Who doesn’t love Goa? With its pristine sandy beaches, chill vibe, great food, and amazing waves, this global tourist destination with an Indian ethos, has long been a favourite of most travellers. After the pandemic, it became even more popular as a large number of city folk moved here lock, stock and barrel. My first memories of visiting this beach state go back to my college days when I travelled here with family and then with friends. After marriage, my trips here became more frequent – sometimes numbering twice or thrice a year – as my husband and in-laws enjoy beaches and the ocean immensely. However, when I returned to Goa in May 2022, after a gap of a couple of years, it was a truly unique vacation. It was the first time I had travelled with my brother for a holiday, and it was also my first time testing out an Indian youth hostel chain – goSTOPS. This time too I was invited to stay at their property in exchange for honest reviews and coverage. So apart from these articles here and here, this post focusses on my review of goSTOPS Goa.
However, before sharing a review of goSTOPS Goa, I must tell you a little bit about the chain in case you’re unfamiliar with it. As India’s fastest-growing backpacker hostel brand, goSTOPS has made a name for itself amongst young budget travellers ever since it launched in 2014. Since then, the company has marked its presence in some of the major tourist spots of the country and hosted more than 5,00,000 travellers across its 32 properties with over 3000 beds. Their patrons are usually between 18 to 30 years of age and consist of solo travellers, group travellers, backpackers, digital nomads, and individuals seeking interesting stay or work from hostel options. According to their team, their USP is to lease and transform budget hotels and operate them as backpacker hostels. The aim of goSTOPS is to focus on Gen-Z and create an accommodation brand they can call their own. So my review of goSTOPS Goa will be with these factors in mind.
BOOKINGS AND HOW TO GET THERE:
Book directly on the website for the best deals (Pssst… If you are influencer with a large following, they invite you to stay for free – check their website for details):
In Goa, goSTOPS has recently opened two properties, aware of the fact that this beach destination is a young traveller hub. Both are located relatively close to each other, in North Goa – one in Calangute and the other in Baga. The Calangute property is converted from an old Portuguese home and is rich in historic appeal, and the Baga one has a swimming pool – an important detail that attracts many people. We stayed in the latter, as that was also the newer of the two.
The Baga property is an hour’s drive from Goa International Airport in Dabolim. Due to construction on a particular bridge located en route, this journey can sometimes take even longer to complete. The hostel is located inland and is a 10 minute drive from the beach (not walking distance). It is tucked away behind some other properties / homestays and larger cars cannot fit in the narrow lane leading up to it. Yet, this is also evidence of its relative privacy, which is appreciated by many.
TYPES OF ROOMS:
Depending on one’s budget and priorities, one can choose from private bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms or single beds in dormitories with shared bathrooms. The dormitories are either mixed or female-only, and usually consist of 6, 8 or 10 bed options with one shared bathroom.
We stayed in a private room with ensuite bathroom and a balcony. It was private, comfortable and relatively spacious – considering we were staying in a hostel! The room had a bed, two side tables, a desk, a cupboard, a functional AC, and a sitting area in the balcony which we appreciated.
THINGS TO DO:
Apart from the affordable price tag attached to a stay here, the biggest advantage of staying in a hostel is meeting people and making new friends. Hence, the entire experience of a hostel is geared towards that purpose.
- Common Area
The most inviting part of the hostel in goSTOPS Baga is its comfy common area. A large screen for movie and video viewing commands the room, though the ample seating caters to people who prefer to chit-chat, as well as those who want to play board games or cards.
Conveniently located right next to the common area is a kitchen / café service, which offers a basic selection of Indian food. Cafes are not a usual fixture in hostels, especially abroad, but to cater to requests of Indian travellers, goSTOPS has made this service available to its patrons. Hence, when people need a quick breakfast or are hungry late at night, they can request for basic food items cooked fresh in their in-house kitchen.
- Swimming Pool
The café looks out on to the swimming pool, which also has a hammock for those who enjoying lounging.
- Pool Table
Another popular attraction with the people who stay here is the pool table, which was almost never empty while we were there. Playing pool is a fun and easy activity and is a great way to strike up a conversation with strangers if they like to play too.
- Outdoor Seating Area
The entire décor theme of goSTOPS is quirky and vibrant, to attract its Gen-Z target audience. Expect bright yellows, blues and pinks painted on walls and seating areas, unusually-shaped furniture, and décor that consists of dreamcatchers and twinkling lights. The outdoor seating area adjacent to the swimming pool plays up this youthful vibe and makes for an attractive place to convene and chat.
- Great Location
When in Goa, no one is expected to just stay indoors! Hence, the location of goSTOPS Baga, in the heart of North Goa, is its most attractive feature. One can access Baga and Calangute beaches through a 10-minute bike / car ride, or one can explore the party places on Ozran and Vagator beaches, which are 15 minutes away. Anjuna, Morjim and the quieter beaches up North are just 25 minutes away.
REVIEW OF GOSTOPS GOA:
The only time I have stayed in hostels before this trip was when I lived in London as a student and travelled across Spain and Portugal. Hostels made sense as a budget-friendly and safe place to meet new people. I was travelling with a tour group that booked hostels keeping cleanliness, location, amenities, and ratings in mind, so we got to sample the best ones available. Hence, I feel prepared to review goSTOPS Goa, with my prior experience in mind.
For me, particularly, what made goSTOPS Goa stand apart from these European hostels, was the level of involvement of the staff and their uber-friendly attitude. As so often happens abroad, people are left to their own devices even in places like hostels and inns. Apart from the basic cleaning of the room, patrons are encouraged to fend for themselves. Here, in keeping with Indian hospitality standards, the team personally welcomed us to the property and saw to all our needs – whether it meant ordering food to our room, arranging our taxis, or addressing our concerns. They were also ready with suggestions of places to visit and had answers to all our questions.
As I’ve said earlier in this post, our room was comfortable and inviting, yet we did face some hygiene issues. The sheets seemed unclean upon our arrival and in the evening, it being monsoon season, we had a problem with insects. Both these concerns were dealt with promptly and properly by the management – a fact I really appreciate.
The food options to choose from were limited but satisfied basic cravings and were well-priced. However, I would recommend eating outside to sample Goa’s amazing food. You should arrange some sort of transportation to be able to move around – at goSTOPS Goa, they help you arrange bikes / cars on rent or taxis if you are willing to pay the fare. Ubers are not easily available, so please keep that in mind.
Since we were there only for a weekend and it was raining quite heavily, the swimming pool was unfortunately not clean enough to use. However, I was told the pool is cleaned every three days and in fact their entire infiltration system is being rehauled at the moment.
Overall, my honest review of goSTOPS Goa is that it is a nice place to stay for a very affordable price. It is especially geared to young budget travellers who want a comfortable, Instagram-worthy spot on a tight budget. Families with young children, or couples looking for luxury or privacy will not enjoy this place, but groups of friends or cousins / siblings travelling together will appreciate everything on offer. Since goSTOPS has properties across India, I hope to sample their hospitality again in another beautiful spot, if I get a chance. And if you are travelling solo or with friends, I recommend you do the same.
BOOK A STAY AT GOSTOPS GOA (OR ANY OF THEIR OTHER PROPERTIES) HERE: https://gostops.com/why-stops/
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