At least twice every year, your friends or cousins create a WhatsApp group titled "Mission Goa" out of the blue and for the following 15 days or so it is even more active than your family's WhatsApp group. There is a sudden buzz about "definitely visiting Goa this time around" that eventually fizzles out indefinitely. Trust me, you aren't alone. It happens with everyone I know. Especially when gems like Fort Tiracol are hiding in plain sight here.
But I do feel that Goa is such an overkill in popular culture, and it has slowly lost its charm. And you may debate this theory as much as you want, but the fact does remain that the same kind of advertising has made the place predictable with nothing but beaches and beers portrayed on print and digital media.
Goa is not merely about all that. It's a lot more than how common media showcases it. Let me recommend a stay at Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel, via which you will experience a completely different side of Goa altogether.
Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel
Fort Tiracol is a well-kept secret beyond the beaches of Arambol. Located on a cliff beside a natural stream, this resort is built around a 17th century church. It served as an armed fortress to the Portuguese during the days of the Raj, but can now be availed for a stay by anyone.
Young couples and groups. Although Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel is relevant for every type of traveller, but it's the bohemian youth that will enjoy the most here owing to the seclusion and modern features of the property.
About Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel
Fort Tiracol is located on the northernmost tip of Goa and derives its name from the estuary of the Tiracol River that makes for a spectacular sight from the top of the cliff, on which the hotel is situated. As already mentioned above, the church stands bang in the middle of the property accentuating its aesthetic appeal. The true USP of Fort Tiracol, however, is the unprecedented isolation it offers amidst the tourist frenzy of Goa. The elevated position of the hotel affords it ample seclusion from the usual crowd and breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea as well as panoramas of the entire Terekhol village where it's located.
Once you are done gawking at the gorgeous facade, you will be welcomed by impeccable hospitality. Fort Tiracol offers three types of rooms – Standard Room with Balcony, Deluxe Room, and a Luxury Suite. All of these are equipped with modern amenities such as air conditioning, flat-screen TV, minibar, personal safe, and attached bathtub/shower. The interiors are a blend of old-Portuguese and contemporary decor, making it absolutely unique.
Cost: ₹8,100 for two per night for a Standard Room. Breakfast is ₹800 extra.
You can book this room right away or check out other booking options. You will not be charged anything in advance, so your money is safe in case there's a change in plan.
Culinary connoisseurs will have a field day at Tiracol's two restaurants serving universal cuisine. The Tavern Lounge & Bar's design and furnishing mark a celebration of the old Portuguese taverns with the signature menu complementing the fact. They serve a fusion of Portuguese, Goan and Indian flavours. Garden Cafe Al Fresco is an all day café serving Goan, Indian and Continental snacks, delicatessen and pastry. Alcohol lovers should rejoice as their vineyard is sufficiently stocked even for an apocalypse.
Best time to go
Although every time is a good time in Goa, but you should avoid it during the monsoons months of August and September. However, Goa is even better between mid-November and mid-February since the weather is pleasant and comfortable.
What to do at Fort Tiracol & around
While here, guests may indulge in several activities inside the resort or around. Here are some of them:
Discover a secret sweet water lake
The hidden sweet water lake beyond the run-of-the-mill beaches of Arambol has a cult following of its own. Not many people know about it, and the ones that do, don't disclose its location too easily. You can go here with some guidance from the hotel staff and relax amidst its absolute calm and natural surroundings.
Play indoor games and go outside for an adrenaline rush
For families, there are facilities such as a games room for indoor activities such as carrom, foosball, chess and others. The staff can also arrange candlelight barbecue dinners by the seaside. Water games such as kayaking, white water rafting, jet skiing, banana boating, sailing, and others, can also be organised.
Take a heritage walk around the property
The hotel desk can arrange several day trips and heritage walks according to your mood and interest. The village walk with Mr. Agnelo followed by tea and pakoras is extremely popular. You can also watch locals brewing feni in the village. Treks & picnics to Arambol, Redi, Paradise, and Querim Beaches are also possible.
Go fishing or cruising
River cruising of the nearby area is exclusive to Fort Tiracol's management. They also enable their guests to opt for river fishing trips through the Malpe area for dolphin-spotting and bird watching with a complementary guide. Charges are extra for this.
Besides these offbeat activities, guided tours can be organised to the popular hotspots of the hip state. The South Tour involves Old Goa, Mangueshi Temple, Spice Plantation, Miramar, Dona Paula and Panjim. The North Tour includes Anjuna, Vagator, Calangute, Baga, Candolim, Fort Aguada, and Sinquerim. There are also customised casino and boat tours for special occasions.
By air: The Goa International Airport at Dabolim is around 58km from the hotel. The airport receives flights from almost all the major and minor airports across India. You could hire a private taxi from the airport till the property.
By road: The nearest major bus station is in Panjim, which is just 36km from the property. It is well-connected by NH17A with Maharashtra and Karnataka.
By train: The nearest railway station is in Margao, which is connected by trains from down south and west. The station is 70km away from the property.
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