Goa’s Best Family Hotels
Goa is a fantastic destination for families; after all, what could be better than a family beach holiday? But which should you choose for a family holiday, North Goa or South Goa? We like them both! Here we share some of the most popular hotels for families in these two sandy destinations.
The Best Family Hotels in North Goa
North Goa’s buttery beaches and warm seas are reason enough to visit but there’s more to this sunny slice of India than bucket and spades. Once the capital of Portuguese Goa, the area retains a European charm that blends seamlessly with the natural beauty of this tiny state. The capital, Panji (Panjim), is delightful with brightly painted houses and paddle-wheel boats and Old Goa is home to towering churches and cathedrals. The lush countryside and colourful hamlets are great to explore, particularly on two wheels. Further inland is the Bondla Forest home to sambar deer, wild boar, monkeys and even leopards. This pocket of Goa is also home to the thundering Dudhsagar Falls, the second highest falls in India.
The beaches in North Goa are busier than those in the south and get very crowded during the peak season. But there are still palm-fringed corners that remain relatively undiscovered with beautiful clean, calm waters. Come here and discover elephants and banana boat rides, fishing boat tours to spot dolphins and river cruises, lively local bazaars and famous hippy flea markets.
1. Yab Yum
Yab Yum gets a big thumbs up from kids for fun. The setting is charming; a delightful sandy garden with footbridges and wiggly paths that wind their way through the coconut and banana groves. Strings of blue paper lanterns guide the way by day, replaced by twinkling fairy lights at night. With their woolly mammoth thatched roofs and comical eyes, the domes add to the fairytale-like feel. The biggest pull for kids big and small is the beach and you really couldn’t be much closer to this golden stretch of sand. Yab Yum also has a blue and white tiled plunge pool for splashing about in the shade and there’s a tepee crammed with a mishmash of well-loved toys, paints and other distractions. Older kids will enjoy exploring the area by bicycle and as well as boogie boarding and hopping on boat trips for dolphin spotting.
Everything at this family-friendly hotel invites you to relax. The setting is beautiful and the staff incredibly friendly. There’s a yoga shala where Ashtanga and Iyenga yoga is taught daily, a tree house massage room and the option of lounging by the plunge pool or lazing by the beach. Breakfast is delivered to your door and you’re just around the corner from some of Goa’s best restaurants for lunch and dinner options.
2. Aashyana Lakhanpal
Hidden within four acres of coconut groves, Technicolor bougainvillea and flowering fruit trees is Aashyana Lakhanpal, a luxurious family-friendly villa complex bordering Candolim Beach. The property is set back from the sandy shores and only a small, unmarked gate reveals its location resulting in complete privacy. Aashyana (meaning ‘nest’) is owned by local Indian entrepreneur Ajai Lakhanpal, and the complex consists of three separate accommodation options; Villa Aashyana, Villa Venus and the Casinhas.
Aashyana Lakhanpal may not offer anything in particular for children but it is a great family-friendly spot for beach holidays, especially if you are travelling with other families. The enchanting grounds are filled with palm trees, winding paths and hundreds of dragonflies and butterflies. Villa Aashyana and Villas Venus both have private swimming pools and you are just moments from the beach. For older children the area has plenty to keep them busy and staff at Aashyana can help conjure up most activities including jet skiing, paragliding and banana boat rides. Also on offer are dolphin-watching cruises, snorkelling excursions and boat trips to Anjuna’s famous flea market. Younger globetotters will be happy frolicking in the surf and sand of Candolim Beach or splashing about in the chlorine-free swimming pool.
3. The Grand Hyatt
Located just 15 minutes from Goa’s capital, Panjim, is this extensive palatial resort that offers the perfect tonic to luxury family holiday dilemmas. The five-star Grand Hyatt promises both an indulgent getaway for mum and dad and a fun-filled holiday for kids too. Set on 28 acres of tropical gardens along tranquil Bambolim Bay there are 314 rooms spread across 10 stand-alone buildings. All rooms come with either a private terrace or balcony and are within earshot of the sea. Despite the size of the property, however, great care has been taken to integrate traditional Goan design and craft into the architecture of the hotel. It’s been built to resemble a 17th century Portuguese palace and the characteristic wide hallways and sloping roofs have been replicated, as have traditional capiz shell windows and individually tiled floors.
Surrounded by 200-year-old banyan trees the main hotel swimming pool is great for big kids and teens and there’s a separate kiddie pool that has been built according to a traditional temple well design. There’s even a 25m indoor swimming pool. Camp Hyatt, for children aged three to 12, is guaranteed to keep kids entertained. Activities start at 9am and run until 6pm and include craft projects, pottery, kite flying, scavenger hunts and story telling. Face painting, archery, dance classes and yoga lessons are just some of the additional pursuits on offer. The calm waters of Bambolin Bay are ideal for swimming although being an estuary beach it’s not terribly sandy so your sandcastles might be a little small.
4. Olaulim Backyards
Nestled into a bend on the backwaters shaded by palms, Olaulim Backyards is a wonderful place for children, particularly big kids and teens who can make the most of all that the great Goan outdoors has to offer. This is the place to come if you’re looking for a complete break – both from urban life and the more developed sandy coastline. Olaulim is very much a back-to-basics kind of retreat; where mobile phone reception is patchy at best, animals (albeit tame ones) roam the grounds and accommodation is charmingly rustic. With just three cottages, it’s an excellent choice if travelling with other families or with grandparents (just make sure they’re the outdoorsy, adventurous kind).
The location on the edge of the backwaters, provides a near-enclosed, lake-like space for swimming, kayaking and canoeing in waist-high waters (parents with infants and adventurous little kids should note that the river is not fenced-off). For more active children there’s the river to be explored by canoe or kayak, or try fishing with a local and learn to catch dinner Goan style. There’s a small pool on the property and the surrounding countryside sees minimal traffic, making it the perfect to place to discover on two wheels. The area is also home to dozens of species of birds; visit during the monsoon and you may even spot flocks of peacocks dancing.
5. Sur La Mer
Located just a ten-minute walk away from beautiful Ashwem Beach is this sandy-yellow boutique hotel that’s owned and run by ex-Bollywood actor Aneel Verman. It’s a charismatic place that draws a fun-loving and eclectic crowd, just take a look at Aneel’s ‘wall of fame’ and you’ll understand the kind of starry people that pass through the hotel’s lofty wooden doors. Sur La Mer is a two-storey, Italian-style villa has 12 rooms, centred around a large, blue-tiled swimming pool and grassy courtyard. The restaurant is another highlight and the dinners in particular are excellent. The downside is that rooms at Sur La Mer don’t come cheap. It’s worth noting, however, that Sur La Mer occupies a unique space along an extremely popular stretch of sand that’s dominated by beach shacks and faceless budget hotels. If your wallet can stretch to it, this is a fun place to stay.
Children of all ages are welcome here although there are no dedicated activities for them. The swimming pool is a definite highlight and the enclosed grassy courtyards means that little kids can never stray too far. There are big four-poster daybeds draped with floaty, white muslin curtains placed around the courtyard and these are great for naps (for babies and little kids – or even mum and dad) or time out of the Goan sun. You’re also very close to Ashwem Beach, which is a lovely beach for families. There’s always something happening on this fashionable sandy strip whether it’s fishermen hauling in their catch, fashion shoots taking place or coconuts being collected from trees.
The Best Family Hotels in South Goa
Sleepy South Goa is the quiet younger sibling to its more outgoing, party-loving older brother. The beaches are less crowded and the warm sand and calm waters are ideal for families with younger children. Picturesque Palolem is one of the most beautiful and is justly popular, but there are dozens of sandy coves on offer, including the whimsically named Butterfly Beach.
The bustling market town of Margao (Madgaon) is the capital of Salcete province and South Goa’s main hub. From here all roads lead south towards sandy crescents and palm-fringed pockets, some favoured by European tour groups and others seemingly undiscovered.
Tucked inland among the lush paddy fields and coconut groves are glorious Portuguese-era mansions filled with chandeliers and antiques, whitewashed churches and colourful Hindu Temples. You’ll also discover some excellent family adventures. The Cotiago Wildlife Sanctuary hides spotted deer, gaurs (Indian bison), sambars and leopards. Marked walking trails lead the way accompanied by brightly plumed birds. Also on offer are guided jungle treks, canyoning and rafting.
6. Coconut Creek Hotel
Located around the corner from Goa’s airport and just a five-minute stroll to the beach is cosy Coconut Creek. Ten comfortable pavilions sit among palm trees within earshot of the waves and surf at Bogmalo Beach. A turquoise swimming pool lies at the heart of the resort, overlooked by a large shaded reception and communal area that’s perfect for afternoon tea or tucking into that bestseller. Nearby is Joets, the hotel’s sister property that’s home to an award-winning beachside restaurant. It’s an extremely comfortable place to stay but one of its main plus points is that it’s just so easy to get to – you can literally be in the swimming pool half-an-hour after picking up your bags from the luggage carousel at the airport.
Children young and old will love the sparkling swimming pool that curves through the centre of the resort. With shallow stepped areas for novice swimmers and bridges to swim under for more experienced water babies, it’s pretty much guaranteed that the kids will spend a lot of time in the water. And when they’re not in the pool they’ll be down at the beach, which is just a five-minute sandy walk away. There’s a small games room at Coconut Creek with a pool table and darts board and complimentary Wifi for when traditional pursuits become a little too, well, traditional. Parents of young children should be aware that a small, unfenced stream winds its way through the property.
7. Park Hyatt
If what you’re after is an easy family beach holiday then look no further than the Park Hyatt Goa. Spread over 46 acres, this 250-room resort seemingly has it all; a pristine private beach, a superb kids club, a sublime spa and enough activities to keep everyone busy for weeks, if not months. The design echoes that of a traditional Goan village, albeit a very upmarket one. Cobbled pathways connect the rooms and amenities and at the heart of the resort lies the lively Village Square, home to the hotel’s nine restaurants. The award-winning spa is one of the largest in Asia, the swimming pool reputedly the biggest in India and there’s even a shopping arcade and weekly artisan market. Activities range from jet skiing and sunset cruises to yoga, tennis, archery and volleyball tournaments.
There’s a lot for kids to love about the Park Hyatt Goa. The glorious swimming pool consists of a handful of turquoise lagoons, linked by a series of cascading falls that you can swim or slide down. There’s also a separate kids’ pool for younger globetotters. Once they tire of the pool then there’s Camp Hyatt, a kids’ club for children aged 4-12 where the days are spent playing games, enjoying arts and crafts, watching movies, singing, dancing, playing on the beach and more. Teens can try jet skiing or paragliding, play tennis and beach volleyball, borrow bicycles for tours of the surrounding countryside and then flop in the game centre, PlayStation in hand. In fact there’s so much to do (we didn’t even mention the banana boat rides and ice cream cart) that it’s almost guaranteed you won’t see your offspring until it’s time to check out.
8. Casa Susegad
The term ‘susegad’, meaning laidback, is often used to describe Goa and its residents. It’s also the perfect moniker for this beautifully restored 17th century colonial house turned convivial B&B. Located in the sleepy village of Loutolim, Casa Susegad is an extremely homely and welcoming place to stay. The rooms are sunglasses bright colourful (a yellow sitting room, red dining room and Technicolored bedrooms) with plenty of original features, including beautiful floor tiles and antique wooden window frames too. There are only five bedrooms, which makes it a great option for families travelling together or when grandparents come along.
Owners Carole and Norman admit that they never set themselves up to be a child-friendly B&B but they have inadvertently attracted many families over the years, no doubt owing to their qualities as hosts and their extremely friendly staff who love children. The property coves 1.5 acres and includes a small, enclosed garden with a pool (with shallow steps for novice swimmers). The remainder of the grounds are wild (Mowgli would feel at home!) covered with thick vegetation that’s great for exploring and a favourite hangout for langur monkeys. At the rear of the house is a hillock criss-crossed by winding paths and water features; great for big kids to discover but younger children will need close supervision. Read more of our review and see more photos here. Check latest room rates and reviews : TripAdvisor
9. Alila Diwa
How do you make a luxury getaway child-friendly? Ask the Alila Diwa; a stay at this super stylish hotel is a master class in how to keep both parents and kids happy. This chic hotel, set back from Majorda Beach amid a lush landscape of paddy fields, is part of the exclusive Alila group and the first to open in India. But there is more to Alila Diwa than simply good design. This is a wonderful place to stay simply because they have thought of absolutely everything you might need to enjoy your holiday. From the sunrise yoga and complimentary iPods to the lemon-scented towels and fruit drinks served around the infinity pool, you will want for nothing here…except maybe to stay a few days longer.
There is a dedicated kids’ club open to children below six where babies and toddlers are kept busy in a spotless playroom run by trained staff. For older kids there’s the Teen Zone, a large room filled with beanbags, table football, Wii sports games and more. Organised activities are also available. An ice cream trolley is parked permanently poolside, afternoon tea and treats are served daily on the lawn and there are regular movie screenings in the in-house home theatre. Our personal favourite is the kids’ swimming pool; a mini infinity pool (but with safety railings) that is as stylish as its grown up neighbour and comes complete with kiddie-sized black and white sun loungers.
Check the latest room rates and reviews: TripAdvisor
10. Vivenda dos Palhacos
There’s a lot to love about Vivenda dos Palhacos, the design, the food, the service, but we’ll start with the property itself. This seven-bedroom hotel is part Portuguese mansion, part Hindu house. It’s quirky – one of the bedrooms sits where the kitchen once did – but it’s charming in its eccentricity. There are no sea views here but pretty Majorda beach is just one kilometre away, and Vivenda has its own transportation to ferry guests to the sand. There’s a lovely swimming pool on the property and it’s an ideal place for a group of families to rent together.
This is a really wonderful place for families, especially if you rent the house as a whole. The layout works well, with plenty of space to roam, and there’s a fantastic chlorine-free swimming pool (with a stepped shallow area) ideally situated near the Altar Table where breakfast and lunch are served.
11. Joet’s Guesthouse
It might not be the prettiest stretch of sand in Goa but Joet’s location on the beach makes it an easy destination for a family beach holiday. Positioned just four kilometres from Dabolim Airport, it’s a very easy weekend getaway or first port of call after a long haul flight. The purpose-built, whitewashed block sits right on the edge of Bogmalo Bay and has seven cheery, air-conditioned bedrooms. Downstairs is an open-air restaurant that serves excellent seafood. What better way to end a day on the beach than with a cold beer in hand, tandoori prawns cooking on the barbeque and the sun setting over the Arabian Sea?
In addition to the usual sandy activities you can watch the fishermen head out to sea in the morning and pulling their nets to shore come dusk. The bay is well sheltered and the waters are relatively calm allowing for easy swimming (there are flags to mark the swimming areas and there is usually a lifeguard on call). There are fresh banana lassis and ice cream galore, and guests at Joets can take advantage of the swimming pool at its sister property, Coconut Creek Resort, located just a five-minute walk away. Here you’ll find plenty of shade as well as a lovely swimming pool with bridges to swim under, and shallow paddling areas for novice water babies.
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