GLIMPSES OF RONIL GOA…the Hyatt Hotels Corporation in Chicago announced the opening of Ronil Goa, part of the JdV by Hyatt brand in the holiday state of Goa, India, on February 5, 2024…this marks the entry of the JdV by Hyatt brand in Southwest Asia. Offers 135 chick rooms with private balconies, a veritable home away from home for short stays or long stays. Ronil Goa is something old world, something new world, the best this side of the northern Goan Riviera, check it out.

OUT at the Ronil Goa the first thing I notice is that the elephant apple trees have grown up and goodness, they look magnificent! Tall, lush green foliage in which the elephant apples sway, waiting to be harvested…presumably they’re called elephant apple trees because elephants love the fruit. The trees being native to north India, eastern and tropical south-east Asia; Anant Ambani should plant elephant apple trees in Jamnagar where he has founded an elephant hospital!
But this is to say if you want to see elephant apple trees, one of these days make it to the new Ronil Goa, a charming old world property located down the iconic Calanute-Baga road which has seen development of the willy nilly madness kind. This stretch of Aguada-Candolim-Calangute-Baga coastal belt of beaches in north Goa makes up the much sought after Konkan riveira and enjoys the highest tarriff amongst hotels for tourists Indian and foreign.
And tucked away down this long, long Calangute-Baga road is the oasis retreat or treat of the Ronil Goa, an old world property now made over into a Hyatt JdV hotel, it reopened recently to tourists anew. I reckon this property has seen 35 years of good times and bad times here and good times are back! A visit here last week was filled with much nostalgia for me for there was a time when I used to frequent this beach belt in my salad years.
Ronil Goa has seen some glorious years of old when human being extraordinary Chef Rui Madre de Deus took care of the property and doubled as chef (he was a professional chef); I also remember the late August Braganza crooning Frank Sinatra’s famous number “I did it my way…” for many a weepy woman in the evening’s gathering! Alas, two of my favourite people of Goa have gone with the wind now, only memories remain.
Yes, Ronil Goa is a piece of heady nostalgia for me from way back in the mid-2010s when we used to go out to the Calangute-Baga road often to meet up with friends and have an evening out. This is to say much water has flowed down the bridge of time and I don’t know if the Calangate-Baga road is more of a mess than ever before.

Ronil Goa reception objet d’art…a machila, means of transport for noblewomen long ago in Goa during Portuguese colonial times!

But the eating out down this road is reportedly one of the best around the world if you’re very selective, the familiar property of what is now the Ronil Goa (five-star is it?) is still tucked away here and like I said before, a welcoming sprawling oasis retreat or treat of an old world property — even after the new makeovers!
Since I always notice trees first here are the frangipanis, the elephant apples and a few more I can’t place my finger on…is that a Sita ashoka tree somewhere here? Lots of palms and ornamentals with insulin plants sporting their colourful yellow flowers, a little sour and delicious to pop in the mouth for they’re edible flowers!
THE main pool is filled with swaying rubber flamingos (for the kids in the pool to hang on to) and they have an inner tranquillity (not infinity) pool too where one may float under the summer stars in the night sky if so inclined. There is a stretch bar in the reception area which is like a warm, welcoming living room and open most times; there’re some remarkable rest and recreation lounge chairs here and also objet de art to admire.
They now have 135 rooms and all open out to cosy balconies; it’s the mix of something old, something new I take a shine to. There is the old block and the newer block offering more rooms. The main poolside is where everybody likes to park themselves in the evening where they’re doing sourdough pizzas these days, and a barbecue section sported inviting roasting corncobs and what do you know — these very tempting chaat masala-laced pineapple sections to be lightly barbequed and served…a most drooling flavour!
They have some inventive canapés courtesy the young F & B incharge Sachin who took pains to explain to me how they do the dehydrated fruit peels…banana and strawberry, kiwi and pineapple, also guava, the citrus peels swirling in cocktails and mocktails. One may not chew them up the citrus peels happily, but check out the other fruit peels they do — kiwi is very munchable as is the guava titbits.
Nowadays “shots” promotions are the in thing. One of the boys here persuaded me to check out one of the refreshing tequila-passion juice shot, and some more? No, thank-you, I feared too many shots would send me reeling into the pool in the company of the rubber flamingos! Seems this business of doing bottom up with shots is popular with gen today or gen next tourists from the country over. To a query Sachin protested, “Oh no, the shots won’t make you drunk and anyway we’re trained not to pile too many shots on anyone although they’re actually health conscious!”
They’re trying to be eco-friendly but notice the pet bottles of water everywhere. In hospitality it’s the biggest challenge to be eco-friendly, organic-friendly and health-friendly and I don’t understand why! You may ask Gaurav Khaunte (owner of Ronil Hotel) or Sunjae Sharma (MD India and Southwest Asia, Hyatt) if you meet them; better still there’s general manager Pratiti Rajpal and her team who’re managing the place are most friendly souls. Incidentally, there’re five Hyatt collaborations in Goa now (all JdV properties).

ON THE MENU: An array of inventive, delectable cocktail snacks by the swimming pool in the evening …. Lebanese platter, jackfruit tacos, tender coconut chilly fry, sweet something hot hot churros of Spanish fame! And that’s Head Chef Karen Kohli in the background.

This is to finally say if I’m going up north Goa again I will stay only at the Ronil Goa for old and new times sake! Catch up with some more chat with their head chef, Karen Kohli, on the subject of some amazing canapés, for example, fish and chips in bamboo leaf cones and tempura-styled prawns …and of course adore the grown up elephant apple trees from a distance. The apples are waiting for someone to harvest them, if you’re looking up at one of them be sure one doesn’t take it into its head to fall on you! Look up elephant apples, they have nutritional values.
The new makeover Ronil Goa has the charms of both a homestay and a well-managed hotel I dare say now that it’s a Hyatt JdV (meaning joi de vivre, the hotel chain’s leit motif or so to speak). The comparative coolness of an older property with all the mod cons put in is ideal for seekers of holidays…to snooze or party. Loads of charm here at Ronil Goa to say “Viva Goa!”
ON that note it’s avjo, selamat datang, poite verem, au revoir, arrivedecci, hasta la vista and vachun yeta here for now.

—Mme Butterfly

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