Tucked on India’s charismatic Konkan coast is its smallest state, Goa. A gorgeous blend of Portuguese and Indian cultures, Goa is all about the sun, sand, sea, spirituality, seafood, and sossegado (a Portuguese concept meaning “quiet”). If there’s anywhere in India where LGBTQ travelers can feel comfortable, it’s the unconventional Goa. In fact, being a gay traveler in Goa is as widely accepted as being a stoner, vegan, or hippie! There are many amazing gay hotels in Goa as well, which range from luxurious havens by the sea to gay-friendly guesthouses in Portuguese mansions. What’s more, they’re spread across this small state, ranging from thumping North Goa to the serene South Goa.
Goa has a simple motto – anything goes – which is why the state also has one of the only out-and-about Pride events in India! Not even gay Mumbai and Hyderabad, which are more gay-friendly than other Indian cities, can lay claim to that. It’s also one of the very few places in India that has actual gay-friendly bars. Besides its gay scene, there are many Things To Do In Goa, such as the churches and Portuguese architecture of Old Goa or Velha. The sun-kissed state is also known for its many flea markets, forts, a lovely capital city Panaji (Panjim), and miles and miles of pristine beaches. So, if you’re looking for a beachside gay haven in India, then Goa is where you should be. To that end, here are the top 11 gay friendly hotels in Goa.
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With its fashionable LGBTQ and otherwise guests, perma-soundtrack, and a boho aesthetic, India’s first W hotel, W Goa, brings chic Ibizan vibes to the shores of North Goa. One of the best gay hotels in Goa, the hillside W sits on Vagator Beach and has 160 rooms that include suites, chalets, and villas. Gay travelers will particularly be interested in the room types – Wonderful, Fabulous, and Spectacular! All are light-filled and spacious with massive bathrooms that have Frette robes, funky mirrors, and deep-soaking bathtubs for two. Even the rooms with the walk-in showers are sexy, especially since they’re open to the bedroom – talk about cheeky! Moreover, all have garden patios or balconies, colored-glass chandeliers, Portuguese ceramic tiled floors, and leaf-shaped mirrors.
If you’re a gym freak, there are personal trainers available for you to get your workout mode on. Intrepid gay travelers can accompany the knowledgeable guide on treks to nearby locations. The younger gay crowd will especially love the suggestive WET deck bar, which serves cocktails and healthy snacks. It sits right by the sensual Rock Pool, which is the perfect place for a swim with views of the beach. The WOOBAR lounge is perfect for sipping cocktails by day and party at night. The standout is the spa, which has a sauna, steam room, heated vitality pool, and an oxygen room.
Bali comes to Goa in the form of Alila Diwa, one of the most luxurious gay friendly hotels in Goa. Tucked not too far from the white sands of Majorda Beach, the resort is every bit Goan and every bit chic. Rooms and suites are luxurious havens with balconies and views of the fields or the pool. Sliding doors separate the sleeping and the bathrooms, which feature deep-soaking bathtubs for amorous soaks. What stands out in the rooms is the bevy of lighting options for sleeping, reading, and relaxing when you want to get into the mood with your bae. The balconies with alfresco seating are a great touch, as is the assortment of teas and complimentary biscuits and fruit.
The infinity pool, which is one of the World’s Best Hotel Pools, is the biggest draw here. It overlooks lush green fields and is surrounded by sunbeds, where you can relax and order cocktails from the poolside Edge Bar. Go for the ‘Detox Detour’ package at the spa, after which you can watch movies at the theater or read in the library. There’s also a yoga studio (complimentary sessions twice a week), a gym, and four restaurants on the property. Breakfast is a grand affair with Indian delicacies such as dosas and chutney and fruit juices, made-to-order eggs, salads, fresh fruit, and homemade jams!
The Leela is one of the swankiest five-star gay hotels in Goa. Set amidst acres of lush greenery and with its own private beach, the hotel is one of South Goa’s plushest accommodations. Choose from the premiere and deluxe rooms, club suites, and villas, all of which lie around three lagoons. So, every room has a sweeping view of the water. Rooms are indulgent with minibars and even late-night nibbles such as chocolate, fruit, and snacks. That said, the marble bathrooms are a standout, complete with deep-soaking bathtubs. If you choose a package stay, then you’re rewarded with a set of sweet perks. These include complimentary wine and chocolates, a private fitness instructor, butler service, spa treatments, a half-day of sightseeing, and even a free breakfast spread.
The rest of the hotel is equally impressive, especially the ‘Culinary Sojourn’ package. That gets you an introduction to Goan food with a visit to a spice farm, food and cooking demonstrations, and a farm-to-table lunch. The spa is the perfect place to get pampered with a massage or a body treatment, but it’s the heavenly pool with a poolside bar that you’ll really love. There are even a ton of drinking and dining options, including a drinking lounge, an Indian, an Italian, and an all-day dining restaurant. Finally, a unisex salon, a golf course, and tennis courts, and a swanky and sprawling entertainment lounge with a disco and games make up the rest of the place.
Ahilya By The Sea
Few gay friendly hotels in Goa are as indulgent and yet serene as Ahilya By The Sea, a chic hotel on Coco Beach in Nerul, North Goa. Shaded by coconut palms, this waterfront property features nine rooms spread across three villas. Each of them features antique furnishings and traditional art, and there’s even a cozy yet budget-friendly treehouse in a 200-year-old banyan tree! There are no TVs or phones here, which means it’s the perfect place to cut off from the rest of the world. Muted hues and large doors opening out to sea views are the highlights in every room. Even the bathrooms are indulgent, with dressing gowns, a spacious shower area large enough for two, and antique fittings.
There is not one but two pools here; the divine east-facing infinity pool for sunrises and a plunge pool for sunsets. Enjoy a candle-lit dinner under the stars by digging into the catch of the day. Breakfast is a decadent affair that you can even enjoy in the comfort of your balconies. Think made-to-order eggs, sausages, crepes, waffles, homemade muesli, juices, and even parathas (flat-breads). No matter where you are during the day, head back to the hotel for complimentary drinks during Happy Hours and special musical performances. Finally, there’s even a library filled with books, as well as musical instruments and board games for your entertainment.
Taj Exotica Resort and Spa
Mediterranean luxury comes to Goa in the form of Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, one of the most splurge-worthy gay hotels in Goa. Tucked in Goa’s Benaulim village, this hotel offers luxurious rooms and villas spread over lush acres with views of the manicured gardens and the sea. You can either rent a cycle to get around, or a golf cart will ferry you to wherever you want to go. They’re both very handy for exploring everything that Taj Exotica has to offer, which is a lot! Rooms are decked out in neutral hues, each of which has a balcony overlooking the gardens, the pool, or the ocean. Do you want to splurge a bit more? Some of the rooms higher up even have hydromassage bathtubs or private pools. So, if you’re here celebrating a special occasion, then this place is heaven.
There’s so much that the property has on offer, including pool and sporting activities, a small cricket ground, and even a mini-golf course. Of the four restaurants, seafood lovers will enjoy the cuisine at the Lobster Village stands out as it offers a superb ocean view. Small but meaningful touches are aplenty, such as TVs in the bathrooms, are lifeguards at the pools, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity everywhere – even at the beach! However, where Taj stands out is the service, such as helping plan surprises and upgrading rooms without asking.
The Postcard Cuelim
Blending boutique and superb amenities is The Postcard Cuelim, one of the chicest gay friendly hotels in Goa. Housed in a 350-year-old family home, this bucolic South Goa getaway boasts ground-floor and upper-level rooms. You’re welcomed with a feni cocktail (a Goan cashew fruit alcoholic spirit) or a kokum welcome drink (a local red fruit). All rooms either have patios or private outdoor areas, plush king beds, burgundy throws, and darkwood furnishings. While bathrooms only have showers, they’re swish with bespoke and eco-friendly bath products, floral robes, and complimentary flip-flops. You even have complimentary tea or coffee delivered to your room in the mornings.
Begin your day at Postcard with a hearty à la carte breakfast that includes juices, fresh fruit, and Indian dishes such as ‘aloo matar’ (pea and potato curry). They even serve made-to-order lunches and dinners at the communal table or on the privacy of your patio. What’s more, the place has a host of amenities, including an inviting raised pool where you can swim and lounge to your heart’s content. A badminton court aside, there are private guided excursions as well as a free shuttle to the beach.
Vivanta by Taj, Fort Aguada
Vivanta by Taj has quite a few properties in Goa, but none are as memorable or grand as Vivanta by Taj Fort Aguada. Built on the ramparts of the 16th-century fort, it’s one of the most historical gay hotels in Goa. It also happens to be Goa’s first luxury hotel, with hillside cottages and sweeping views of the Arabian Sea. All rooms with either garden or sea views have charming wooden furniture, Forest Essentials toiletries, and Azulejo tiles (traditional blue-and-white Portuguese and Goan tiles) for room numbers. Hillside rooms might even see wandering peacocks at first light, while garden-facing ones will spy a kingfisher or two. If you want more space, go for the cottages or villas, which have their own gardens and larger bathrooms with bathtubs.
Choose from three restaurants and two bars to drink and dine at, with breakfast being a mixed spread. Think made-to-order items such as eggs, puris (puffy, fried flatbread), and dosas (Indian crepes), as well as cakes, jams, salads, and fresh fruit. The pool is the perfect place to relax, especially since it has a gorgeous vantage point overlooking the public part of the fort below. Moreover, the resort has a ton of facilities, such as the billiards and table tennis room, gym, squash court, a salon, and the heavenly Jiva spa. Finally, the staff even helps you book private ‘experiences’ or tours, including fort treks, deep-sea fishing, sunset cruises, and dining under the stars.
The Park Baga River
You don’t think of Goa and staying by the river, but that’s what The Park Baga River offers. One of Goa’s most charming gay friendly hotels, it overlooks the lovely Baga River and is also the state’s first adults-only hotel. All luxuriously sized suites are spacious and done up in hues of lilac, beige, greys, and whites. The mellow ambiance is only made better by the huge picture windows that allow lots of sunlight to pour in. Even entry-level rooms feature winged chairs, plush beds, coffee and tea-making facilities, and minibars. The amply-sized bathrooms are a treat, complete with deep-soaking tubs and bespoke bath products for long romantic baths with your partner.
Gay couples or honeymooners will love this tranquil getaway that offers a plethora of facilities. Intrepid couples with a penchant for the outdoors can indulge in river cruises, sailing, art classes, and cookery and photography workshops. The vibrant 24-hour restaurant Saltwater serves delicious food, including a large and indulgent breakfast with continental and Indian fare. During the day, enjoy a refreshing swim in the pool and then relax on the sunbeds while ordering a cocktail from the poolside bar. It’s no wonder that this gay-friendly hotel is so popular with gay travelers to Goa.
Stay in what is easily one of the most historical gay hotels in Goa, Siolim House. Set in an enchanting 350-year old mansion, this heritage hotel was the former residence of the Macau governor. Today, with just eight suites, it’s as intimate and exclusive a living experience as it gets in Goa. Most suites lie in the main house, while the independent Garden Suite is in one lovely little enclave. Moreover, the suites are all larger than usual, with art, rugs, and period furniture. If you want something special, the Garden Suite has a living room, courtyard, and a ground-floor bathroom overlooking the lush greenery.
The tranquil pool forms the epicenter of the property, around which complimentary morning yoga sessions and even massages take place. Even the dining area overlooks the pool on one side, but the lush courtyard with cheery mint-blue wrought-iron furniture is the perfect place for an intimate meal. Most of the meals are made-to-order, which only makes the experience all the better. However, breakfast is a decadent affair with continental and Indian food, coconut water, yogurt, and fresh fruit, all topped with delicious French-press Arabica coffee. Bibliophiles take note – there’s a first-floor library with a nice stock of design books and novels.
Shanti Morada is one of the most unique gay friendly hotels in Goa. This peaceful retreat is tucked away in a quaint North Goa village and is surrounded by green fields. At the same time, it’s accessible to all the tourist hotspots around. Rooms are divided into premium and luxury, but they’re all spacious with plush amenities such as TVs and minibars. What’s more, each room has a specific theme and name, with custom décor that brings it to life. Luxurious four-poster beds and lavishly appointed bathrooms with bespoke toiletries and bathtubs make up the rest of the place.
The round-the-clock restaurant serves all meals, including a widespread breakfast buffet. Besides the usual elements of coffee, tea, fruit, and made-to-order eggs, you’ll also find warm Indian-style items as well as baked beans and sausages. The crown jewel is the swimming pool and the pool bar, where you can laze around all day. Yoga sessions, boat trips, and cookery classes are experiences worth trying. Decorative wall elements, antique collectibles from around the world, and baroque-style furniture add zing to the place.
The Postcard, Velha
It’s only fitting that The Postcard, Velha sits atop the list of gay hotels in Goa. Heritage and history gay enthusiasts will love this six-room boutique hotel, which is tucked away on a private hillside estate. Its location is perfect for visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site of Old Goa and exploring Old Goa’s architectural marvels. The rooms are divided equally between two blocks, Mandovi and Banyan. The former block has slightly better views than the latter. Nevertheless, the two upper-level rooms in each villa are the best, thanks to their high ceilings and balconies. Large windows, vintage furniture, vibrant rugs, and tiled floors make them as attractive as they can get. Despite no TV, the rooms all have swish bathrooms with eco-friendly toiletries, free flip-flops, and floral robes.
Just like the other Postcard outpost, this hotel welcomes you with a feni or a kokum drink. What’s more, it’ll even serve caramel ice cream and iced tea as you laze by the pool. Besides bringing complimentary tea/coffee to your room, the hotel also boasts a delectable à la carte breakfast. There’s also a two-treatment room spa, where pampering yourself with a massage is a must-do. Finally, don’t miss the excellent private guided tour of Old Goa offered by this amazing gay-friendly hotel.
Best Gay Neighborhoods in Goa
India is still very much socially conservative, and it’s still a long road for tolerance towards the LGBTQ community. Thankfully Goa is the exception, so much so that it doesn’t have a specific gay neighborhood! As an LGBTQ traveler in Goa, there’s no neighborhood or village that’s out of bounds. Having said that, gay travelers will feel more at ease in the popular tourist hubs such as Panaji, Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, and Palolem. Here, they’re likelier to find themselves in the company of other gay people. The smaller and rural villages of Goa, on the other hand, are often more conservative. So, if LGBTQ visit here, then they’ll need to act more discreetly and conservatively.
That said, the beaches and beachside pubs thrive on pink tourism, which beaches such as Ashwem, Arambol, Vagator, and Palolem being known to be gay friendly.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Goa
- Mr Bartender & Crew: Owned by transman Fay Barretto, this is an amazing team of LGBTQIA+ bartenders who cater to luxury events and private gigs in Goa. This Coyote Ugly-style crew even host queer cocktail recipes and mixology lessons on their Instagram handle, as well as the #BehindBars event during Pride Month.
- Rudy’s Bar & Grill: This buzzling establishment on the Chapora river is one of the very few out-and-out gay-friendly bars in Goa. With a gay co-owner, this restaurant also gets rave reviews for its sizzling barbecues. It’s also one of the hosts for Pride De Goa.
- Flying Dolphin Beachside Cafe: The queer-allied Flying Dolphin hosts LGBTQ Mixer Bar Nights on Thursdays and is also one of the biggest allies of Pride De Goa.
Best Gay Saunas in Goa
Unfortunately, there aren’t any gay saunas in Goa yet. However, given the state’s open-mindedness, we’re hoping to see gay saunas in the future soon!
Best Gay Events/Shows/Tours in Goa
- Pride De Goa: 2017 saw the first Pride walk in capital Panaji, which began at the Old Secretariat building and ended at Miramar beach. It was organized by the NGO Goa Rainbow Trust, which has been organizing Pride De Goa ever since. 2019 saw the third iteration of Pride De Goa, which flagged off with flashmobs at Mall de Goa and Kadamba Bus Stand. There was also a pre-Pride party at The Park Hotel, Calangute. The star of the week was the vibrant and thumping Pride parade, which made its way down the Panaji Promenade and onto Miramar Beach. Winding everything up was a Post-Pride party at the gay-friendly Rudy’s Bar & Grill, Chapora.
- Pink Parties: Pink Pill Events organizes inclusive and queer-inspired events with a roster of cool DJs, drag queens, and hunky go-go boys.
- Bollywood Gay Parties: Do you love Bollywood? Then you’ll love the Bollywood-centric gay parties organized by Queer Kinara Goa. They take place at J29 Bar in Candolim, Sangria Goa in Anjuna, and Flying Dolphin in Calangute every Friday and Saturday.