Lemon tree, very pretty

The Lemon Tree Amarante Beach Resort in Goa offers an oasis of cool in the heart of Candolim
The duplexe heritage studio at the Lemon Tree Amarante Beach resort in Goa
The duplexe heritage studio at the Lemon Tree Amarante Beach resort in Goa

The Lemon Tree Amarante Beach Resort in Goa, part of a chain already established in Gurgaon and Pune, makes creative use of the property&rsquos Portuguese history, with renditions of medieval Christian paintings and stained glass windows forming a quaint motif throughout. And even in the high heat that is April in Goa, Lemon Tree is a cool oasis in the heart of Candolim, running lengthwise from pool to Spanish-style-courtyard-fountain to beach. The pool is certainly the centre and highlight of the hotel set amid palm trees and a green lawn, with its own little bar, the first thing you&rsquoll want to do upon arrival is strip down and jump in.

I&rsquom lucky enough to be staying in a Heritage Room in Goa, however, so the first thing I actually end up doing is enjoying the long walk down to my base for the night. The Heritage block is a century-old Portuguese mansion, and each of the six large rooms is separated into living and sleeping sections. Arriving with the misconception that this is a &lsquobudget&rsquo hotel (it&rsquos actually full-service and upscale), I&rsquom especially impressed with the room&rsquos two flat-screen TVs, DVD players, WIFI access, cool green views and sense of luxury. Standing on my personal sit-out that faces beachwards, I&rsquom also intrigued by the small pool not five feet from me. Apparently this is the private plunge for residents of the Heritage Studio, a huge duplex affair that can be connected at request to an additional Heritage Room, making it an ideal set-up for a family vacation.

The hotel&rsquos regular rooms are no less pleasant, though. Some have a small balcony attached, while others lead into a private, shaded strip of lawn. But in Candolim, a short walk away from countless shops and restaurants, your room is hardly where you&rsquoll be spending your time. If you&rsquore too lazy to venture out, try the in-house restaurants outdoor Palmeira Grill, and the cheerful Citrus Café, which overlooks the lovely pool and contains a pool table. The food&rsquos standard/good, pretty much exactly as you&rsquod expect it to be. What I do find unexpected &mdash particularly in Goa &mdash is the efficiency and congeniality of the hotel&rsquos staff.

If you must work, a small business centre is well equipped with Internet and flat-screen PCs. But how dreary you&rsquod much rather check into Fresco, the spa. A tempting menu offers options for the two Kerala-style massage rooms &mdash pick from traditional treatments, herbal wraps, body polishes or a cocoa butter massage (yummy) before a session in the sauna. A gym next door contains the essentials and also overlooks the pool. With all the amenities Lemon Tree offers in one of Goa&rsquos most ideal locations for tourists, the only question I really faced was what should I do next

The information

Where Candolim, Goa
Accommodation 60 rooms 1 Heritage Studio, 6 Heritage Rooms, 29 Garden Rooms, 10 Pavilion Rooms, 14 Plaza Rooms
Tariff Season/off-season rates (doubles) Rs 15,000/11,000 (Heritage Studio) Rs 13,500/9,500 (Heritage) 10,900/8,000 (Garden) Rs 9,800/7,300 (Pavilion) Rs 9,100/6,600 (Plaza) packages available
Contact 0832-3988188,

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