International Break

Discover India’s coastal paradise from one of these top hotels in Goa

By , 26th October 2018

Upgrade your visit to India with a luxurious stay in one of these 4 and 5-star top hotels in Goa. Each offers an extra something that will make your holiday truly special – think gourmet seaside restaurants and indulgent spa treatments to idyllic beachfront locations.

On days out in Goa, explore the colonial Portuguese architecture of the capital city Panaji, or experience the golden sand beaches that line the tranquil coastal town of Benaulim. Our picks include secluded seaside cottages where you can fall asleep listening to the waves as well as sleek city-centre suites. Whether you’re planning a family reunion or a romantic birthday treat, these lavish hotels make the ideal backdrop.


A top hotel in Goa offering beachside luxury

The Leela Goa | Benaulim

At the 5-star Leela Goa, you’ll be surrounded by exotic waters. As well as a spectacular location near the peaceful and palm-fringed Betul Beach, this hotel also overlooks the Sal River – with its banks of emerald fruit trees and secluded lagoons dotted along the shore. In a Lagoon Terrace Room, begin the day with a fresh herbal tea on your private terrace, breathing in the sweet scent of nearby lotus blooms.

Work up an appetite with a morning swim in the sea, then head to one of seven eateries that offer a variety of cuisines, from spicy Indian dishes to deliciously fresh seafood. Contemporary Indian restaurant Jamavar embraces cuisine from both the north and south of the country, with distinctive plates such as hearty Goan fish curry rich with coriander, garlic and cumin.

Don’t leave without making an appointment at the spa, which focuses on Ayurveda – the ancient Indian practice of alternative, preventative treatments based on the elements. Drift away as trained therapists soothe your muscles with aromatherapy massages and whole-body treatments such as wraps and scrubs. Afterwards, take a rejuvenating evening dip in the softly lit outdoor pool.

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A top hotel in Goa that’s a tropical retreat

Taj Exotica Goa | Benaulim

Discover a paradise of old-meets-new architecture, delectable restaurants and blissful relaxation at the beachside Taj Exotica Goa. Rooms and villas capture the essence of the surrounding Goan landscape, with botanical wallpaper, warm terracotta and olive tones and plenty of natural materials like solid wooden headboards. In a villa, relax in your own generously-sized private plunge pool at the end of a day exploring Goa’s many palm-fringed beaches.

Discover traditional Goan cuisine at this 5-star hotel’s gourmet Miguel Arcanjo restaurant. Creamy white pillars, marble flooring and dark wood create a refined feel. For a more relaxed vibe, head to the hotel’s beachside Lobster Village for mouth-wateringly fresh seafood and a glass of chilled white wine.

You won’t be short of things to do at this luxury resort. The hotel is nestled within an impressive 56 acres of leafy gardens, complete with tropical palms and vibrant flowers – a quick stroll takes you to a vast, white-sand beach that’s ideal for relaxing swims and romantic sunset walks. Feeling sporty? Throw yourself down the curving slide into the vast pool, or try your hand at an afternoon game of golf.

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A top hotel in Goa surrounded by lush paddy fields

The Diwa Club | Majourda

Hidden among lush rice paddy fields, the sumptuous Diwa Club Hotel embraces the cornerstones of Goan architecture, such as sweeping teak verandas and plant-filled, open courtyards. A unique, curved building runs the length of the huge swimming pool, which is dotted around with comfortable lounge chairs with sunshine yellow pillows. Have an appetite for authentic local cuisine? Take a cooking class to discover regional flavours, or head to the hotel’s Vivo restaurant to dine on fiery Asian dishes such as Javanese nasi goreng, which balances salty shrimp with a sweet and savoury nut sauce.

Each of the spacious rooms here exudes a sense of peace. Soft furnishings use sumptuous textures in shades of buttery taupe, while traditional wooden carvings create elegant partitions between your bed and the free-standing tub. Luxurious Alila Living bath toiletries make your morning shower a multi-sensory experience.

A visit to Spa Alila only adds to the serenity. Billowing gold drapes, intricate brass lanterns and cool marble create a decadent feel that’s enhanced by the use of premium, all-natural products. Treatments follow the principles of Ayurveda – allow charcoal, rose and cedar to deeply cleanse pores with a body scrub. Treat little globe-trotters to their own pampering experience at the Kids’ Spa. Afterwards, recline in the vast outdoor lap-pool or the serene open-air Jacuzzi.

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A peaceful top hotel in Goa with private villas

Discover the lively beaches and traditional markets of North Goa from Seashell Villas. This serene complex of 15 holiday homes is located in the historic, beachside town of Candolim, which still showcases architectural examples of colonial Portuguese rule – like the 17th-century Aguada Fort. If you’re craving peace and quiet, this luxury hideaway is ideal: you’ll have your very own two-floor villa and veranda surrounded by well-kept lawns and tall palm trees.

Choose between two or three en-suite bedroom villas. Inside, you’ll find fresh, modern interiors, distinguished by richly textured upholstery, traditional lattice wood furniture and heavy drapes to help you get a sound night’s sleep. Savour a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc on your private balcony overlooking the tiled outdoor pool, before retiring inside to watch a film on your ultra-soft, king-sized bed.

Satiate your appetite at Seashell Villas’ Neptunes Harvest restaurant, which offers Goan, Chinese and Indian cuisine, including an extensive range of vegetarian dishes. Marble walls and warm spotlights are offset by dark wooden beams and tropical greenery, creating an atmosphere that’s simultaneously intimate and airy. If you’d prefer to relax in your villa’s private living room, you can order snacks from the restaurant 24 hours a day (or ask the friendly staff to rustle up a special dish just for you).

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A top hotel in Goa in 28 acres of tropical gardens

Grand Hyatt Goa | Velha Goa

For a truly restorative and indulgent break with friends or a partner, stay at the opulent 5-star Grand Hyatt Goa. This vast, palace-like hotel exudes unashamed luxury. Soak up the sun on your 32 ft square private balcony, refresh yourself in your powerful rain shower or hop in the stand-alone tub in the all-marble bathroom. Truly relaxed, you’ll lay your head down on your soft feather pillow for a sound night’s sleep.

Dinner time here means indulging in vibrant Italian cuisine at the Verandah restaurant – think soft ravioli filled with silky gorgonzola cut through with a zing of black pepper. Inside, colonial architecture meets a bold and earthy colour palette to create a welcoming atmosphere. Once you’re happily full, why not indulge in a nightcap of a ginger apple martini at the elegant Capiz Bar?

Wander through the hotel’s 28 acres of tropical gardens to arrive at the serene Shamana Spa, which translates from Sanskrit as ‘balance’. While you unwind with a massage or cleansing facial in one of 19 treatment rooms, watch the calm waters of Bambolim Bay roll in and out in their eternal rhythm. Next, take a dip in the indoor or outdoor pool and let the afternoon slip slowly by in the sauna or steam room.

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A top hotel in Goa full of eclectic features

In typical Planet Hollywood style, nothing about this 5-star resort is ordinary. Bright and colourful rooms feature bold art inspired by pop culture, as well as eclectic rugs and designer bathrooms. Mood lighting lets you alter the atmosphere to suit you. Opt for a Premier Suite to complement the unique style with views of the sparkling Arabian sea. The hotel’s location – surrounded by greenery and just steps away from the serene, wide sands of Utorda beach – is hard to beat.

Leave behind everyday life at the Pink Room spa. In softly lit and lightly scented surroundings, update your hairstyle, discover a new makeup look or indulge in a fresh manicure or pedicure. Afterwards, take a dip in the ultra-modern and angular outdoor pool, complete with tepee-style cabanas where you can relax, poolside, with a good book (or take a blissful afternoon nap).

When evenings sets in, tempt your taste buds at Fame, a Pan-Asian restaurant overlooking the pool. Sit back and be serenaded by a diverse array of music as you tuck into dishes like succulent teppanyaki, fresh-tasting bento boxes and satisfying, perfectly balanced curries. The British-themed Transit Bar is your final stop of the night – allow the master bartenders to whip up a show-stopping rum cocktail as you sit back on plush upholstery and toast your other half.

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A top hotel in Goa with beachside cottages

Take your romantic break to a luxurious new level at the 5-star Vivanta by Taj Holiday Village. As the sun dips, make the thatched-roof Beach-House restaurant your destination. Here, you can immerse yourself in Portuguese-influenced cuisine, with vibrant signature dishes including succulent kingfish cooked in spicy peri-peri for a shot of heat, and fresh clam chops served with a sweet and sticky mango relish.

The village’s crown jewel is the award-winning Jiva Spa. Experiences here range from ancient Indian therapies like head massages and pada mardana (therapeutic pampering for feet) to yoga practices focused on breathing. Afterwards, treat yourself to a dip in the outdoor pool surrounded by palm trees, then indulge in a refreshing gin cocktail in the water-level sunken bar.

In your private deluxe cottage, you’ll be hidden among gently rustling palms, vivid plants and wildflowers, with the soothing sound of rolling waves in the background. Rooms are filled with traditional touches, such as intricately tiled flooring, hanging lamps crafted by local artists and quaint terracotta pitched roofs. Sit on your private balcony at early morning or late afternoon with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and revel in the restorative sea breeze.

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