
The resort has 115 rooms and 15 luxury tents that will be launching soon. Each block – out of the eight blocks – reflects a particular genre of movies. The colourful, contemporary and unique, American interiors is what strikes the eye and truly makes you feel like a star.
HOLLYWOOD HERE, HOLLYWOOD THERE, HOLLYWOOD EVERYWHERE
This resort is a heaven for every cinema-loving individual. Not just the rooms, even the lobby area and the bar exude silver-screen glamour.
While the lobby boasts of a wall dedicated to movie-star signatures and handprints, the Heart Bar features all the famous faces that are likely to make you feel nostalgic and remind you of all your favourite films you wouldn’t mind watching over and over again.
Designed by Gauri Khan, it is the place that gets you high even before you get seated with your glass of drink. Yes, it has a well-stocked bar with a long list of international spirits to choose from and a giant screen to keep you entertained. So, you’re sure to have a good time here!
With its appealing vintage decor, the cigar lounge is equally attractive. Champagne, martinis, malts and cigars – name it and you get it here.
NOT WITHOUT A DIP IN THE POOL
For many, the idea of a vacation is lounging in the pool all day, staring blankly at the sky above while sipping on beer or lemonade at regular intervals. For them, a scenic pool dramatically surrounded by palm trees is ultimate bliss. Isn’t it? Post sunset, the pool lights up in lavender and looks all the more inviting.
CALM YOUR NERVES AT THE PINK ROOM SPA
Leading a busy city lifestyle, a relaxing spa treatment is something we were eagerly looking forward to. Moreover, doesn’t it come with living the celebrity life! As we entered the spa, its sophisticated ambiance instantly made us feel at peace.
They suggested we opt for their special couple spa treatment that would not only de-stress us but also give us some intimate time together. When a couple spends a few years together, it’s pretty easy for monotony to settle in and dampen the relationship. These little ways of spending time together brings back that much-needed spark. The two-hour massage followed by a body scrub was extremely refreshing. All the masseurs at The Pink Room Spa were polite and did everything possible to make us feel comfortable. They were quite skilled and really took care of the pain areas. We wrapped up the spa session with a cup of warm green tea, sweetened with a dash of honey
NO, YOUR FITNESS DOESN’T GO FOR A TOSS
Being a health conscious duo, we are often concerned about being able to stick to our regular fitness regimen when on a holiday. But the gymnasium at Planet Hollywood is equipped with international, state-of-the-art cardio-vascular, strength and endurance building equipment which makes working out fun and fruitful. They also have a visiting wellness expert thrice a week. Book an early morning workout session with him for a super energetic start to the day.
FOOD FOR THE SOUL
Breakfast is our absolute favourite meal, and we love to enjoy a hearty breakfast. Planet Dailies offers a lavish spread with a variety of Indian as well as continental items. Right from healthy juice shots, dried fruits, and salads to pancakes, egg preparations and Indian staples like idli, upma and paratha, there’s lots to choose from. Every morning, we made sure we spent quality enjoying some breakfast specials at the restaurant’s al fresco dining area. Keen on sampling some local Goan fare? Request the chef for it and he will be happy to dish out some items specially for you.
Attention to detail and personalisation is what makes Planet Hollywood a winner. While the staff quickly figured out our healthy eating choices, they made sure they served us with low-calorie, light gourmet meals at all times. Neatly garnished, every dish looked like a delicious piece of art. Must haves? Their lavender lemonade mocktail and baked yoghurt.
For those fancy dinner nights, we preferred Fame – the resto-lounge overlooking the swimming pool and featuring Western and Asian cuisine. Grilled seafood, Thai curries, Asian stir fries and wide variety of starters and main course items comprise its fine-dining menu. Here’s a piece of good news for everyone who loves Japanese cuisine. Fame has an in-house sushi chef who effortlessly works his magic with the sushi platter. Though we aren’t big fans of sushi, the platter left us craving for more. The restaurant often hosts a karaoke session which makes the evening eating out experience all the more fun and interactive. We ended the meal on a sweet note – with a deconstructed lavender Tiramisu. All the chefs at Planet Hollywood certainly love a lot of lavender!
What’s more? A lot of ingredients including vegetables and spices used in the food at Planet Hollywood restaurants are handpicked from the organic garden at the property.
THE ALMOST PRIVATE UTORDA BEACH
Step on the stretch of Utorda beach connecting the property and you will feel like you’ve reached one of the secluded beaches of Thailand or Mauritius.
We were at Utorda on a rainy, breezy day – no an ideal weather for sunbathing and lying on the beach – yet the beach looked no less beautiful.
After enjoying three days of exemplary hospitality, we left the resort with a heavy heart. But we were definitely feeling relaxed and ready for the weak ahead!
GOOD TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Location: Planet Hollywood Beach Resort, A-8, Asconwaddo, Uttorda Beach, Salcete, Goa
Tariffs: Rs 15,000 (Superior Garden View), Rs 19,000 (Luxury Pool View), Rs 22,000 (Supreme Sea View), Rs 40,000 (Executive Suites), Rs 50,000 (Premier Suites)