The Best Luxury Hotels and Resorts to Book in Goa

Just steps from Bambolim Beach, the Grand Hyatt Goa is the perfect place for a relaxing getaway
Just steps from Bambolim Beach, the Grand Hyatt Goa is the perfect place for a relaxing getaway | Courtesy of Grand Hyatt Goa / Booking.com
Joe Bindloss

Sun-kissed Goa has come a long way since its former days as a Portuguese colony. Today, the state is celebrated for its elevated fine dining and ritzy places to stay, as well as for its fine sandy beaches and richly layered history. The best resorts in Goa pay homage to this fascinating past, inviting visitors to dive into the state’s hybrid culture, creativity and cuisine, as well as its brilliant blue waters.

1. Kenilworth Resort & Spa, for a tropical mood

Hotel, Luxury

Luxe bedroom with large double-bed, wood-panelled walls, hardwood floors and a bathroom with a glass wall at Kenilworth Resort and Spa
Courtesy of Kenilworth Resort and Spa / Booking.com

There’s a definite nod to Goa’s Portuguese legacy at the Kenilworth (as there is in all the best Goa resorts). Set in attractive green grounds at Utorda, the resort is a tropical sprawl of deep blue swimming pools and tiled pavilions, and tile-floored bedrooms are decked out with tasteful light-wood and rattan furniture that evokes a suitably tropical mood. You can dine indoors or out, or even out on the beach, at tables with starched white tablecloths.

2. The Leela Goa, for mansion-like quarters

Hotel, Villa

Classy bedroom at The Leela Goa featuring a double bed with white and yellow linens, a TV, a beige armchair, a separate living area with sofa and a private balcony with a table and two chairs overlooking palm trees
Courtesy of The Leela Goa / Expedia
The Leela group sprinkles a little bit of magic wherever it goes, and their Goa property – near the mouth of the Sal River at Cavelossim – is no exception. Set in 75 acres (30ha) of tended grounds, the hotel feels like a Portuguese mansion, an effect exaggerated by the genteel, wood-floored bedrooms, decked out with stylish wooden furniture and vintage Indian curiosities. There’s room to fit a polo team in the living spaces, which look out over shimmering lagoons and pools.

3. Goa Marriott Resort & Spa, for a beach getaway

Spa Hotel, Hotel, Luxury

Aerial view of outdoor dining tables set up by the water in the evening at Goa Marriott Resort and Spa
Courtesy of Goa Marriott Resort and Spa / Booking.com

Miramar Beach is a long and lovely strip of sand, and some of Goa’s best resorts are lined up along its shores (there’s also great bistro eating nearby in Panaji). The expansive Goa Marriott faces out onto the sand from a strip of palm trees, and rooms have soothing views of the bay, gardens or pool. They’re sleekly decorated, with conch shell artworks and modern art themes that spill from the walls to the rugs on the floor.

4. The Crown Goa, for an excellent location

Hotel

View of outdoor pool, pool lounge chairs and the exterior of The Crown Goa
Courtesy of The Crown Goa / Booking.com

A fine location close to museums, monuments and more in the terracotta-tiled heart of Panaji is just one of the features that elevates the Crown Goa above the average Goa resort. There’s dining on a candlelit terrace overlooking the Mandovi River, a tasteful spa and pool and big bedrooms that riff on old Goan themes in a playful, modern way. The upper room classes have riverbank views and ornate bedsteads, juxtaposed against modernist lamps and colourful tiled floors.

5. Caravela Beach Resort, for understated luxe

Resort

Comfortable interior of a bedroom at Caravela Beach Resort featuring wood-paneled walls, a double bed, a sofa, a TV, a writing desk, a mini fridge and a private balcony
Courtesy of Caravela Beach Resort / Booking.com

It’s all about location at the Caravela Beach Resort, set apart from the pack on a fine stretch of dune-backed beach. A pool flanked by tiled pavilions comes as standard; the stylish rooms are less predictable, decorated in luxe fabrics that conjure up a sense of grandeur without being overly ostentatious. The style varies widely from room to room, so check out several before choosing. There’s beach-shack dining by the sand, and villa-style dining inside, plus the inevitable submerged pool bar.

6. Grand Hyatt Goa, for bags of character

Hotel, Luxury

View from double bed of writing desk and armchair in room as well as a private furnished balcony at Grand Hyatt Goa
Courtesy of Grand Hyatt Goa / Booking.com
Swaying trees divide the Grand Hyatt Goa from Bambolim Beach, which reclines temptingly out front, inviting you to dive into the warm Arabian Sea. Linked pools are wrapped around temple-like pavilions and colonial-style villas, and the main building is a fine facsimile of a lavish Goan mansion, with whitewashed stucco walls and airy terraces. Rooms juxtapose sleek modern features against dark timbers, wooden shutters and whirling ceiling fans that conjure up the Goa of old.

7. Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Goa, for tranquillity and privacy

Resort, Hotel

The pool at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Goa
Courtesy of Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Goa
The Taj Exotica makes the best of its lavish sweep of grounds on the foreshore between Benaulim and Varca. With few close neighbours, there’s an overriding air of privacy, and little to distract you from the sand, lawns and palms. The expansive bedrooms have elegant Indian motifs that are mirrored on fabrics, rugs, wall art and furniture, and luxe touches include the swish Jiva spa, yoga classes on the terrace, a palm-fringed pool and great amenities for families.

8. Club Mahindra Varca Beach, for family-friendly fun

Hotel

View of perfectly cut grass and exterior of Club Mahindra Varca Beach
Courtesy of Club Mahindra Varca Beach / Booking.com

Some of Goa’s best resorts share the endless sands at Varca Beach, but Club Mahindra stands out from the crowd thanks to its friendly, personal service. A stay here is all about candlelit dinners on the beach, cooking lessons for kids, art workshops, scuba classes, fun in the games room and other activities that bring families together. Decorated in a smart, international style, rooms, suites and villas are strung out beside multiple pools in lush, green grounds running back from the sand.

9. Royal Orchid Beach Resort & Spa, for modern amenities

Resort

Interior lobby/lounge area at Royal Orchid Beach Resort and Spa featuring comfortable sofas, flower arrangements and a view of the pool outside
Courtesy of Royal Orchid Beach Resort and Spa / Booking.com

The Royal Orchid has a restrained, understated style, and a peaceful, easy air that encourages repeat stays. Tidy, tiled rooms with modern amenities, mismatched fabrics, and line-drawing murals of Goa scenes have terraces and balconies set around a splash-shaped pool. Utorda Beach lies at the end of a long, green lawn dotted with palms.

10. Vivanta Goa, Panaji, for sleek modernity

Resort

Modern bedroom with one large bed, two TVs writing desk and a separate lounge area at Vivanta Goa, Panaj
Courtesy of Vivanta Goa, Panaji / Booking.com

While many Goa resorts take advantage of the sands, Vivanta Goa puts you right in the action in Panaji, Goa’s atmospheric, historic capital. A modernist block, just back from the shore, the hotel offers a taste of sleek modernity within easy reach of Panaji’s colonial quarter. This is complemented by ultra-modern rooms in understated colours and a full suite of luxe hotel facilities – a rooftop pool, a swish spa, pan-Asian dining and more.

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