This was our second all inclusive visit in three years, nothing much had changed. The staff are still friendly and welcoming and cannot do enough for you. If you are looking for a hotel that will look after you the Santiago is the place to be.
The rooms are very basic and do not have much of a view but they are cleaned every day. There is also a minibar in the room which is replenished on a weekly basis. Bottled water and bottled drinks are available from the bar if you want to take them back to your room.
What makes this hotel special is the staff they make sure that you enjoy your stay.
The bad bits
The hotel could do with modernisation/upgrading, don’t get me wrong everything in the hotel is clean and tidy, but nothing has changed in three years since our last visit may be a new colour scheme as the paintwork is starting to look very dated.
The entrance to the hotel is off the main road via a small lane. The first part of the lane is tarmacked then the rest of the lane is uncovered leaving a very uneven surface. When the coach drops you off at the hotel it only drops you off at the main road, this means that you have to use the lane whilst carrying/wheeling your luggage. The un-tarmacked surface makes it almost impossible to wheel your luggage down the lane to the hotel. The lane is also not very well lit at night.
Due to the popularity of the hotel it means that the rooms are in demand, this caused us a problem as we could not keep our room on when we were due to leave. We had to be out of our room by 13.00 hours but our transport to the airport was not due to pick us up until 21.30 hours. This seemed a bit unfair as we had paid from Christmas day but did not actually arrive until Boxing Day, I realise that the hotel needs to allocate rooms but I think that a bit of leeway should be considered. We were given the use of a shower room situated in the office at the rear of the reception desk before we left for the airport.
Although the food is of excellent standard it does get a bit monotonous, however the staff will get you anything you want even if it is not on the menu. There is also the Thai Bazaar restaurant if you fancy a change from the main bar area.
Not much sun around the pool area or on the room balconies. If you really want sun go to the beach.
Sun beds are available around the pool but you have to be quick.
Get a taxi to and from the airport, this saves you having to use the lane (mentioned above) as the taxi can pull up to the hotel entrance - Taxis cost approximately 1200 Rupees (£14.40) and they are a lot quicker than the coach.
Although there is a laundry service available at the hotel - Take a 3 metre length of washing line. You will be able to wash and dry items of clothing on your balcony.
If you are going to tip the waiters and bar staff, wait until the end of your holiday and give the tips to the staff but let them know that this is your intention. This saves you tipping on a daily basis.
Get some good mosie repellent in the UK, most of the repellent in Goa does not contain DEET. We also recommend Avons "Skin so soft" (in a green tube) as a mosie repellent.
Don’t take toiletries with you. They add to the weight of your luggage. You can buy anything you need (including sun screen) cheaper from the supermarkets in Goa.
Do not carry spare batteries in your luggage. If you do you will definitely get stopped by security and asked to open your case so that they can check.
Hope that this review helps, we are looking to go back Jan 2014 once the New Year celebrations are out of the way.
So having said that it is still the same Santiago as usual. The staff are still brilliant, the reception is still as helpful as ever and of course thanks to raj for his usual management style.
So what else can I say? The menu has been condensed to what it was, 16 pages when we first came and now 8 but still excellent. The tai/Chinese has if anything improved by offering a set menu of 3 or 4 choices of entre, starts, mains and sweet. The usual drinks are on offer. Kingfisher beer and all the usual spirits. Very attentive staff who keep you topped up both day and night. Entertainment is still a little iffy but hey this is India.
Yes I would recommend this hotel if you like no frills and good old fashioned great service and food and a brilliant location with beach only 10 mins stroll and some brilliant restaurants nearby if you fancy a change.
More photos Where to start???
On first arriving at the Santiago we was immediately impressed with the calm relaxed atmosphere of the staff which immediately put all the guests at ease. Check in was quick and hassle free, we were shown straight to our room which although basic had everything we could want. We loved the idea of having a seperate lounge area to watch t.v (which again was very impressive). The extras of tea/coffee making facilities and a fridge with drinks was fantastic.
The rooms were cleaned daily and we never once saw any bugs.
We went straight down to the pool area for a nice cold beer and although this was our first time to the Santiago we were greeted like friends by all the bar staff. A huge thank you to David,Tony,Pritesh,Paul and my little cute bar tender who always had a cheeky smile and a wave.
I've read other reviews that moaned about the sunbed situation,it wasn't really that bad,we only had them once but that was through choice as we preffered the deck chairs. They wasn't even put out until after 9 so it's not like you've got to get up at stupid o/clock to get one. At one side of the pool they've got a good selection of books and magazines that have been left by other guests which again was a great idea.
Also a big thank you to Naz who worked the upstairs bar at night,he loved my husband teaching him chess.Beware if you're playing pool,the table does tend to tilt at 1 end and they really need new pool balls but for 100 rps for 3 games you can't moan.
Although we didn't go to breakfast too often it was really good,always hot with a good selection. My husband couldn't get enough of the bacon.
The selection of food around the bar area (whether it was the buffett lunch or from the english board) was faultless and of fantastic quality,again always hot and plenty of choice.
Afternoon tea was good with cakes,biscuits and hot snacks. Me and my husband always had a pot of coffee with large brandys at this time,don't think they'd seen people add brandy to coffee before lol.
Dinner again was fantastic,we loved the idea of being able to order from a menu rather than queue up like cattle. I've done all inclusive many times before and this was the first time I've experienced this.
I agreewith other reviews that you need to go to dinner quite early if you want a good table as you do tend to stay there all evening as that's where the entertainment is. We went down most nights about 7.15 which was fine with us as we were ready to eat by then.
The entertainment was really good most nights although there isn't any on a Saturday night as the hotel is very quiet with a lot of guests going off to the Saturday market.
Although tucked away from the main area don't let this put you off,it doesn't take long to walk anywhere and it's away from all the noise of the bars,shops and traffic.
It wasn't just the staff and hotel that made our honeymoon,we met some of the nicest guests you could ever wish to meet. There were only 2 young guests at this time,Gabe and Sadie,they were absolutley fantastic,a total credit to their families. As long as they had the pool they were as good as gold,Gabe loved being launched in the water by my husband John and 2 other guests John and Nick.
Gabe's mum Nina and stepdad Phil were a fantastic couple that we have kept in touch with.
Now for the only down side of the honeymoon......................the airport!!!
On arrival we had to wait over an hour for a dock for the plane and to get through immigration (both on arrival and departure) was a nightmare,although I have to say this was mainly caused by tourists not filling out the required paperwork and waiting to get to passport control before doing this. You'd think a 9 hour flight would be long enough to get this done lol!!!
It was a lot worse on departure as it took us over 2 hours to get through to departures,at least for all us smokers they do provide smoking rooms but remember they will not let you take a lighter through so make sure you've got a box of matches.
We can honestly say we would go to this hotel again but would like to see the airport situation improved. With more and more people going to Goa every year something really has to be done!!!
Travel operator: Thomas Cook
An excellent hotel,great staff,great food.Nothing a problem.
Back for a month in January 2009
Travel operator: Thomas Cook
Had a brilliant time with excellent service all round,made a lot of new friends.
As this is a small friendly hotel,the linen and bath towels changed frequently ,and always came in to a different formation of the towels &a nice basket of chocs at xmas.
Dining room staff all knew your name so you felt like one big family have booked to go back again at xmas/new year (240 days to go)!
Travel operator: MYTRAVEL
Travel operator: thomas cook
The waiters and barmen made sure you did not want for anything, Paulo, David, Nas and the rest of the staff made you feel like you were spending time with your own family.
Hotel was great, food great pool great.
Location was a couple of minutes from everything, bars, shops the lot. Food was brill, every was great.
We will be going back to the Santiago again that is for sure.
Travel operator: Thomson
We do not use the hotel during the day, as we go to Candolim Beach.
The Thai/Cantonese restaurant is one of the best I have ever been too, Harish the Chef is superb and nothing is a problem.
The rooms are being improved , but they are still a very good standard for Goa, I know, I have been in much worse.
I will be back this year, to enjoy fantastic food, excellent staff and a wonderful Goan atmosphere.
Please don't tell anyone or I might not get booked in.
Travel operator: Cosmos
Food excellent both main and chinese although in the main they just hav'nt enough tables around the dining area if you did'nt claim a table before 7pm tough. Cannot comment on day time service as we are not pool sitters but overall the staff could not be better.
We would not return only due to the table issue we had to dine out most nights.
Travel operator: thomson
The Chinese restaurant was lovely not to mention the Indian food.
We got back Monday had it booked again on Wednesday same hotel but for 2 weeks at Xmas.
Travel operator: thomson
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