While wild, all-night beach parties are part of Goa’s DNA, the stretch of sand that the new W Goa calls home is laid-back and, now, quite luxurious. Surrounded by coconut palms on Vagator Beach, the 160-room property merges traditional India with Goa’s hippy past in design: towering white walls nod to the country’s intricately carved jali screens, lightshades resemble fishing nets, and throw pillows and rugs come in a rainbow of colors. Perhaps the biggest allure is the hotel’s location, in the shadow of the 500-year-old Chapora Fort, perched on black cliffs and a crumbling reminder of the state’s Portuguese past. There are plenty of waterside hangouts within walking distance, but as the sun disappears over the Arabian Sea, it’s hard to beat a poolside perch at Woo Bar–chai spiced martini in hand, of course. —Natasha Dragun
This article originally appeared in the October/November print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Goan Places”).