Haven’t done too many hotel reviews on this blog, but Lemon Tree inspired me to write one because of a very special reason. As we were tucking into our breakfast the morning we arrived, I noticed that one of the waiters serving us was differently abled (I am not sure what the appropriate parlance is here, but I mean no offense to anyone). Even though he did not speak to us or hear us, he communicated with us with absolute confidence and ease, and made no mistakes whatsoever. That was not the only occasion that I interacted with a differently abled person at the hotel. Throughout our stay and in different parts of the resort I encountered these differently abled people and everywhere they were warm, hospitable and extremely efficient.
Later at the reception I noticed a framed award that was bestowed on the Lemon Tree group, the NCPEDP (National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People) – Helen Keller Award. Established in 1999, the award seeks to recognize individuals and organizations working for the cause of the unemployed disabled youth in the country.
In the press release following the award, Mr. Patu Keswani, Chief Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels said, “This year (2010) we have been able to achieve a new milestone as our comprehensive guest-contact training program has enabled many of our differently abled people to seamlessly integrate with the front-end team.” The hotel as per the release employed 48 such people across their 13 properties and aimed to take this number to 300 or 10% of the total workforce by 2012-13.
As of today, Lemon Tree has managed to achieve that target and about 10% of its workforce comprises differently abled people. I must admit I don’t do anything in particular to contribute to the cause of differently abled people, and I would be delighted to patronise establishments that recognise these individuals, giving them an equal platform.
Walking distance from Candolim Beach in North Goa, Lemon Tree is a good pick for a relaxed stay with the entire family. I wouldn’t rate the hotel high on luxury, but there were no obvious negatives either.
Located on the ground floor, our room was really spacious and well done, with a little sit out. However our sit out faced the car park and hence always had drivers standing around. If you are particular about a little open sit out, insist on rooms that face the little garden lining the side of the hotel.
The resort also includes an absolutely beautiful restored Portuguese mansion. We managed to take a sneak peak as we were walking to the beach one morning as the side gate opening into the mansion’s garden was left open.
The staff are very friendly and efficient. In fact service is a strong point of the hotel, as is its location and the decor. The pool area surrounded by coconut trees and the lush green foliage flanking the sloping roofs of the buildings, gave the resort a very old Goa feel to the place. Interesting bits of furniture, lovely stained glass windows, gorgeous tiles and little nooks and corners are found aplenty.
The only downer for me was the food. Though the breakfast buffet had a superb spread, the taste of most dishes was not really that great. What I liked about the breakfast buffet – served at the Citrus cafe, adjoining the swimming pool was that it stays open till noon, so we never had to wake up and run to catch breakfast. Also as parents travelling with kids, it gave us the luxury of first making sure the kids had eaten enough and then eat breakfast at our own leisurely pace. A standout was the cappuccino!
Before I end my rather long account, I have to mention their tiny spa, that is nothing great in appearance, but the one hour full body massage that I had there was one of the best I have ever had. Indra, my masseuse was fantastic. If you do go their spa, please do ask for her!