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Conde Nast Traveler

Thanks to clever architectural angling, this 20-room newcomer is just off Goa's main drag, yet free of honky-tonk mass tourism. Its guests-mostly stylish young Indian couples - instead enjoy the tranquil views over rice paddies and the Sinquerim River to Candolim church. The hotel's architecture celebrates Goa's colonial heritage: Three-story whitewashed wings punctuated with dark-wood windows and shutters frame a leafy central courtyard. Interiors by Indian fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani continue the colonial theme, but update it. Each room's antique four-poster bed is draped with mosquito netting (although the rooms have AC and come with electric mosquito coils), historic photogravures and mezzotints of Portuguese-era trading ports line the walls, and silk cutwork and silver-threaded fabric on cushions lend an air of elegance. (The marble bathrooms, on the other hand, lack tubs and could be a bit brighter.) There's an intimate dining room, but most guests prefer to eat on the terrace outside the bar-lounge, where lanterns create a seductive atmosphere in the evening, and the menu includes Goan, North Indian, and Thai dishes-the local ones are the most authentic. Service is eager but not always speedy, a failing that's apropros given the relaxed setting. The hotel's most conspicuous drawback is the tiny (and shade-covered) courtyard pool, though there are tentative plans to open a larger one with direct sun exposure. Which room to book: No. 19, on the top floor - one of the hotel's four suites -is spacious, private, and has a large terrace next to a dazzling coral tree.

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