Most of the 5-star hotels and resorts in Goa are located in the south, which is great if you want to get away from it all. However, if you plan on doing some sightseeing, do choose your location wisely: otherwise, you might feel too isolated. Also, keep in mind that generous discounts are offered during the summer and monsoon season (May to September).
The Mediterranean-themed Taj Exotica has an appealing laid-back south Goa location, on 56 acres of lush landscaped land bordering unspoiled Benaulim Beach. Guests rave about the exemplary personalized service. The resort has 140 rooms, suites and villas, plus an admirable range of facilities. These include 9-hole golf course, Jiva spa, swimming pool, five restaurants, lounge bar and evening entertainment. If you really want to indulge, book into the Sunset Villa with its own private plunge pool. Otherwise, the standard Garden villas at the far end of the property offer a great deal more privacy than the more expensive Pool villas. Note that the Taj Exotica is currently being renovated. Some of the villa rooms, as well as the Li Bai and Alegria restaurants, will be closed from April 17 to October 15, 2017.
- Rates: From around 9,500 rupees per night for a double, plus tax, during the monsoon season. Expect to pay around 14,000 per night upwards plus tax in December.
The Leela is located further south in Goa, on Mobor beach. The location is similarly secluded but it's a bigger and more modern property than the Taj Exotica. It's spread over 75 acres and has 206 rooms, suites, and villas. The Sal River also runs alongside it. The resort's style is stately and discerning. Facilities include four restaurants, bar and lounge, business center, kid's club, 12-hole par 3 golf course, water sports, Ayurvedic spa, and two swimming pools. The private beach is particularly picturesque, and there are lagoons all around the property which add to the ambiance. Many of the hotel’s rooms and suites are located on the lagoon edge, providing a standout view.
- Rates: Expect to pay upwards of 10,500 rupees per night, plus tax, for a double room. In December, rates rise to 22,000 rupees per night and above, plus tax.
The Park Hyatt is located on Arossim beach in south Goa, around 20 minutes from the airport. The property was the first Park Hyatt to open in India and it has received numerous awards over the years. It's been built in Indo-Portuguese style and is luxurious yet inviting. The aim was to create the relaxed atmosphere of a small Goan village, and the 250 guest rooms are housed in pousadas (villas with courtyards) spread over the 45 acres. Notably, the resort has one of the top luxury spas in India, making it a great place to pamper yourself and unwind. It's also an appealing hotel for families, with the Camp Hyatt program being a favorite for children. In addition, foodies will relish the fact that one of the few fine dining Goan cuisine restaurants in the south of the state is located there (and cooking classes are offered). Other attractions include an additional four restaurants, lounge bar, huge swimming pool with cocktail bar, a long clean beach with private cabanas, and activities such as water sports and yoga.
- Rates: It's possible to pick up a double room for 9,000 rupees per night, plus tax, during the monsoon season. Prices increase to 14,000 rupees a night upwards plus tax in December.
Alila Diwa is a relatively new resort in Goa. It opened to much acclaim in 2009 and is situated in south Goa, around 20 minutes from the airport. What sets it apart from other luxury hotels in the area is that it's not directly on the beach. Rather, it's surrounded by 12 acres of lush green paddy fields -- very refreshing and serene indeed. Gonsua beach in Majorda is only a 10-minute walk away. There's a free shuttle bus as well, and the hotel provides sun loungers on the beach. Goan architecture features in the property's contemporary yet traditional design, and its environmentally-friendly focus makes it one of the best eco-resorts in India. Guests are accommodated in 150 rooms, spread over two levels and two wings. The newer Diwa Wing is more spacious and luxurious. Facilities include four restaurants and bar, library, a health spa, two swimming pools, and open-air Jacuzzi.
- Rates: Monsoon season rates start from around 8,500 rupees per night for a double, plus tax. Expect to pay 13,500 rupees per night upwards plus tax in December.
The Goa Marriott opened in 1999 and was the first Marriott hotel in India. It's grown in popularity since its recent refurbishment. The hotel has a convenient central location by the water in Panjim, Goa's capital city, between north and south Goa. The airport is about 40 minutes drive away. The hotel is a substantial property with 180 rooms and suites, many with water views. Facilities include a private beach, 24-hour casino, waterfront terrace and bar, two restaurants, cafe, outdoor pool with swim-up bar, fitness center and spa.
- Rates: Expect to pay 9,000 rupees per night upwards, plus tax, during the monsoon season. In December, rates start from around 14,000 rupees per night, plus tax.
If you'd prefer to stay in north Goa where the action is, the new W Goa on Vagator beach will dazzle you! Owned by Marriott International, it opened to much acclaim in March 2017 and is the first W Hotel in India (it's also the fiftieth W Hotel worldwide). This luxury hotel chain is aimed at a glamorous, edgy, and fun loving younger crowd, so its not surprising that Goa was chosen as the location for the inaugural Indian property. Featured in India's Architectural Digest magazine, it was designed by Malaysian firm Design Wilkes and Singapore architects Eco-ID. The result is a contemporary fusion of minimalist white chic with rustic Goan elements, and some trippy features such as lighting. The lobby features artwork by Goan artist Subodh Kerkar. Come evening, the Living Room transforms into a lively party lounge with DJs spinning. Head to the adults-only Rock Pool bar for sundowners overlooking the ocean. The hotel has 160 rooms, suites and villas in six unconventional categories -- Wonderful, Fabulous, Spectacular, Marvelous, Fantastic and Wow. There are also two restaurants, a kid's play area, business center, fitness center, and a Clarins spa. The motto is "Detox Retox Repeat". And, in case you're wondering, "W" stands for "Whatever, Whenever"!
- Rates: From 11,000 rupees per night plus tax during the monsoon season. This increases to 18,000 rupees per night upwards, plus tax, in December. Breakfast is included.