Everyone in my family of four was super excited about this wedding. Not because it was our first ever visit to Goa, but it was going to be our first-ever luxury destination wedding in Goa at ITC Grand. Although Goa is well connected by air and road, we decided to travel all the way from Ahmedabad to Goa by train. The decision was taken by taking in mind seeing beautiful and stunning ghats of the Konkan region.
Unfortunately, that decision was backfired, at least while traveling to Goa, as our train traveled through the Konkan region during late evening hours. But our thirst for getting stunned by the very presence of the Sahyadri mountain range, the green sceneries, and going through numerous tunnels was fulfilled when we made the return journey from Goa.
But there was no bad luck at all when I first entered the main entrance of ITC Grand situated in Cansaulim, South Goa. In past, as a professional content writer, I have written a few articles on destination weddings for a wedding planner in Ahmedabad. so I had an idea how things would unfold before me in the coming two days. But, what I saw and felt was totally unimaginable and to be honest it was like a fairytale.
Before boarding the train to Madgao, Goa I was aware that ITC Grand is one of the best luxury destination wedding venues in Goa. After getting checked in to my room and also while looking outside the doors of the lawn just behind my room I instantly knew why it is called like that. One of my friends made huge claims about ITC Grand, Goa before my leaving Ahmedabad and after reaching at this luxury hotel I saw, I thought he was absolutely right what he said about this property.
Ok, I was at the ITC Grand, Goa to attend a luxury destination wedding of my niece who has come all the way from the USA along with her fiancé at that time. What I gathered from my discussions with the hotel staff and other people who were also attending this lavish wedding, that ITC Grand, Goa has almost 252 rooms in all, along with all the luxurious facilities like Spa, Gym, etc. Of course, there will be different tariffs for different kinds and types of rooms, but what I noticed was the uniqueness in the design of the rooms.
What I gathered was that there are four luxury rooms in one cottage and there are many cottages that can be seen all around. While entering into this huge property you will first see a big building where there is a reception and all other departments related to the usual hotel business. You can easily check in to the hotel after providing the due documents related to your identity.
One thing you must note is that during this COVID-19 era you will need to provide a double vaccination certificate plus the booster dose certificate (if eligible) along with your ID proofs at the time of check-in at ITC Grand Goa. If you are not vaccinated at all or have taken a single dose only then as per Goa state government rules during December 2021, you need to provide your latest RT-PCR negative report which should be not older than 72 hours at the time of your arrival. I think one should better confirm the current rules related to COVID-19 with the ITC Grand Goa management by calling them on their numbers.
If I talk about those luxurious rooms then I think no word or praise will be enough to describe the correct picture of it. Being from an Indian middle-class family this was my first experience of spending a few days in a 5-star resort. The eyes went wide as soon as I opened the room and entered it. The room was huge along with the bathroom which was equally huge.
My luxurious room at the ITC Grand, Goa had all possible modern amenities like a king-sized bed, centrally controlled air conditioning system, a television, free Wi-Fi connection, an electric kettle to make tea or coffee along with the sachets of tea and coffee powder, milk powder and sugar. There was a small fridge as well filled with cold drinks. It must have hard drinks included as well for a normal visitor.
As I have already mentioned the bathroom too was huge and there was a big bathtub which was unthinkable and never experienced before for me. The bathroom too was well equipped with different kinds of bathing soaps, body soaps, shampoos, and conditioners. Plus there was shaving cream, a shaving brush, and a razor, ready to use just in case the guest has forgotten to carry from his home.
All in all the facilities and the atmosphere was matching that of any ‘star classed’ resort in the world. I can think of this conclusion only as I had no prior experience about staying in a star resort. Now, let me discuss the food which is always a major attraction for me whenever I visit a new place and stay in a hotel. Before going any further I must admit that the food at ITC Grand Goa was delicious, to say the least.
One lunch and three breakfasts were arranged in two different banquet halls of ITC Grand Goa and all other meals were served just next to various pre-wedding and the wedding rituals area. Oh ya, forgot to add that the high-tea at the wedding was served in a very stunning background, about which I will write during the next few paragraphs. At the lawns, there was a special arrangement to serve cold drinks, cocktails, and mojitos. This place had plenty of varieties of soft drinks and for me, the taste of cranberry juice was not only the first one but also the best one.
We had 8 meals in total spreading in almost two days. I had two breakfasts, two lunches, two high teas, and two dinners during my stay. Being a Gujarati vegetarian, thankfully I had plenty to choose from. From South Indian to North Indian and from local food to some of the continental food it was all there to fulfill my taste buds. What I loved the most was their South Indian delicacies, and even in that the sambhar was the most loved by my tongue. So whenever you are wishing or willing to stay at ITC Grand Goa do not worry about your food, because I can guarantee you that you will not get disappointed at all.
Now, let us turn to the main event, the wedding. All the major pre-wedding rituals like Mosalu (a Gujarati pre-wedding ritual), Mehendi, Ring Ceremony, and Sangeet were organized on the first day, the day before the wedding at the huge lawns of ITC Grand Goa spread in acres and acres of land just at the touching distance of the sea.
The next morning also the same place hosted another set of pre-wedding rituals like Ganesh Sthapan, Oonjal (South Indian ritual), and haldi. But the wait for all of us present at the wedding place was the actual wedding ceremony which was scheduled at the beach during the evening time. We all got ready in different wedding suited attires and there was a special service for Safabandhi where two persons were specially deputed to fit Safas (or Indian pagdis) on the heads of interested people, I too got mine and wore it almost till the end of the wedding.
The wedding was conducted in all Indian wedding style decorations with the background of the beautiful Arossim Beach, which in my honest opinion is one of the best beaches of Goa. What was adding to this awesome scene was the sunset, the time when this wedding reached its pinnacle. The beautiful red sun was setting just behind the ‘chori’ where the wedding was happening that literary gave me goosebumps. Once the wedding rituals got over we all had a walk and picture clicking on the beautiful sands of Arossim beach. Although, we had a few short looks at this stunning beach before the wedding still this was one of the best experiences we all had in the last one and a half days due to the stunning sunset in the background.
The next day at the noontime after having another round of mouth-watering breakfast in the morning all the 350 guests made a simultaneous check-out from the ITC Grand, Goa 5 star beach resort and went to our respective hotels in Goa or at the various traveling-out points of Goa. I am sure all these 350 members including the bride, the groom, and their close relatives must have taken very fond memories of this spectacular wedding with them and will remember them for the rest of their lives.
About me and my family, we remained in Goa for the next three more days and visited a few sight-seeing places in this extraordinary state of India. I am planning to pen my experiences during my visit to Goa soon and you will find them right here on this website.
So till we meet next, it’s Aavjo (Goodbye in Gujarati) from me!