A kaleidoscopic blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures, Goa exudes an idyllic natural beauty whatever reason or season you travel. With sun, sand and some stunning seafood, there is nothing quite like it. Leaving behind the draining city life after months of lockdown, we recently spent some time revelling in the languid luxury of Goa’s charm while living the high life at W Goa-the first W property in India. Having been someone who has tried a couple of W hotels, I was looking forward to this getaway.
As soon as I set foot on to the property, I caught sight of W—a grand gold, mosaic-inlaid reflective totem right at the entrance. Just ahead, a set of huge, unframed doors were adorned with the works of Goa-based artist Subodh Kerkar, representing the moon’s lunar phases—and a nod to Goa’s non-stop party culture. We were all set to check our room post a breezy check-in over drinks at the lobby-cum-bar where thick fishermen’s ropes hang from the ceiling above circular sofas in shades of saffron, mauve and turquoise. However it’s the cinematic sunsets that really stole the show.
The 160 rooms and suites at the property come in various categories, including Wonderful, Fabulous and Spectacular. All are spacious light-filled cocoons with cavernous bathrooms, breezy lounges and outdoor space (either a balcony or garden patio). The décor nods to the area’s rich and colourful history: white wood-panel walls, Portuguese ceramic tiled floors, bodhi leaf-shaped mirrors and coloured-glass chandeliers. It’s playful without feeling pretentious.
Our room which belonged to the Wonderful category (that are priced at Rs 18,000 per night) boasted of wow-inducing touches like glitzy wall décor, chandeliers that flip colours at dusk, beds too comfortable to get out of and large bathrooms complete with his-and-hers sinks—the true secret of a romantic holiday. Reflective metal doors (with purple door knobs to boot) to the wardrobes that don’t allow you to see yourself clearly but instead give you a foggy psychedelic vision of your silhouette, all made up for a very eclectic experience. We made use of the luxurious Bliss Spa bathroom amenities as we immersed ourselves in the deep bathtub savouring a much awaited pampering session. Moreover we stepped onto the private glass balcony and enjoyed the blissful sunshine after your beach adventures. Overlooking the Backyard, just below the shadows of the iconic Chapora Fort, the wonderful garden view offers a getaway experience to relax and detox. We sat back on our very own glass balcony and enjoyed the mist of serenity, the pure breezes and watch time move slowly by.
Here golf buggies shuttle guests between the main building, which houses the Clarins spa, gym, one of the swimming pools and most of the rooms and restaurants, to the rest of the facilities, including the gorgeous Rock Pool, a man-made lagoon cleaved out of the hillside with views across the Arabian Sea. From here, steps lead down to the silvery sands of Vagator Beach. The Rock Pool has become a hotspot that has fast become a place to see and be seen – where locals and guests sip on cocktails to the beats of the house DJ while the sun sets slowly over the Arabian sea. Note: The rock pool and the spa weren’t operational due to Covid during our visit but the restaurant was.
We sipped on the finest of wines at a fun wine tasting organized by the property wherein we were let in on various nuances of different wines, their history, what they are best paired with and more. This is followed by a dining experience at the property’s Spice Traders restaurant, which serves pan-Asian cuisine – bamboo charcoal prawns, goat’s cheese takoyaki, twice cooked rack of lamb – true culinary magic by the water’s edge.
After a hearty breakfast of fluffy omelette, scrumptious pancakes and more, next morning we were all set to explore the stunning amphitheatre-style beach club carved into the hill, with Chapora Fort towering above and a crescent sea lapping below.
Add to this the W’s roster of music jockeys from Istanbul, Mexico and elsewhere, and you’ve nixed every reason to take expensive cabs to dodgy clubs along the Baga-Calangute-Anjuna strip.
While many may be wary of staying at a hotel at this time, W Goa ensures utmost safety for each new guest. Mandatory face masks for all W associates, hourly sanitization of door handles & elevator panels, no contact hand sanitizers, social distancing guidelines across the hotel are just a few of the measures taken.
What’s more is that the property comes with an on-site kids’ club with a host of fun activities. This makes the place suitable for families travelling with children, besides couples as well as business travellers.
After a traditional Goan thali lunch comprising the best Calamari, tangy fish curry and piquant vindaloo, served with local brown rice and a side of buttery poi, we adieu to the gorgeous property. Our stay here might have been short but we definitely enjoyed the eclectic and attentive service by the attentive staff, the incredible food, the gorgeous design elements and overall the beauty of a property that the W is. With its boho aesthetic, perma-soundtrack and fashionable guests, this one definitely brings some chic Ibizan vibes to northern Goa.
Note: The critic was hosted by W Goa but all the opinions expressed herewith are her own.
Room rates are from Rs 18,000-Rs 25,000
Where: W Goa, Vagator Beach, Bardez Goa, Goa 403509 India