The Best Beach Hotels to Book in India

You'll enjoy relaxing seaside views and spa services on request at Seashell Havelock
You'll enjoy relaxing seaside views and spa services on request at Seashell Havelock | Courtesy of Seashell Havelock
Photo of Ariel Sophia Bardi
25 August 2021

From Goa to Kerala, Puri to Havelock, India’s beaches are among the world’s most scenic and, at their best, unspoilt. If you know where to look, you’ll find pristine hotels to match – in some of the subcontinent’s most idyllic beach destinations – bookable with Culture Trip.

As the seventh-largest country in the world, India has a lot of coastline – and there’s as much variety in the subcontinent’s ocean vistas and beaches as in the rest of its diverse topography. Of course, there are the palm-fringed, white-sand beaches of Goa, where you share sunbathing space with wandering cows and the distant hum of trance and techno emanates from strings of beach bars. But there are also the wild, unspoilt bays of Kerala, the tropical shallows of the Andaman Islands (pack your snorkel) and the famously golden swathes of sand at Puri – to name just a few. Of all the best places to stay in India, here are some of the best beach hotels that will get you within earshot of the crashing waves of India’s most beautiful beaches.

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Goa

Resort, Hotel
The pool at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Goa
Courtesy of Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Goa
This sprawling, five-star resort has four restaurants, a half-mile, white-sand beachfront on Goa’s famed southwest coast, and a luxury spa – all within an easy 40-minute drive from the airport. Choose from deluxe rooms and suites, or private villas with flower-strung verandahs and private plunge pools. There’s also a nine-hole golf course, and optional excursions to local spice plantations or an antique-filled traditional Goan house.
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The Raviz Kovalam, Kerala

Resort, Spa Hotel
The pool looking out to the ocean in the evening at the Raviz Kovalam
Courtesy of The Raviz Kovalam
Once the summer retreat of the royal family of Travancore (an Indian royal family from c.1729 to 1949), this spectacular castle-turned-hotel overlooks the Arabian Sea from a lush, palm-covered hilltop setting in Trivandrum – the capital of Kerala. Dating from 1932, it still boasts loads of period-era touches, despite a slick contemporary renovation. Expect royal treatment, too, including private sun decks, gazebo dining with tailored restaurant menus and a dedicated staff of butlers. Rates include half-board and full-board options.
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MAYFAIR Heritage, Puri

Resort, Hotel
The bed, dark wood furnishings and balcony in a hotel room at MAYFAIR Heritage, Puri
Courtesy of MAYFAIR Heritage, Puri
On a lively stretch of public coastline, this luxury beachside hotel in Puri (a coastal city on the Bay of Bengal, in the east of India) is also a short distance from Jagannath Temple – an important Hindu site dedicated to the “lord of the universe”, Jagannath. Choose from comfortably appointed rooms, cottages and suites, surrounded by fig and almond trees that perfume the air with their fruit and blossom. There’s a rustic-themed Bengali restaurant and poolside bar, but forget about earplugs: the hotel is a stone’s throw from the shore, so you can fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves.
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Barefoot at Havelock

Resort, Hotel
A wooden cottage in the tropical forest surrounded by trees at Barefoot at Havelock
Courtesy of Barefoot at Havelock
Think thatched, locally inspired huts and cottages built on stilts at this eco-friendly resort in the Andaman islands – an archipelago of tropical forests, mangroves and palm-fringed white-sand shores in the Indian ocean. Each private accommodation has shaded wooden verandas and canopied beds, and the hotel is surrounded by jungle and close to the islands’ most iconic beaches. Optional add-on experiences include scuba diving, beach treks and tours of the hotel’s own livestock farms and vegetable gardens. Special packages are tailored to couples and adventure-seekers.
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Niraamaya Surya Samudra, Kerala

Boutique Hotel, Resort, Eco Hotel, Spa Hotel, Hotel
A four-poster bed with a view out to the ocean in a hotel room at Niraamaya Surya Samudra
Courtesy of Niraamaya Surya Samudra
This beachside hotel and Ayurvedic retreat centre is in laid-back Kovalam, a small coastal town just south of the Keralan capital. Sleep in palm-shaded, traditionally inspired Keralan cottages and bungalows overlooking the Arabian Sea, with excursions to a local fishing market, cruises on the picturesque Poovar estuary or day trips to nearby Trivandrum. Wellness packages include detox, stress management and even Covid-19 after-care programs, all with a focus on restoring the mind-body connection.
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  • Taj Fisherman's Cove Resort & Spa, Chennai

    Resort, Spa Hotel, Hotel
    Two beds and a seating area at a hotel room in Taj Fisherman's Cove Resort & Spa, Chennai
    Courtesy of Taj Fisherman's Cove Resort and Spa, Chennai
    Built into the ramparts of an 18th-century Dutch fort, this five-star resort is a short drive away from the Unesco-listed city of Mamallapuram – a serene Hindu temple complex south of bustling Chennai. Accommodation includes rooms, cottages and villas overlooking the sparkling Bay of Bengal, with the lushly manicured grounds standing out like an oasis of green against the beach. You’ll find the usual luxury comforts such as multiple multi-cuisine restaurants, including a seafood joint with palm-fringed outdoor gazebos, and an on-site spa.
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    Seashell Havelock

    The outdoor pool, surrounded by tall trees and the chalets of Seashell Havelock
    Courtesy of Seashell Havelock
    On Havelock Island, a diving mecca of coral reefs and deep-orange sunsets in the stunning Andaman and Nicobar island chain, this sprawling resort boasts sumptuously furnished, wood-panelled cabanas, chalets and bungalows. Expect relaxing seaside views and spa services on request. The location – reachable by private and public ferries from Port Blair – is the perfect base for the biodiversity-rich island’s famous scuba diving and snorkelling, with packages with combined stays at other Andaman locations on offer from the resort.
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    Jalakara, Havelock

    Map View
    The wooden deck and infinity pool, looking out over palm trees and forest, at Jalakara
    Courtesy of Jalakara, Havelock /

    Built on to a banana and betel nut plantation on Havelock Island, this petite Andaman resort features TV-less rooms and private villas that encourage full relaxation. Run by a husband-and-wife team, the hotel is managed with family-like, down-to-earth hospitality (there’s no butler service here) and offers on-demand yoga classes and excursions to unspoilt beaches – including a secret spot where you can upgrade to a beach camp of parasols, towels and a picnic. The hotel restaurant serves up Andaman seafood with a twist thanks to its British chef: sugar-cured tiger prawns, spiny lobster with nimbu (Indian lemon) hollandaise and papaya and coconut curry. Beaches and local markets are a 20-minute walk away, or the hotel can arrange scooter rentals or tuk-tuks.

    Carnoustie Ayurveda Beach Resort & Spa, Kerala

    A bed, desk and sitting area in a hotel room with a wooden beamed ceiling at Carnoustie Ayurveda Beach Resort & Spa
    Courtesy of Carnoustie Ayurveda Beach Resort and Spa
    Your one-stop shop for all things Ayurveda, this deluxe wellness spa features a team of medically certified Ayurvedic practitioners. Lounge in spacious, poolside villas or bunk in a Keralan houseboat in between treatments. Personalised programs combine yoga and naturopathy (natural healing treatments) alongside traditional oil-based massages and therapies that are tailored to tackle gut imbalances, detoxification, rejuvenation or even diabetes management. The resort is located between Cochin and Alleppey, making it a convenient stop on any Keralan itinerary.
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    The Zuri White Sands, Goa Resort & Casino

    Resort, Hotel
    The outdoor pool, palm trees and the light yellow buildings of the Zuri White Sands, Goa Resort & Casino
    Courtesy of The Zuri White Sands, Goa Resort and Casino
    Spread out over multiple swimming pools and palm-shaded lawns, this sprawling Goan resort overlooks Varca Beach. Similar to a classic all-inclusive, it boasts no less than six restaurants and bars, from Italian pasta at a swim-up bar to Goan classic dishes at the beachfront seafood restaurant, although drinks and dining are à la carte. Rooms and suites are furnished in an international style and have private balconies facing either the pool and gardens or the Arabian Sea.
    More info

    Florence Derrick contributed additional reporting to this article.

    Looking for somewhere a little different to stay? Why not treat yourself, and book into one of the best luxury hotels in India. If you have a special occasion in mind, the most beautiful wedding venues in India will provide some inspiration. For help with your itinerary, stop off at some of these unusual places to visit in India and avoid those tourist crowds; and don’t miss our breakdown of the best places to visit in the North. For a true taste of India, tempt yourself with the traditional Indian dishes that you need to try.

    These recommendations were updated on August 25, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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