Casa dos Colaços: The South Goa city of Margao features by far the most impressive collection of grand Goan homes in the state. This is the stronghold of the Luso-Indian landed gentry, who built ostentatious private palaces to match. This one has been turned into an excellent boutique bed and breakfast, a perfect launching pad to explore the southern part of the state. Doubles from Rs 5,000.

Rockheart: Not so long ago, a beach holiday in Goa often meant staying in a little house tucked away in a coconut grove, behind the sand dunes. No thump-thump of incessant parties. Some of that original essence lingers behind the tall boundary walls of this very private, very lovely 2/3 bedroom luxury villa experience created by the legendary, late adman Frank Simoes and his wife Gita. From about Rs 30,000 a night for 3 bedrooms.


Olaulim Backyards: A true retreat, though only a short drive from the mayhem of the tourist strips of North Goa, where three custom-built cottages nestle under and in between coconut palms, by the side of broad paddy fields and a backwater lake. Doubles from Rs 5,200; +91-9823390233;

Wildflower Villas: Spread over eight acres of hillside in North Goa, Amol Navelkar has customised a miniature village of seven independent villas built in the Goan style. Overlooking verdant gardens, the river and fields below, this is one of the best places to stay in North Goa. Villas from Rs 7,000 a night; +91-9822459584;

Summertime: Impossible to find unless given exact directions, this luxury rental is only minutes away from the main drags of Calangute and Candolim. A Balinese-style bungalow nestled in two acres of landscaped gardens, with a large infinity pool in front, it has three bedrooms and must be rented in its entirety. From Rs 36,000 a night;

Nature’s Nest: Very few tourists ever venture to Goa’s section of the Western Ghats and their foothills, home to an amazing range of biodiversity and wildlife, besides the Kadamba-era Tambdi Surla temple and the superb Dudhsagar waterfall. All these are best accessed in the company of the expert, friendly team at Nature’s Nest. Two-night packages from Rs 6,000 per head (including all meals); +91-832-2227888, +91-8407954664;


Wildernest: Right at the spot where Goa meets Maharashtra and Karnataka, this stunningly located eco-resort strikes the perfect balance between hidden getaway and enticing natural wonders that make you want to get out your hiking boots. Perched high on Chorla Ghat, with amazing views in all directions, and a resident team of naturalists to ensure everyone learns a great deal about the surroundings. Cottages from Rs 7,000 per couple (including meals); +91-93411112721;

Blue Lagoon: Every beach in Goa has been colonised by shacks. All except one, and it takes a bit of a hike to get to. But do make it to Cola, just off the road to Agonda and Palolem, where the surf crashes onto white sands, and a freshwater rivulet flows fast and cool right in front of this pleasant, perfectly adequate hotel’s wooden cottages. Doubles from Rs 5,000;

Panjim Inn: An inn-turned wonderful heritage complex. From one converted old house, the Panjim Inn’s portfolio has expanded to include another (with a courtyard), an old school (which now features an excellent art gallery) and a brand new building (in the old style). All together, it is the hub of the rebirth of a truly lovely and significant neighbourhood. Doubles from Rs 4,000; +91-832-2226523;

Hospedaria Abrigo de Botelho: There are several interesting inns, hotels and B&Bs in converted Indo-Portuguese houses dotted around Fontainhas. This particularly charming boutique property is set slightly apart, at the end of a quiet residential lane, where the ambience of the Latin Quarter still flickers alive, and the high ceilings and patterned floor tiles recall the lifestyle of 150 years past. Doubles from Rs 3,000; +91-9527778884;

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