The Big Six: Boutique hotels in Goa

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Fort Tiracol, Tiracol

It may once have been an armed fortress, but Fort Tiracol now gives guests a warm welcome. Set on a cliff with views across the Arabian Sea and the Tiracol estuary, the seven rooms are decorated in keeping with the location with dark wood furniture, white walls and marigold-coloured fabrics. If the picture wasn't serene enough already, there's an ayurvedic massage centre to relax in, yoga classes to be had and picnics to be enjoyed on the surrounding beaches.

Fort Tiracol, Tiracol, Pernem (00 91 83 222 76 793; forttiracol.com). Doubles start at €130, half board.

Vivenda Dos Palhacos, Majorda

Based in and around an old Portuguese mansion, Vivenda Dos Palhacos has seven stylish bedrooms all named after places the brother-and-sister owners have "lived in and loved", in Bengal and Tamil Nadu. One of the rooms, Chanpara, is a huge air-conditioned tent set in a coconut plantation. There is an ozone-treated pool and gorgeous tropical gardens to enjoy. It is just a kilometre away from one of the loveliest beaches in the area – and the hotel will even make you up a picnic to take with you.

Vivenda dos Palhacos, Costa Vaddo, Majorda, Salcette (00 91 832 322 1119; vivendagoa.com). Doubles start at Rs4,000 (£56), including breakfast.

Casa Colvale, Colvale

Set amid the drowsy backwaters of the River Chapora, Casa Colvale is the place to while away a holiday in decadent style. Its 12 bedrooms blend contemporary Goan and South-east Asian design to good effect, with billowing hand-woven fabrics and work by local artists. All have private terraces or balconies with views of the river. For those who want to wade into the surf, it's a 20-minute drive or boat ride to the nearest beach. Dinner menus include barbecued freshly caught seafood, and candlelit suppers by the river can also be arranged.

Casa Colvale, Taliwado, Chiklim, Colvale, Bardez (00 91 940 533 0547; casacolvale.com). Doubles start at Rs5,600 (£79), full board.

Siolim House, Siolim

Steeped in colonial history, this restored 350-year-old building was once home to a Goan-Portuguese governor of Macau. Now playing host to discerning travellers, its 10 large suites are scattered between the main house and Little Siolim, a 10-minute walk away, formed from two equally historic buildings. There's also a pool.

Siolim House, opposite Wadi Chapel, Siolim, Bardez (00 91 832 227 2138; siolimhouse.com). Doubles start at Rs2,750 (£39), including breakfast.

Elsewhere North, Goa

This idyllic property is set on a spit lapped by a creek on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other. Elsewhere's big draws are the seclusion and the wildlife. There are four colonial houses and three en-suite tents. Meals can be taken in a dining area or communally under a banyan tree.

Elsewhere's location is kept secret but it's near Chapora River, in North Goa (no phone; aseascape.com). One-bedroom houses cost from £604 per week, tents from £342 per week.

Amarya Shamiyana, Asvem

Shamiyanas were the tents traditionally used by the Moghul and Rajput courts. This beachside hotel's four tented suites live up to the name, offering a touch of royal splendour with plenty of contemporary comforts. The tents also come with en-suite bathrooms and Wi-Fi.

Amarya Shamiyana, Asvem Beach, Mandrem (00 91 114 175 9267; amaryagroup.com). Doubles start at Rs6,160 (£87), room only.

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