Family Hotel Review: Amarya Shamiyana, North Goa, India

Gorgeous ‘glamping’ on a relaxed and family-friendly beach next to some of the best restaurants in North Goa.

Best For: Luxe-loving campers and families travelling together; kids of all ages

Reviewed by: Victoria Westmacott

Why You’ll Love It

Sleeping under canvas may not be everyone’s cup of tea but even the most hardened hotel-lover will be a camping convert after a night at Amarya Shamiyana.

At the beginning of every season, four bleached white shamiyanas (Urdu for tent) are erected within a private grove of coconut trees that border the sandy shores of Goa’s fashionable Ashwem Beach. But these are no ordinary tents, owned by French duo Mathieu Chanard and Alexandre Lieury, these are more like mini-marquees and are infused with a Franco-Indian flair.

Each tent has a master bedroom, two additional ‘saloons’ with sofas, a private veranda with wrought iron tables and chairs and an ensuite bathroom with walk-in rain shower. The decor is bright and playful, with a hint of kitsch that extends throughout the property. There’s a convivial semi-outdoor communal lounge and an equally colourful dining area alongside. Glamping in Goa never looked so good.

 

Why The Kids Will Love It

Beaches plus kids tend to equal great family holidays. Throw a tent into the mix and you’re almost guaranteed to have a good time, especially if those tents look like the ones found here. This family-friendly campground is a wonderful beach holiday option.

For younger kids there are plenty of safe spaces to play, both in the tents and the sandy ‘gardens’ outside (complete with tables, chairs and white charpoys for lounging). There’s also the colourful lounge area with sofas, big floppy floor cushions and even a TV.

The beach is literally on your doorstep and older children will enjoy the freedom of being able to go to and from the beach whenever they like. It’s a popular stretch of sand too so there’s always something going on, whether it’s the fishermen hauling their catch in, fashion shoots in action or coconuts being collected from trees.

Amarya Shamiyana is open 14 November to 15 April.

Hotel Details

Rooms:

Each tent is erected above a polished concrete base and covers an area of 64sqm (with a height of 6.4m). The four tents are individually decorated in striking colour schemes; hot pink, turquoise blue, purple and gold. Hand-painted damask murals frame the exceptionally comfy kingsize beds, which are decorated with bright cushions and throws. There is air-conditioning in all of the tents. Each benefit from their own private veranda (with deckchairs and wrought iron table and chairs), a spacious en-suite bathroom (with walk in rain shower and locally made bath products), master bedroom and two further ‘saloons’ separated from the main sleeping area by lightweight, gauzy curtains. There are also lockable cupboards, an electronic safe, iPod dock and a local mobile phone with credit, which is yours to use for the duration of your stay (something we thought particularly useful when we visited!).

Best rooms for families: The four tents are all the same size and each one can easily accommodate a family of four as the two additional ‘saloons’, either side of the main bedroom, can be converted into extra sleeping areas with an extra bed in each. It would be possible to squeeze in a baby cot too.

 

Food: 

Breakfast is served wherever you wish, either in the dining area or on your private veranda. Amarya Shamiyana does not have a lunch or dinner menu but it does have an all day snack menu (the kitchen is open 24 hours). The tents are located right next door to La Plage, one of Goa’s most famous restaurants as well as host of other cafés and eateries.   The Amarya Breakfast is served until 4pm and tends to be a hit with all guests. The spread includes freshly baked breads crêpes, farm fresh eggs to order, organic muesli, breakfast cereals, fresh seasonal fruit salads and freshly squeezed juices as well as Indian parathas and puris. Additional brunch options include french fries or Aloo Bhaji, bacon, chicken or sausages. The all day snack menu ranges from French fries to Aloo Bhaji and is tailored to meet individual needs. The kitchen uses 100% local and fresh produce and the food is generally very, very good. A number of excellent restaurants are also right around the corner from here and some of these deliver so you can have dinner brought to your tent should you wish. There is not a bar in the traditional sense but the recently opened Nespresso Bar (open to outside guests as well) is an excellent addition. Here you can choose from a range of flavours and strengths and enjoy your coffee fix under the coconut groves with the sand between your toes. Amarya Shamiyana is also licensed to sell alcohol. There are a number of excellent beachside restaurants and cafés nearby that serve great food, including freshly caught seafood.

For Kids: There is no dedicated menu for children but there are a dozen or more restaurants nearby that will serve something appetising for even the fussiest of eaters. La Plage restaurant, next door, has a kids’ menu, which is a good option for lunch and/or dinner. You can have meals delivered to your tent (also from outside restaurants)

 

Activities: 

Activities for Parents Explore the locale on one of the complimentary bicycles or simply laze by the beach and swim in the warm waters of the Arabian Sea. Jump in a car and head north to explore the lesser-known beaches starting at Morjim and travelling north to Terekhol. Eat to your heart’s content at La Plage restaurant, the perennially popular French restaurant right next door. Great for food and celebrity-spotting. Indulge yourself with an Ayurvedic massage in the spa tent and slip into a state of complete bliss. Salute the sun with a morning yoga session in sight and sound of the beach.

Activities for Kids Beach, beach and more beach, followed by swimming and splashing in the sea. Pedal around the colourful local hamlets on one of Amarya’s bicycles or wander along the sand and watch the fishermen bring in their catch of the day. Slurp banana lassis, lick ice creams and sip fresh coconut water from coconuts freshly picked that day. Go dolphin spotting on a boat trip; bring your binoculars for bird watching along the way. Go in search of the Olive Ridley sea turtle, Ashwem beach is the nesting place for this rare species (September to February).

Facilities: 

A/C, common rooms, cots, doctor on call, nearest hospital is approx. 20 mins away, 2 extra bed per tent, laundry, shop, spa, travel desk, WiFi.

 

Rates: 

At the time of writing rates were as follows: 15 November – 19 December: INR 7,900 20 December – 12 January: INR 11,500 13 January – 31 March: INR 7,900 1 April – 15 April: INR 5,900 Extra Bed: INR 2,000 Rates may vary. Above rates do not include breakfast or taxes. Please contact the hotel directly for an exact quote based on your family’s requirements.

Travel Information 

 

When to go: 

The best time to visit is from November to March when the daytime temperatures hover between 25-30C.

Peak season is from mid-December to the end of January; if you plan to visit over this period then make sure to book well in advance and be prepared to pay extra. December and January are also the peak season for beach parties, which means that it can busy and noisy, especially at night.

From April the mercury rises and by May the daytime temperatures are nudging 35C. The monsoons arrive early June when things get hot and sticky, but this is also when Goa becomes lush and green.

Amarya Shamiyana is open 15 November to 15 April.

 

Location & Travel: 

Amarya Shamiyana is located in North Goa on Ashwem Beach.

There are regular daily flights in and out of Goa to numerous Indian cities.  Domestic airlines servicing Dabolim Airport include Indigo, GoAir, Jet Airways and Spicejet.  Amarya Shamiyana is 55km from Dabolim Airport (1-11/2 hours by car). The hotel offers a transfer service for an additional charge.

The main train station in Goa is Madgaon station in Margao, but the nearest train stations to Amarya Shamiyana are Pernem and Tivim (although not all trains stop at these stations). Goa is linked to Mumbai in the north and Mangalore in the south via the Konkan Railway. Transfer services can be arranged for an additional charge.

Contact The Hotel

For more information or to make a booking enquiry, visit the hotel’s own website by following the link below:

Amarya Shamiyana

Reviewer’s Top Tips!

Reviewed by: Victoria Westmacott
Co-founder, globetotting.com

1) Try the Tuna Wasabi at La Plage (the adjacent restaurant) – delicious!
2) You are on the beach here so bring a kiddie backpack instead of a pushchair.
3) The monsoon period in Goa can stretch into early November so if you are coming at the very start of the season, be prepared for the odd shower.

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