The Crown Goa Hotel in India

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Updated: October 9, 2019

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Review of The Crown Goa Hotel in Goa, India.

The Crown Goa – Majestic hilltop setting in the loveliest part of the old city.

Despite the rooftop sign (large enough to be seen from across the river), there is no longer a casino at the Crown. However, a better reason to stay here is its incredible position on top of the hill, offering arguably the finest river views in the state capital. Even the elegant café/bar and resort-style pool offer magnificent panoramas of the city and river from the shady gardens. Rooms are comfortable, although perhaps needing they could be updated a little, but most guests won’t mind as they stare at the views from the balconies or seats alongside the floor-to-ceiling windows. The other major attractions are the competitive rates (which include breakfast) and the inner-city location: along a meandering street in the midst of the fascinating old city.

The Crown Goa – The Location

  • Address: Bairo Alto Dos Pilotos Jose Falco Road, a narrow lane best accessed from Rua 31 de Janeiro (31st January Road), which has several cafés and bars. The suburb of Fontainhas in the old part of Panaji (Panjim), the state capital.
  • Area: Delightful section of the old city with winding lanes and narrow streets of brightly-colored heritage-listed buildings. About 150m from the main river, Mandovi, which meets another river (Ourém) near the hotel.
  • How to Get There: From the airport (26km, 50 to 60-minute drive), there is little choice except overpriced pre-paid taxis. The hotel is 1.5km from the Panaji KTC bus station (6-minute drive), which has connections all over Goa. The Madgaon train station is 37km (75-minute drive) and the Vasco da Gama station is 29km (60-minute drive) from the hotel.
  • Handy to: Old city of Panaji (Panjim).

The Crown Goa – The Basics

  • Guests: Business people and tourists from across India and the rest of the world.
  • Views: Magnificent. Most rooms face the front, offering unparalleled views of the main river. Even those at the back offer amazing city views because of the hotel’s position on a hilltop.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Not expected (or provided) at this sort of inner-city hotel in Goa.
  • Extras: Daily newspaper delivered to each room.
  • Wi-Fi: Free throughout for all guests.
  • Parking: Nothing on-site, but a few spots immediately opposite the main entrance. With guards everywhere, it should be safe.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +91 (0)832 240 0000
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: thecrowngoa.com

The Crown Goa – Amenities

  • Pool: Terrific, with sublime views, some shade, and a few sunbeds. Children’s area attached, but not fenced off like other hotels. Also, a communal jacuzzi.
  • Spa: The Divine Salon & Spa offers little more than massages.
  • Fitness Center: Decent size and reasonably well-equipped. Faces the gardens, not the river.
  • For Families: The ‘Children’s Park’ was being rebuilt in mid-2019. Small and outdoors, it probably won’t excite the younger ones anyway. Also, board gardens on tables among the gardens.
  • Other Facilities: Travel desk. Money exchange. Laundry.

The Crown Goa – Food and Drink

  • Restaurants & Bars: Harbour Café – At the lobby level, so views are limited, but the nautical-themed décor is fascinating. Long menu, and open 24 hours. • Dario’s Trattoria at Hanging Gardens – The Italian chef focuses on Mediterranean cuisine. With superior river views, it’s intimate, breezy, and ideal at sunset. Colorful bar attached and live entertainment on some nights.
  • Breakfast: Included in all rates, which is unusual among rivals.
  • Room Service: Available 24/7.

The Crown Goa – Rooms

  • Room Types: Superior Rooms (with City Views or River Views) • Executive Rooms • Suites • Junior Suites • Honeymoon Suites • Duplex Suites
  • Smoking Rooms: Smoking is allowed in some rooms.
  • Best Room: The Duplex Suites are lovely. Bedroom on a mezzanine level and separate living area with a bar below.
  • For Families: Space for an extra single bed in all types of accommodations. The separate living areas in the suites are large enough for 2 extra singles.

The Crown Goa – Local Transport

  • Walking: Fantastic area to wander about, but sidewalks along the narrow streets can be awkward at times.
  • Public Transport: No metro or any local trains of use to tourists. To reach the beaches, take a public bus from the Panaji KTC bus station to the regional hubs of Mapusa for the north or Margao (Madgaon) for the south.
  • Taxis & Auto-rickshaws: The few black-and-yellow taxis have meters, but drivers won’t use them. These are best arranged through the reception. App-based rides, Uber and Ola, don’t operate anywhere in Goa, but the local alternative – Goa Miles – is worth trying. A few auto-rickshaws are also available for local trips, but they too refuse to use their meters.
  • Cars & Motorbikes: Goa is the only place in India where renting a car or motorbike is feasible. No internationally-recognized agencies are present, so renting at a local shop presents obvious risks. Best to organize through the hotel. Rides on the back of a motorbike (called a ‘pilot’) are possible; ask around.

The Crown Goa – What’s Nearby?

Restaurants & Bars

    To reach the places listed below, head south (away from the main river) to a junction (100m) at Rua 31 de Janeiro (31st January Road). These restaurants are within 400m of the hotel and along or just off this side street.

  • Venite Bar & Restaurant – Lovely décor, with balconies almost hanging above the sidewalk. Tempting menu and excellent service. Easy to miss in a guesthouse of the same name. Left at the junction. 2-minute walk (180m).
  • Caravela Café & Bistro – Arctic air-conditioning and lovely décor. One of the best in town for western food, including all-day breakfast. Just past Venite. 3-minute walk (210m).
  • Ancient Rock Café & Restaurant +91 99217 50221 – On the ground floor of a magnificent bright-yellow building alongside the river. Try the fish thali (set meal in steel plate). Left at the junction. 3-minute walk (260m).
  • Route 66 Goa – American-style diner, just south past the Riverfront Restaurant. A little pricey, but the burgers are humungous. Live music on most nights. 4-minute walk (350m).
  • Tataki – Immersive Asian Dining +91 880071 23435 – On the top floor offering scintillating street views, contemporary cuisine, and attentive service. Just east of Ancient Rock. 5-minute walk (400m).
  • Down the Road & Riverfront Restaurant – Overlooking the old bridge, the views and food at the Riverfront are excellent. Down the Road bar/nightclub is on a lower floor. Right at the junction, then left towards the Ourém River. 5-minute walk (400m).

Shops

  • The streets and narrow alleys are lined with all sorts of interesting shops, but they’re mostly for locals, not tourists.

Attractions

  • The fascinating old city has some of the finest examples of colonial-era buildings anywhere in India. Beautifully renovated or delightfully crumbling, and often painted bright blue or yellow, these are dotted all over the streets near the hotel. But note: this is not Old Goa, which is about 10km east.

The Crown Goa – The Hotel

The hotel is located on a hilltop.

The Crown is easy to miss from the lane outside, but it dominates a hilltop that can be seen from across most of the city.

The hotel has a mix of old and new design.

The hotel is a curious mix of old and new design. Perhaps, trying to resemble a fort at ground level?

The old-fashioned lobby is charming.

The hotel, including the lobby, could probably be updated a little, but its old-fashioned charm is part of the appeal.

There are small gardens around most of the facilities.

The hotel is actually 2 floors above the ground level. Pockets of gardens surround the pool, café, and lobby area.

Some of the garden tables feature board games.

Around the gardens are tables for relaxing. Some tables are also used for board games.

Strategically placed chairs offer great river views.

Near the elevators, even more chairs offer perfect river views.

The hilltop hotel is about 2 levels above the street.

The hotel is built on a hilltop, 2 levels by elevator above the street.

The hotel design is very impressive.

The design is impressive, probably more elegant than the outside might indicate.

The large pool features a children's section.

The pool is quite large for the limited number of guests, and features a shallow area for children.

The pool offers panoramic views.

Views from the pool are wide and appealing.

The hotel has a tropical vibe with its sunbeds and umbrellas.

Umbrellas and sunbeds provide the feel of a tropical island resort rather than an inner-city hotel.

The large gym offers garden views.

The fitness center is substantial and offers views of the gardens (not the river).

Dario's Trattoria offers excellent river views.

Dario’s Trattoria at the hotel provides some of the city’s finest river views.

Dario's Trattoria offers excellent river views.

Tables at Dario’s are set up along the edge, maximizing panoramas of the river and city.

The bar alongside also offers magnificent views.

Alongside Dario’s is a colorful bar, also with fabulous vistas.

The lobby-side Harbour Café has an interesting decor.

Next to the lobby, the Harbour Café doesn’t offer river views, but the décor is intriguing.

Harbour Café overlooks the pool.

Tables at the Harbour Café overlook the pool, but views don’t quite extend to the river.

All accommodations have full-length windows offering excellent views.

All the rooms and suites are spacious and comfortable, and feature full-length windows to capture the precious views.

All rooms have living areas with the same great views.

Even the standard rooms feature decent-sized living areas from which guests can admire the sweeping panoramas of the river or city streets.

All accommodations have balconies.

Each room and suite features a balcony.

Most accommodations feature river views.

Most rooms and suites face the river, with hotel amenities in the foreground.

The hotel hosted a casino in the past.

Despite the sign at ground level near the elevators to the lobby, the hotel no longer features a casino.

The hotel is located on a quiet hillside.

The hotel is layered up a hillside along a quiet lane within the old city of the state capital.

Steps from the entrance lead to the Mandovi River.

These steps from the main entrance at street level lead to the Mandovi River.

There are several cafés down the lane from the hotel.

Just south down the lane (away from the main river), several cafés serve coffee, cakes, and simple meals.

The Ancient Rock café is located close to the hotel.

On the ground floor of this magnificent building alongside the main river is the Ancient Rock Café.

Caravela restaurant nearby offers air-conditioning and a lovely decor.

With very effective air-conditioning and lovely décor, the Caravela is one of the finest restaurants in town. Head south down the lane (away from the main river) for about 200m.

The superb Riverfront Restaurant serves great meals and drinks.

Overlooking the old bridge is the excellent Riverfront Restaurant, about 400m from the hotel.

Tataki bistro nearby also offers excellent views.

On the top floor with scintillating street views, the chic Tataki bistro is just east of the Ancient Rock Café.

Route 66 nearby serves massive burgers.

A little pricey, but the burgers are massive at Route 66, about 300m from the guesthouse.

The historic Venite Bar & Restaurant nearby is charming and spacious.

Venite Bar & Restaurant is truly historic and very interesting inside.

There are several great bars and cafés nearby.

The streets and lanes around the hotel are lined with inviting bars and cafés.

The road nearby is full of shops and boat cruise agencies.

The road facing the main river, not far from the hotel, is filled with interesting shops and agencies selling boat cruises.

The neighborhood has beautifully renovated houses.

Many houses in the old city are beautifully renovated.

Renovated buildings are brightly painted.

Buildings that have been renovated are almost always brightly painted.

There are several colonial-era churches nearby.

Along the streets of the old city near the hotel are some lovely colonial-era churches.

The hotel is located in a quiet area of the old city.

The hotel is in a quiet part of the old city, which is flanked by 2 rivers.

Auto-rickshaws are common in the area.

Unlike the beach regions in southern and northern Goa, auto-rickshaws are reasonably common here.

The magnificent Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is within walking distance.

The magnificent Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is 350m away.

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