Karma Royal Haathi Mahal Hotel in Goa, India

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Updated: October 9, 2019

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Review of Karma Royal Haathi Mahal Hotel in Goa, India.

Karma Royal Haathi Mahal – Mediterranean-style resort (with villas) that’s extremely spacious, convenient, and family-friendly.

With its distinctive overall design and blue-and-white shades, this resort resembles something from a Greek island and extends a long way back. Facilities are exceptional – from the extended trio of pools (with a swim-up bar) to the mini-theater and refined bistros/bars. Villas (with one or two bedrooms) feature kitchens, while the standard rooms are less spacious but still comfortable – and most types of accommodations feature sizable balconies or verandas. With its kids club, games room, mini-theater, waterslide, and a vast range of fun activities, the resort is justifiably popular with families. Yet, all of this is in the middle of a town packed with tourist facilities, and a glorious beach is just a short walk away. (Note: substantial renovations are underway in 2019.)

Karma Royal Haathi Mahal – The Location

  • Address: On the main road through Cavelossim, a very likable enclave of tourist facilities and top-end hotels about midway along South Goa. (Most places in Goa don’t have a proper address.)
  • Area: Lots of facilities along the main road and side streets. On the other side of the road from the beach – 500m to 800m away, depending which way is used – and about 100m from the river.
  • How to Get There: From the airport (33km, 60-minute drive), there is little choice except overpriced pre-paid taxis. The nearest major train station is at Margao (Madgaon), 14km away (30-minute drive).
  • Handy to: Facilities and beaches at Cavelossim.

Karma Royal Haathi Mahal – The Basics

  • Guests: Predominantly families.
  • Kids Club: The Three Monkeys Club is the finest in the Cavelossim/Mobor area. Thoughtful range of daily activities includes painting and treasure hunts. Also, a few sports and computer games.
  • Views: Most villas overlook a path or other villas nearby. Some face the pool, which is usually noisy, while rooms offer street views.
  • Kitchen: Villas feature fairly large kitchens and dining areas.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Not really expected (or provided) at this family-oriented holiday resort.
  • Wi-Fi: Available free throughout for all guests.
  • Parking: Very few places to park behind the gates. Arrange when booking.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +91 (0)832 672 5300
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: karmagroup.com

Karma Royal Haathi Mahal – Amenities

  • Pool: Three pools, all connected. Also, a children’s pool, cute waterslide for pre-teens, and ‘waterfalls’ in the main pool. Communal jacuzzi among the secluded villas.
  • Spa: The Karma Spa offers an impressive range of massages, facials, and manicures.
  • Fitness Center: Huge and very well-equipped. Personal trainers available.
  • For Families: Plenty on offer: mini-theater for children’s movies, games room with ping pong and pool, and waterslide. Also, excellent Kids Club as mentioned above.
  • Other Facilities: Boutiques. Handy minimart. Mini-theater (children’s movies during the afternoon; Bollywood favorites in the evening).

Karma Royal Haathi Mahal – Food and Drink

  • Restaurants & Bars: Casa Lisboa – Award-winning Goan, Portuguese, and western cuisine. Authentic décor, just like a ‘Lisbon House’ (as translated), and intimate courtyard tables overlooking the pool. • Splash! Bar – Appropriate name for this swim-up bar (rare anywhere in Goa). Curries and burgers are cooked right in the poolside kitchen. • Attwood’s Pub – Seemingly transplanted from an English village. British-style meals, full-sized snooker table, and TV sports.
  • Breakfast: Not included, but available for an extra charge.
  • Room Service: Available 24/7.

Karma Royal Haathi Mahal – Rooms

  • Room Types: Deluxe Rooms • Superior Rooms • Standard Villa Apartments • Imperial Villa Apartments
  • Smoking Rooms: Smoking is not allowed in the rooms or public areas, but is permitted elsewhere.
  • Best Room: The villas are far nicer and larger than the rooms, and feature kitchens, living/dining areas, and modern facilities like home theater systems. Those further from the pools will be quieter.
  • For Families: The 2-bedroom villas are ideal. They also feature separate living/dining rooms and fully-equipped kitchens.

Karma Royal Haathi Mahal – Local Transport

  • Walking & Cycling: The main road has plenty to see, features a few sidewalks, and traffic is minimal. Ask the reception about renting bicycles because the road is great for cycling, especially further south.
  • Public Transport: Buses travel along the main road outside the resort gates every 10 minutes in both directions. They head south (3km) as far as the Leela resort, via The Fisherman’s Wharf café, and further north to Margao (Madgaon). The latter is a major regional town with frequent connections across Goa. No metro or any local trains of use to tourists.
  • Taxis & Auto-rickshaws: A few auto-rickshaws (that won’t use meters), but no metered taxis. Uber/Ola don’t operate anywhere in Goa, but app-based rides can be arranged through Goa Miles, though really, the only option for longer trips are unmetered private ‘taxis’ arranged through the resort or with drivers who hang around the main road. Rates are overpriced but negotiable.
  • 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 this at the resort. Rides on the back of a motorbike (called a ‘pilot’) are possible; ask around.

Karma Royal Haathi Mahal – What’s Nearby?

Restaurants & Bars

    Plenty of options just southwest down the main road, or better, facing the river and accessible along side streets. Also, several options at 2 nearby resorts: Radisson Blu Cavelossim Beach (230m, 3-minute walk) and Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort (500m, 6-minute walk), which are also useful landmarks.

  • Mike’s Place – Long-established hangout down a side street that starts almost opposite the Novotel. Lovely setting in a converted mansion. Also, beach parties and live music. 5-minute walk (350m).
  • Hungry Shark – Casual and charming riverside position for seafood and live music. Signposted down a side street 300m from the Karma resort. 6-minute walk (500m).
  • Robin’s Ark – Spacious and elegant roadside setting. Very popular for hearty western meals. Directly opposite the Novotel. 6-minute walk (500m).
  • Beach Cafés – Down the lane marked ‘James’s Beach Hut Café’, just past the Novotel. At the end of the lane are numerous cafés on the sand. The best is Q-Ba. 11-minute walk (1km).

Shops

  • Along the main road are plenty of shops, including minimarts, moneychangers, and agencies offering boat trips, but no supermarkets or classy boutiques. Shop owners can be a bit pushy.

Beach

  • The glorious expanse of white sands at Cavelossim Beach is about 500m across the other side of the road. Take a shortcut through the Radisson and Novotel resorts, or it’s about 1km via James’s café (see above). Spread across the sand, a few casual cafés sell food and drinks and also rent out sunbeds and umbrellas. Waves can be rough at times, so always swim between the flags. Lifeguards operate between 10 am and sunset. Less crowded spots further south. Some limited water-sports available from a hut on the beach in front of the Novotel.

Karma Royal Haathi Mahal – The Hotel

The resort is located in north Cavelossim.

This resort is nicely positioned along the main road in the northern end of the developed town of Cavelossim, but doesn’t face the beach.

The resort is large and elegant.

The Karma Royal resort is far larger and even more elegant than initially thought.

The lobby is unique and exudes sophistication and style.

The sophistication and style is apparent the moment guests walk into the lobby area.

The swimming pool is big.

Between the main building and complex of villas, the main pool dominates the resort grounds.

The large pool dominates the grounds.

The main pool is substantial and meanders into separate and quieter areas of the grounds.

The pool even has waterfalls and a waterslide.

The main pool features ‘waterfalls’ and a waterslide for younger ones.

The pool deck has some sunbeds.

As renovations were underway (in 2019), space for sunbeds was limited.

The pool has a swim-up bar.

A feature not often found at rival resorts is the swim-up bar.

The large games room offers several games.

Far larger than those offered elsewhere, the games room provides an interesting range of things to do.

Villa guests can use the communal jacuzzi.

A communal jacuzzi is available for guests staying at the villas.

The resort has a useful minimart.

More useful than a boutique to most guests is this minimart in the resort.

Casa Lisboa café is located by the pool.

The inviting Casa Lisboa café is alongside and above the quieter extension of the main pool.

The English-style Attwood's Pub is delightful.

As if transported from an English village, Attwood’s Pub at the resort is delightful.

The white and blue design is reminiscent of a Greek island.

The white walls and blue roofs of the villas are reminiscent of a Greek island.

Most rooms and villas have large balconies/verandas.

In low-level buildings, most rooms and villas feature substantial balconies or verandas.

The standard rooms are comfortable and spacious.

The standard rooms are not as colorful as the outside, but still very comfortable and spacious.

Standard rooms have large living areas.

The standard rooms have living areas larger than most offered by rival resorts.

The spacious villas are spacious but bland.

Featuring 1 or 2 bedrooms, the villas are spacious but in need of some color.

The villas' main bedrooms feature 4-poster beds.

The main bedroom in the 2-bedroom villa features a 4-poster bed, a rarity among other resorts.

The kitchen/living/dining areas in the villas are enormous.

The kitchen/dining/living areas in the 2-bedroom villas are enormous, bigger than the 2 bedrooms and bathrooms combined.

The villa balconies/verandas are colorful.

The balconies/verandas attached to most villas provide a bit more color.

The resort is located in Cavelossim.

The resort faces the main road through Cavelossim, a developed town in southern Goa.

The Novotel Resort entrance nearby is a useful landmark.

The main entrance to the Novotel resort about 200m down the road serves as a useful landmark in the town.

The main road has several facilities.

The main road is dotted with shops, cafés, and bars, but is not as developed as areas in northern Goa.

Robin’s Ark is a classy restaurant opposite the Novotel.

Among a cluster of shops opposite the Novotel, Robin’s Ark is probably the classiest place along the main road.

Mike’s Place is a long-time favorite close by.

A well-established favorite is Mike’s Place, just down a side street almost opposite the Novotel.

The area around Mike's Place features several great dining and drinking options.

There are several other terrific places to eat and drink along the same street as Mike’s Place.

Hungry Shark nearby has a terrific riverside setting.

One of several riverside cafés within a few minutes’ stroll from the Karma is Hungry Shark.

There are several cafés on the beach.

Most guests will probably eat/drink at one of the cafés on the beach. Head south down the road and turn right at the sign: ‘James’s Beach Hut Café’, about 800m from the Karma.

The beach cafés are casual, cheap, and friendly.

The cafés on the beach are casual, cheap, and cheerful.

The beach is wide and clean.

The beach near the resort is wide and clean.

Flags identify areas with lifeguards that are safe to swim in.

Waves can be rough at times, so always swim between the flags.

The beach cafés rent out sunbeds and umbrellas.

Sunbeds and umbrellas can be rented at the beach not far from the resort.

A few stalls sell beach gear.

Along the beach, a few huts sell some beach gear.

Buses connect to Cavelossim, Mobor Beach, and Margao.

Buses run frequently along the main road through Cavelossim. They head south to Mobor Beach and north to Margao (Madgaon), the main town and regional transport hub in southern Goa.

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