Best Boutique Hotels in Goa: Unique and Exclusive Hidden Gems

I present to you the best of boutique hotels in Goa. The list below incorporates not just boutique hotels but true hidden gems which are unique and exclusive ensuring that you get your privacy, and stay away from the crowded resorts booked to capacity these days due to pent-up demand.

The selection below incorporates Hotels which are boutique in true sense in their concept offering no more than 10 rooms. This means you have a choice of either booking an individual room or the whole property for your exclusive use just for your family and/or your own group of friends.

Infact the main idea behind collating below selection of fine hotels in Goa is to offer you choice of renting out the full property for your exclusive use.

Another advantage you get while staying at one of below Hotels is dedicated full service staff, and facilities like meals, housekeeping, concierge (and in few cases even Spa and Gym) you would expect from a Hotel rather than in an independent home-stay or vacation rental.

In below recommendations, who will also find options, which will not only keep you away from the crowds, but presents an opportunity to experience stay in an eco-resort, offering bare-foot luxury, bringing you close to nature and its environs. In such cases the focus is not on modern-day creature comforts, but emphasis on experiential and transformational travel, helping you connect with the destination at a deeper level.

The Postcard Cuelim

This stylish 6-room boutique hotel, converted from a 350 year-old family home, is a masterful blend of historic character and contemporary comforts. A pool, walled gardens, freshly prepared meals and genial staff create a truly relaxing rural getaway – and the beach is close by.

The house has many original features including two chapels, patterned tiles and mature gardens with a castellated gate and enchanting views across the rice fields. There is a small wood-floored ballroom with charming hand-painted murals and a piano, plus a room with a pool table and television.

There is an inviting raised pool, a badminton court and a free shuttle to the beach – a trip to Velsao for sundowners is popular. Private guided excursions, such as a heritage walk and drive around the local area, are excellent.

There are two ground-floor luxury rooms that have a patio while the upper level includes three suites all with a private outdoor area. All rooms have king-size beds and a pared-back look featuring white bed linen, beige drapes, burgundy throws and dark wood furniture.

There is no television or minibar and bathrooms are shower-only. Amenities include a safe, floral robes, complimentary flip-flops and eco-friendly toiletries.

Located in South Goa near Cansaulim. Transfers from Goa International Airport take 25 minutes while the World Heritage-listed churches of Old Goa lie 45 minutes north. Complimentary bikes are available and the beach is a delightful 15-minute ride away down leafy lanes bordered with colourful Goan houses.

Amrapali – House of Grace

It is an independent minded boutique hotel with a high level of personalised service. Exquisite design elements, modern interiors, antique pottery and contemporary art add a glow to this century-old, Portuguese-style house that sits right on the river Zuari.

5 gorgeous bedrooms look out to the pool, garden or riverside; this is a getaway for relaxation & experiencing life in a state of Grace.

Amrapali has been described as a “Hidden Gem” where one can relax, rejuvenate and explore the “other side Goa”, rich with history & culture. It’s difficult to describe the care with which the House of Grace has been restored. Beautiful, tasteful interiors with quaint corners to enjoy & architecture that perfectly complements a Goan “sussegado” lifestyle.

Amrapali is the perfect private haven, ideal for couples to cosy up in and groups who want the entire home to themselves. The full house can be booked out for upto 10 adults and 3 kids.

They are 5 minutes from Bambolim beach in North Goa & 15 minutes away from Panjim.

Amrapali has an excellent in house cook who delights you with delectable snacks and
meals on order.

It’s on-location Café Amrapali, offers a wonderful selection of light meals, tea, coffee, cakes and treats curated by our Le Cordon Bleu chef. The Café, like the House of Grace is exquisitely designed & provides a comfortable environment for those wishing to relax by the river or lounge in the beautiful interior.

Isha Villas, Siolim

Ishavilas is one of Neemrana’s ‘Noble Homes’ located in the sleepy town of Siolim in North Goa, nestled amongst nature’s tropical bounty of leaf and fruit, abundant trees and a blooming garden.

This beautiful Portuguese-colonial house, with its grand entrance and long driveway, is a true tropical haven of tranquility. Conveniently placed on the edge of Siolim, Ishavilas receives and pampers like a home, but also evokes an exotic and luxurious lifestyle, unique only to the Orient.

Ishavilas houses 7 bedrooms and two private pools, a yogashala and a steam & spa room.

The rooms feature variety of antique paintings and wall hangings, vintage furniture, grand chandeliers and lightings, and sunburst mirrors, that make this place look royal and grand.

The food served here showcases fine culinary skills of the in-house chefs at this plush property. The dining area’s lavish seating arrangement enhances your experience.

Simply put, if you are interested in adding a touch of royalty and opulence to your otherwise fun-filled Goa tour, this place is just what you were looking for.

Ahilya by the Sea

Ahilya by the Sea is a charming and intimate Portuguese sea-front property and is nestled in the calm and quiet village of Nerul in North Goa.

The property’s 10 tastefully decorated and welcoming rooms are spread across 3 independent villas and enjoy two beautiful swimming pools. It can accommodate a maximum of 25 guests with a provision of an extra beds in five of it’s rooms.

Each room is named after a painting by Antonio Xavier Trindade who was considered ‘the Rembrant of the East’ and who was the grandfather of the present owner. The interiors are home to a fascinating collection of personal antiques and Goan art.

There are low floor rooms with easier access. All rooms are non-smoking, air-conditioned, have overhead fans, hair dryers, bathrobes, a safe and internet access. The rooms do not have TV / DVD players. There are showers, but no bath tubs.

Dining Table d’hôte and à la carte menus are available, serving Indian, Continental and Goan Food. Meals are taken in different places according to the weather, the time and the amount of people but suffice it to say that whether you eat inside in the airy dining area or al fresco in a carefully chosen spot, dining here will always be a treat and an event to savour!

It is only minutes away from bustling Calangute, Candolim and Baga beaches. Approximately 1 mile to the West is the recently restored historic Reis-Magos fort which is the oldest fort in Goa.

Siolim House

Casa Palacio Siolim House is a 350 year old Heritage Hotel in North Goa, built in 1675. It is a Palacio that dates from the earliest times of the Portuguese occupation of Goa, beautifully restored as a home which, now doubles as a private 9-room heritage boutique hotel in Goa. (alternatively you could also opt for Little Siolim, a 3-bedroom villa annexe just a short walk through the village).

It offers an outdoor pool and spacious rooms with free Wi-Fi. Fitted with either wooden or patterned tile flooring, each spacious room features its own unique décor. Set around the courtyard, they come with four-poster beds and antique furniture. Terracotta or marble bathrooms come with shower facilities.

The Hotel centers around an inner courtyard; on one side is an open-plan dining area with chairs and tables; on the other is the kitchen. You can dine undercover (with ceiling fans whirring overhead) or out in the garden, where candles are set on the tables during the evening.

Siolim House is within a 20-minute drive of Vagator and Morjim beaches. Dabolim Airport is 52 km away.

Cabo Serai:

Cabo Serai is a delightful new retreat sitting on a secluded hill above Cabo de Rama Beach. Perched above dramatic cliffs that fall down to one of the most beautiful, crystal clear, small bays in South Goa, the hotel is just a short walk to it, downhill. Surrounded by tropical palm jungle in a large patch of land, the views out to sea are utterly stunning and it’s a wonderfully quiet, untouched area of Goa with some of the best beaches around.

10 stilted, wooden cottages and tents scramble up the hillside and each is generously roomy with superb sea views. Rustically comfortable, each has a spacious deck, wooden furnishings, excellent large bathrooms and they open up to allow the sounds of the sea and the breeze to waft in.

The rooms are fairly close to each other but private due to dense foliage separating them each off. The tents are superb, fully secure, bug proof and air-conditioned. Pretty pathways lead from one to the other and there’s nowhere better to daydream than on your wooden verandah, cantilevered out from the hill. They are excellently equipped with everything you could want for a perfect, relaxing beach holiday.

Dining here is a treat, in the intimate, relaxed, open sided restaurant or on the outer dining terrace, al fresco, under a star studded sky.

Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel:

It was once an armed fortress that the Portuguese used. Now it is Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel that offers mesmerising views of the Arabian Sea, on the estuary of River Tiracol. Perched on a hill, this is the northern-most tip of Goa. Right in its courtyard is a church that dates back to the 17th century.

The 7 newly renovated rooms and suites are tastefully designed with unique Portuguese and contemporary interiors and named after the seven days of the week! 2 Suites: Friday and Sunday and 5 Deluxe Double Rooms: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

With its limited number of rooms, the hotel offers an intimacy that befits its size. The interiors are both Portuguese contemporary light with all modern amenities yet in keeping with the monumental structure.

They have Tavern Restaurant Lounge Bar and Garden Cafe where you can relish meals according to your liking.

The Tiracol Fort Heritage Hotel is an hour and forty minutes drive from Goa’s Dabolim International Airport. The road all along is good, interesting and picturesque. You drive through many Goan villages, along the beaches of Morjim, Ashvem and Arambol and reach the jetty at Kerim beach. A ferry takes you and the car across the river. Then it’s less than a five minute drive to reach your final destination.

The Project Cafe:

The Project Cafe, Goa is a perfect villa for your stay in Assagao, North Goa. Established in a vintage 13,000-sq-ft Portuguese villa built over a century ago, The Project Café Goa is a unique experiential design hotel with 6 elegant rooms.

Each room has been designed by a different kind of designer (furniture designer Neeta Kumar, architect Hiren Patel, fashion designer Anuj Sharma and interior designer Pulin Shah and NID alumnus Ruchika Rawat ) who have brought their own inspiration to this slice of Goa. A pool, a kitchen garden and a vertical herb garden add to the freshness of the space.

It merges together various aspects of the fields of food, design, retail and experiences, around the core intent of creating a getaway which is a seamless confluence of differences.

Nilaya Hermitage:

Nilaya Hermitage, Goa’s quiet boutique hotel nestles amidst nature in Arpora-Bardez inspired by Arabian nights and Moorish architecture. Surrounded by luscious foliage, wildlife and a breath taking view of the Arabian Sea.

Nilaya has been and, is a destination for the elite and discreet traveller.
Gently curving walls hand cut from natural laterite stones and organically shaped free form structures, natural pathways that curve through thick foliage, embraces the 33 meter swimming pool that rises like a blue lagoon on the cliff edge.

Nilaya has 11 guest rooms and 2 beautifully designed tents, each of these uniquely designed and named after elements of nature . All rooms have Terrazzo flooring which is a subtle mixture of marble powder, natural pigments and marble chips.

The king -size beds measure 8×7 feet and the size of the room is an average of minimum 600 square ft.( some suites are much bigger).The decorative elements as well as the furniture are all individually handpicked by the owners and are mostly of Indian origin (lots of unique antique pieces).

Bathrooms are large but do not have tubs, with shower only. Most have a natural opening giving you a sense of Nature. All rooms are individually air-conditioned with super silent split units that can be remote controlled individually.

Nilaya is a 5-minute drive into the hills above Arpora in North Goa – an inland village, 6km from Baga beach – and some 45km from the international airport at Dabolim.

Bara Bungalow:

Bara Bungalow, South Goa, reminiscents of the by-gone era with its personalized and lifestyle elements that are present all through the bungalow.

This elegant villa is conveniently located in South Goa, which is the more serene half of the state, where beaches are more private, cleaner, and less crowded. This historic villa is in proximity to popular beaches such as Cavelossim and Mobor, making it the perfect retreat for a quiet or a fun-filled holiday.

The villa has a unique amalgam of Portuguese and Indian architecture reflecting the style, heritage, and antiquity. It lets you experience, the rich culture & heritage, the gorgeous beaches, and enjoy a range of fun-filled activities like scuba diving and water-skiing.

Bara Bungalow, South Goa, offers 7 rooms in two categories – the Heritage Room and Villa, each of which is decorated with plush furniture. The chic interiors of the rooms capture the essence of European and Indian decor. They are equipped with modern facilities such as complimentary Wi-Fi, a tea & coffee maker, 24-hour room service, and much more. The rooms also have an en-suite bathroom with premium toiletries and hygiene supplies.

It is set amidst a private orchard with open spaces. A pristine swimming pool with a covered pool deck awaits your presence.

Goa International Airport is 38 kilometers (1hr drive) from Bara Bungalow. The closest beach is Cavelossim which is 5.3 kilometers from our hotel.

Mateus Goa:

Mateus is a restored 1879 old Portuguese mansion offering 9 rooms in the area of Fontainhas, Panjim. It’s along a quiet one-way street, with plenty of stylish bars and riverside cafés nearby.

Fontainhas is a conservation zone with heritage listed homes and winding alleyways. The central location puts you in walking distance to transport, the waterfront and Casinos. Jonathan Fernandes, New York-based Architect along with Isla Van Damme (Loulou) Belgium born interior designer have transformed this dilapidated mansion into a high-end boutique hotel.

The original old world elegance has been retained and mixed with a splash of new and modern amenities to create a luxurious home away from home. Every room is air conditioned and features a flat-screen TV. Rooms are equipped with a private bathroom equipped with a shower.

Apart from the 9 rooms, Mateus has a common sitting-area-cum-library on the upper level, and a common dining space on the lower one. A small courtyard with a plunge pool that can probably fit four adults is also part of the property.

Quaint and cosy with modern amenities like WiFi, a minibar and air-conditioning makes Mateus a great stay in Fontainhas. A walk around the streets and you are sure to spot other colourful structures and cafes around.

The nearest airport is Goa International Airport, 30 km from the Hotel.

Turiya Villa:

Turiya Villa is a luxurious, heritage villa offering 8 rooms in South Goa (3 km from Palolem beach) spread out on quarter of an acre of landscaped lawns dotted with many trees including Sapodilla (Chikoo), Coconut, Mango, Avocado, Frangipani and Bougainville.

The 100-year-old Portuguese-heritage Casa has been resurrected as a heritage property. It has distinctive Portuguese style architecture (influence of neo-Classic and neo-Gothic styles) with its sloping Mangalore tiled roof (a necessity for the long and fierce monsoon season) and large, ornamental balacoes (covered porches) and verandas facing the street.

The large verandas and porches (called balacoes) have in-built seating, open to street, originally meant to be a place where men and women could sit together and “see and be seen”, chat with their neighbors, or just enjoy the evening breeze. The balacoes are bordered by ornamental columns that continue along the steps and add stature to the house.

There are many common areas such as patio, dining areas, piano room etc. The new wing has four rooms all with attached bathrooms. The original villa has four unique rooms, two with attached baths and two with separate bathrooms. Each room has been named after a constellation of stars, known as “nakshatras” in ancient Hindu culture.

Distance from Dabolim airport: 60km

The Cape Goa:

The Cape Goa is located above a secluded beach cove near the village of Cabo de Rama in South Goa. It offers 9 large cottages nestled into the rock, each with Jacuzzi and uninterrupted views over the Arabian Sea.

Its cottages are Balinese in style, with thatched roofs and cavernous beamed ceilings are quietly luxurious. The furniture mostly consists of antique-style pieces in polished teak, but colour-pop walls, tiled floors and sliding glass doors prevent the interiors from feeling too dark. Beds are enormous, and you also get a sofa and daybed to lounge on; there’s even a TV with Netflix. Bathrooms are huge, with swathes of exposed rock, pebble inlays, trailing plants, floor-to-ceiling windows, rain showers, and sections open to the sky.

No pool, though the ocean is only steps away. It offers a restaurant that sits on the cliff side overlooking the ocean. It’s a truly amazing location with food to match. The menu has a wide choice of both national and international flavours, plus a great choice of locally caught seafood.

It’s 30 minutes from Agonda, an hour and a half from the airport, and miles from the crowds.

How to book:

You can book with Delhi based Travel Design Company – Experiential Travel Journeys Pvt. Ltd. who can plan, execute and book your stay at any of above listed Hotels.

– Amit Kalsi, Private Travel Designer

Published by experientialtraveljourneys

A Private Travel Designer specialising in private, luxury, experiential, transformational, off-beat, off-the-grid, bespoke, tailor-made, bespoke, authentic, sustainable journeys to destinations worldwide.

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