This province is found in the west of India, where the Arabian sea meets the land. It has strong Mediterranean connections, as a former Portuguese colony, something that’s evidenced in the architecture and culinary influences. The beaches are its main attraction, with long stretches of golden palm flanked sands, accompanied by a balmy climate. However, those wishing to venture further from a sun lounger can take in some of the area’s cultural offers, with trips to various temples, mosques and wildlife sanctuaries. Goa is also home to some wonderful seaside resorts and here are a selection of our favourites.
JW Marriott Goa
On the coast of Vagator, close to Chapora Fort, two beaches and a railway station, is Goa’s JW Marriott, fronted by a lush living wall exterior. The hotel provides extensive facilities for those of all ages; hang out in the JW Family entertainment centre with its virtual reality games, bowling alley and a children’s play area. Or get some adult time at Spa by JW, with a sauna, steam bath and treatments. There are three places to eat on the premises; JW Kitchen, Heliconia and the rooftop Agua Italian restaurant, beside the outdoor infinity pool. Choose to stay in a bedroom, or a suite with a balcony, or a terrace with a private plunge pool.
ITC Grand Goa, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa
Set beside Arossim Beach in an unspoilt area, this resort stretches across 45 acres of land. Pretty terracotta tiled roofs, wooden balconies and palm trees evoke an east meets west feel. The buildings are joined by lagoons and waterways with mini waterfalls and lush flora. Each of the 252 rooms has their own outdoor space, some with secret gardens and outdoor showers. Kaya Kalp – The Royal Spa includes a yoga and meditation space along with treatment rooms. And there are six dining options, including a seaside charcoal grill and an alfresco open kitchen. Children have their own play zone and there’s a host of activities, as well as one of the largest freeform pools (with waterslides) in the country.
Grand Hyatt Goa
This lush five-star resort extends to the water’s edge at Bambolim Bay. It has 313 rooms, all with furnished balconies (suites have their own whirlpool too). Dark wood, tiled floors and crisp white bedding create a sophisticated and contemporary Goan aesthetic, along with marble bathrooms. Learn to make the hotel’s signature Italian dishes at The Verandah restaurant’s cookery classes, or eat in one of the other dining concepts: The Dining Room (with five live kitchens), Chulha Indian eatery, the Confeitaria Coffee Bar or a pool grill. Drinks and snacks can be enjoyed at Bay View Lounge, with cocktails and late-night music at Capiz Bar.
The W brand chose Goa as the location for their first property in India (it’s also the adult-centred brand’s first hotel to have a children’s club). This venue is found on a peaceful hillside above Vagator beach, yet while the setting is deeply relaxing, guests can party it up at the funky chain. Boxy, angular and modern, the building looks like an architectural art installation, or something from a Bond film, while the interior decor takes its cue from the area’s natural beauty and fishing heritage. A Rock Pool (so named as it’s carved out of the hillside) is the place to chill out, so to is its Clarins spa. But you can party at the Woo Bar, dine in its two restaurants and play tennis at the onsite courts.
The LaLiT Golf & Spa Resort Goa
This resort is found in the south of Goa (Raj Baga, Canacona, to be exact). Boasting its own casino, golf course, helipad and even a yacht, this is one of the largest hotels – certainly in terms of land – within Goa. It has 255 rooms, six dining venues, a kids’ corner, tennis courts, two pools, a holistic spa and a five-star rating. The two-storey LaLiT Golf & Spa Resort is less than two decades old but was remodelled in 2008.
Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Goa
Facing onto the expanse of sands that make up Benaulim Beach, the Taj Exotica is surrounded by manicured gardens, tropical flowers and coconut trees. It provides opportunities to get active, with facilities enabling yoga, tennis, swimming, golf, or some relaxation with Ayurvedic therapies at the Jiva Spa. Book a room, garden villa, or pool villa, all of which display a Colonial meets palatial style of decor. There are three restaurants serving Goan seafood, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, two bars and ample facilities to keep children entertained during your stay.