48/10 Village Majorda
Tel: 91 832 274 6800
So infused with traditional Goanese design is the graceful, tile-roofed architecture, so massive and gnarled are the mango trees growing in its courtyards and gardens, that it's not initially obvious that the Alila is in fact brand-new. The public rooms and corridors, open-sided and high-ceilinged, draw in the lush surroundings, which are cooled by reflecting pools and fountains. Dramatic lighting makes the outdoor setting, which includes an infinity pool with partially submerged recliners overlooking rice paddies and bamboo stands, even more magical at night. The 114 rooms and suites are furnished simply yet elegantly, enlivened by jewel-colored headboards; the bathroom, enclosed by a lattice screen, has a tub, a walk-in shower, and a walk-in closet. The open-kitchen Vivo serves multiethnic cuisine at all meals; Spice Studio, a purely Indian menu in the evening. There are some quibblesthe rooms are not well soundproofed, and tour groups can diminish the otherwise exclusive feel of the resort. But the Alila's gorgeous looks and peaceful southern Goa surroundings together with its delightful staff outweigh the drawbacks. Besides, only a short stroll away along a quiet country road are the hotel's chaise longues, parasols, and snack bar on spectacularly beautiful and uncrowded Majorda Beach.
Tel: 91 832 564 5858
Constructed on the site of a 16th-century Portuguese fort on Calangute Beach, this resort commands a gorgeous view stretching all the way to Baga. There are 145 centrally air-conditioned rooms, including 24 suites. Il Camino specializes in Italian cuisine, while the Sea Shell Restaurant offers Indian, Continental, and Goan specialties. The resort has a Children's Activity Center, where adults can deposit their cherubsperhaps so that Mom and Dad can enjoy a plantain-leaf body wrap or bio-marine facial at the hotel's Spa Aguada. The Biotique Private Spa Collection combines traditional European treatments (algae, mud, hydrotherapy) with Asian methods. A specially trained doctor manages Ayurveda treatments, helped by traditional therapists who were trained under masters in Kerala.
Tel: 91 832 246 3333
Fax: 91 832 246 3300
The Marriott Resort is one of Goa's newest five-star city hotels. Located at the mouth of the Mandovi River, it features a small riverside beach, and the newly renovated rooms (equipped with modern conveniences) are furnished in a simple contemporary style. One restaurant serves Goan and international specialties, while a Szechwan eatery has a Chinese courtyard setting. The convivial Waterfront Terrace and Bar, decorated with a gorgeous mural of crimson flowers on a deep blue background, has a lovely river view. The best thing about this place, though, is the staffa friendly bunch that will remember your favorite drink or arrange anything else you need.
Tel: 91 832 227 9061
More private villa than resort, Pousada Tauma is run by Neville Proenca, the delightful hands-on owner. Built of laterite and other local materials, the eco-friendly Pousada, designed to use minimal resources, features traditional tile-roofed stone buildings set around a pool with a swim-up bar and waterfall. The roomseach featuring a private terrace or garden, satellite TV, and direct-dial telephoneare simply decorated with cotton bedspreads, copper-pot lamps, and colonial-style furniture. The playful, Gaudí-esque bathrooms are covered in shattered, brightly colored tiles. There's also a small Ayurvedic spa run by professional Keralan therapists, and the Copper Bowl restaurant serves good European food and superlative Goan specialties.
Road Opposite Bank of India
Nerul , Goa
Tel: 91 832 671 4141
Tel: 91 95 521 32132
Thanks to clever architectural angling, this 20-room newcomer is just off Goa's main drag, yet free of honky-tonk mass tourism. Its guestsmostly stylish young Indian couplesinstead enjoy the tranquil views over rice paddies and the Sinquerim River to Candolim church. The hotel's architecture celebrates Goa's colonial heritage: Three-story whitewashed wings punctuated with dark-wood windows and shutters frame a leafy central courtyard. Interiors by Indian fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani continue the colonial theme, but update it. Each room's antique four-poster bed is draped with mosquito netting (although the rooms have AC and come with electric mosquito coils), historic photogravures and mezzotints of Portuguese-era trading ports line the walls, and silk cutwork and silver-threaded fabric on cushions lend an air of elegance. (The marble bathrooms, on the other hand, lack tubs and could be a bit brighter.) There's an intimate dining room, but most guests prefer to eat on the terrace outside the bar-lounge, where lanterns create a seductive atmosphere in the evening, and the menu includes Goan, North Indian, and Thai dishesthe local ones are the most authentic. Service is eager but not always speedy, a failing that's apropros given the relaxed setting. The hotel's most conspicuous drawback is the tiny (and shade-covered) courtyard pool, though there are tentative plans to open a larger one with direct sun exposure.
Tel: 91 83 2668 3333
Set on the southwest coast of Goa, this outpost of the Taj chain rests on 56 acres of exquisitely landscaped lawns, complete with tropical plants and graceful palms. There are 140 centrally air-conditioned rooms, including two presidential villas with private plunge pools. All rooms are spacious, luxuriously appointed, and feature a private veranda or balcony that looks out on the Arabian Sea. The Exotica has three highly rated restaurants: Miguel Arcanjo, a Mediterranean restaurant serving Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Provençal fare; Allegria, a Goan establishment; and Li Bai, a Chinese restaurant.
Tel: 91 832 564 5858
A 45-minute drive from the airport, the Taj Holiday Village offers 140 rooms in terracotta-roofed Portuguese-style cottages set amid palm-fringed landscaped gardens. The interiors have rustic, vaguely tropical decor, and it's worth springing for one of the Garden View Deluxe Cottages, which have balconies and private lawns as well as DVD players. Better yet, Sea View Cottages have hammocks and outdoor seating as well. The plethora of restaurants includes Caravela, a mecca of delectable fresh seafood, and the Banyan Tree, which serves Thai cuisine.