With that grand sounding name, a hotel guest would have expected a lot. Atleast a lot of palm-fringed beaches. And, resort style surroundings.
But what one gets is indifference at the entry point from the security guards who just stare at you, from the receptionist who does not seem to care about the milling crowd waiting to be registered, from the housekeeping who do not respond to requests for hours together, et al. It is difficult to list all the troubles with this resort, its only saving grace is the swimming pool.
But the worst trouble that a guest faces is when he arrives on his own transport, and when he leaves on his own pre-arranged transport. The taxi drivers’ union at the gate (and also at the gates of the other South Goa resorts such as Taj Exotica, Club Mahindra, etc.,) harasses the guests. The security guards and the bell captain’s boys seem to be cooperating with the taxi drivers rather than appropriately servicing the hotel guests. This is nothing short of ridiculous. The hotel management is apparently completely indifferent to the hassles their guests go through.
I had pre-arranged my car for the entire trip using my friend of all times – the “internet” ! Nice clean Innova car to ferry the family wherever we wish to. But when we arrived at the resort we were appalled. It was pouring rain, and the security guard at the gate refused permission to disembark in front of the gate, and help take our baggages inside. There were taxis parked right in front of the gate, allowing no elbow space for anyone. This is what you call the “free-wheeling but indifferent Goanese culture” which does not care about tourism and hotel guests. It is my guess that 50% of Goan economy is based on tourism. If there are no tourists, many small time businesses would collapse in no time. I was told by our driver that Goa has been facing problems in tourist arrivals after the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai, and after couple of murders involving foreign tourists. No wonder ! Combine it with antagonistic taxi drivers and indifferent hotel managements, Goa should look forward to a booming tourist-driven economy !
We had problems everyday, as the taxi drivers heckled at each hotel guest walking out, and shouting at the top of their voice about the taxi services they offered. It used to bother me the first couple of days, but then I decided to completely ignore them. Many taxi operators block your way, and start speaking to you, but I completely ignored them and kept walking towards our pre-arranged taxi which was parked a full 50 metres away for fear of getting harassed by the taxi union members.
When we left the resort, the same problem recurred. The bell boys refused to carry the baggages to our car, stating that they can only take the baggage if the taxi is from the pool outside ! We carried our baggages outside the hotel, but the taxi drivers barred the way, which led to trouble. I continued walking, ignoring the shouts of the taxi drivers, and asking them to leave open the road for us to walk !
Is this not ridiculous ? We have stayed at the Ramada, and Park Hyatt before – we had no such problems. I can only conclude that RCI made a serious mistake in having this useless “Royal Goan Beach Club at Royal Palms” in its list of time-share resorts. This is the first time we stayed at a RCI Resort and it was totally lousy experience. May be we need to rethink about RCI itself. Club Mahindra resorts are much better, though I believe they have the same taxi union problem at their South Goa resort.
We enjoyed Goa itself when we went out to see the places and the beaches (separate blog post coming !), but did not like or enjoy this RCI Resort. May be the Goa Tourism Department of the Government of Goa should take heed of the tourist complaints like this, and take necessary clean-up action. One positive suggestion is for the taxi union to enter into a formal contract with each one of the resorts in South Goa, have the hotel publish the rates before the guests arrive, and give an option for them to choose. For example, we were very clear we wanted only a Toyota Innova air-conditioned SUV. The taxi union does not have such a car – they have mostly sedans and Maruti vans which we do not prefer. You cannot force your guests to take what you have, even if they do not prefer.
South Goa needs to learn more about how to treat tourists in a welcoming, non-threatening and non-abusive manner.
13th June 2009