An insider’s guide to the most luxurious properties in Goa
When the crowds recede and the hipsters loosen their grip over Baga and Anjuna, that is when India’s costal paradise truly comes alive. For your next Goan holiday to remember, these resorts pack in breath-taking locations, impeccable service and the perfect excuse to romance the pause…
ROMANCE THE PAUSE AT: Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa
The queen of the beaches, this resplendent property is a favourite of celebrities and corporate honchos from across the world. Set on the pristine Arossim Beach, just 15 minutes from Dabolim Airport, it feels like a fabled world in itself — a Portuguese inspired uber-luxe hamlet. From its 250 Pousada-style rooms to 45-acres of landscaped gardens and the Sereno Spa, it’s an award-winning legend. The free-form swimming pool that curves languorously across the property—flowing under pretty bridges, swaying palm tress and by sundecks—is one of the largest in India, and enhances the lagoon-like privacy of the resort. The dining options are spectacular; a fine whiskey at the Praia de Luz pub sets the scene for a divine Pomfret Rechaido at Casa Sarita (their Portuguese Cataplana seafood stew is another hit) or a Porcini and Taleggio Cheese Risotto at Da Luigi.
BOOK THIS: The fabulous Imperador Suite is a study in regality and controlled excess. Spread over 1,850 square feet, it includes dedicated living, dining, bedroom and kitchen areas; a marble bath with sunken tub and a rain shower. The private garden with jetted spa tub and veranda provide the ideal setting to end the day with a night tipple looking out at the Arabian Sea.
NOOK TO KNOW: The mother of all private shacks, the Park Hyatt’s cloistered cabana, is the most romantic spot in a property that’s not short of beauty and grandeur. With wood floors, a thatched roof, silken curtains, the scent of rose and jasmine in the air, a curated dinner and a butler, it is nothing less than a dream!
ROMANCE THE PAUSE AT: Vivanta by Taj, Fort Aguada
If you’re looking to get far from the maddening crowd, this 16th century Portuguese-style fortress in Bardez is just what you need. Perched atop tranquil Sinquerim beach, one of Goa’s oldest five-star properties isn’t too far from the capital, Panaji, yet it is regally removed from the beachside hustle-bustle. A total of 145 rooms and 14 sea-facing suites offer classic views of the verdant countryside. The Hermitage villas further up the hill are nestled amidst Balinese manicured gardens and offer soul searing vistas of North Goa.
BOOK THIS: The two-bedroom Premium Temptation villa is a modern oasis within the terracotta thatched charm of the resort. Decorated in the classic Portuguese Azulejo theme—tin-glazed blue and white ceramic tiles—the standalone villa comes with its private garden set up with parasols to enjoy the crisp evening breeze along with one of the best sea views in Goa.
NOOK TO KNOW: Find your way to the award-winning Jiva Spa to indulge in the 2-hour signature ‘Trupti,’ which is a soothing massage with essential oils that is designed to relax, improve circulation and ease sore muscles. What better way to please when you pause?
ROMANCE THE PAUSE AT: Alila Diwa
If there is any property that truly embodies the laidback style of Goa, it is this South-Goan resort in Majorda. Think lush paddy fields, the intense flavours of pepper and chilli, and the strains of fado wafting in the breeze.
BOOK THIS: The opulent Alila Suite is a romantic tour de force. Featuring an oversized bath tub and private terraces, it is ideal to fall back with a drink on a king-sized bed and ponder over the wonders of nature and fine architecture in typical Goan style.
NOOK TO KNOW: The Infinity Pool—a turquoise mirage against the backdrop of emerald paddy fields—is the ideal R&R spot. After a swim, a drink at the exquisite Edge Bar is a must.
ROMANCE THE PAUSE AT: Siolim House Casa Palacio
Between the sea-sprayed glitz and glamour, it is easy to ignore the architectural heritage of the sunshine state. At this 350-year-old Palacio-style restored heritage hotel, the magnificent legacy of Goa breathes through every tile and pillar. It once housed dignitaries like the Governors of Macau and Mozambique. Today, it is lovingly preserved and offers the ultimate luxury — harking back to when life was slow-paced and savoured in every delicious sip of feni and bite of vindaloo.
BOOK THIS: In the annexe to Siolim House is a three-room villa—Little Siolim, a charming mix of Portuguese, Sri Lankan and South East Asian architecture. Centred on a swimming pool, the courtyard is ideal for a lazy brunch and you can cook your own meals in the kitchen. The villa is surrounded by gardens on three sides, along with a patio in the front of the house.
NOOK TO KNOW: The Siolim Cooking School is one of the best known in Goa. Book a class in advance and spend an enriching afternoon exploring the intricacies of Baffado, Xacuti, Guisado, Cafreal, Caldinha and other Goan gourmet superstars.
ROMANCE THE PAUSE AT: Ishavilas
A boutique hotel from the Neemrana ‘Noble Homes’ stable, this gorgeously restored Goan villa is a lush green haven of tranquillity in Siolim, barely 8 kilometres from the beaches at Morjim and the nightlife at Anjuna-Vagator. Offering discreet privacy as well as impeccable service, it exemplifies quiet Goan luxury. From the long-winding driveway to the gold-braided cushions and old-world balconies, spiral stairways and frangipani-laced patios, this intimate heritage property invokes sepia-tinted nostalgia.
BOOK THIS: Ishanya–The Cottage Complete is an independent two-bedroom cottage surrounding a swimming pool, with the veranda doubling as pool deck. The Ish room, signifying the North-East direction, has a four-poster bed and study table, along with a sunburst blue mirror that is symbolic of the third eye of Shiva. The adjoining Anya room is decorated in soothing green and white. There’s also a lounge area, a kitchenette and laundry area.
NOOK TO KNOW: The sun-kissed terrace is where you can curate several memorable moments, from champagne brunches to a blissful massage.
Image Credits: Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa, Vivanta by Taj, Fort Aguada, Alila Diwa, Trip Advisor, Ishavilas
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