Portuguese navigator Alfonso de Albuquerque captured the Indian territory of Goa in 1510, turning it into an important centre for East-West trade. He took a number of measures to safeguard it. In the Portuguese tradition, he encouraged Portuguese men to marry local women in order to create a population that would be loyal to Portugal. They were given homes, jobs in the administration, and land that could be cultivated. Their children were recruited into the Portuguese military to protect the territory. Churches and a hospital were built, and a municipal council was established. Goa remained under Portuguese rule for four and one-half centuries. It was liberated by the Indian army in 1961.
Blessed with beautiful beaches, magnificent scenery, a sunny climate, friendly people, yummy food, and a rich architectural heritage, Goa has long been a favoured destination with tourists. Major chains – such as Hyatt, Marriott, Intercontinental, and Ramada – have arrived in recent years, offering five-star accommodation. A handful of villas and heritage buildings have been converted into into boutique hotels. In addition to numerous three and four star hotels are a number of budget hotels catering to backpackers, who have long been a part of the Goan landscape. More recently, spa resorts have been popping up along Goa's golden sands.
Located on Majorda Beach in South Goa, Alila Diwa Goa is among the most recent arrivals, having thrown open its doors earlier this month. Affording panoramic views of vast paddy fields, the resort has an infinity pool that extends into the rice paddies. Rooms and suites have private terraces. Facilities include a family entertainment zone with a theatre and children's activity centre. There is also an events centre equipped with a ballroom, meeting rooms, and a large outdoor lawn that can accommodate up to 300 people. Spa Alilia offers a full menu of treatments. The resort is located 20 minutes from Goa Dabolim International Airport.
Goa's Top Spa Resorts
Located on Divar Island, the Devaaya Ayurveda Spa Resort Hotel Goa has 80 cottages set amid lush, tropical grounds along the Mandovi River. The spa offers a full range of Ayurvedic and wellness treatments. There are two restaurants serving healthy cuisine, with both international and Indian delicacies.
InterContinental The Lalit Goa Resort at Canacona is set amid 85 acres of landscaped grounds. It has Goa's only nine-hole golf course. With an exclusive beach front extending more than one kilometre, it has six F&B outlets and a spa offering Ayurvedic, Thai, and Western treatments.
With a full range of holistic therapies and treatments, the Sereno Spa at the Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa is considered one of the best in Goa. Situated on Arrossim Beach, it is set amid 45 acres of manicured grounds. There are seven F&B outlets, running from Goan to barbecue, Indian, and Italian.
The Hotel Taj Exotica at Benaulim is spread over 56 acres. Overlooking the Arabian Sea, its &B outlets serve everything from Goan and Indian cuisine to Chinese, Moroccan, Mediterranean, and seafood delicacies. The spa offers rejuvenation therapies, aromatherapy massages, wraps, and body scrubs.
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Copyright: Michael Taylor
Pictured: Majorda Beach, Goa, India
Photo Credit: Alila Diwa