For a long time, both Hampi - a UNESCO World Heritage Site in
Karnataka - and the beaches of Goa were magnets for India's
Goa is now a destination for the
luxury backpacking circuit © Necip Yanmaz/iStock
And while the two destinations still offer up many possibilities
for those after a laidback journey, a number of new hospitality
offerings are refashioning both as hubs on the luxury backpacking
trail. From high-end train journeys to top-rated boutique hotels,
2016 is the year to discover the stylish sides of Hampi and Goa.
After all, everyone needs a bit of pampering now and
Hampi is, without a doubt, one of the most extraordinary sites
in all of India. The landmark consists of the ruins of a
once-thriving capital city, which was pillaged in the
16th century. The remnants today include temple
complexes, shrines, and other architectural flourishes.
Orange County Hampi is now open
on the very outskirts of Hampi © Orange County Resorts
For many years, basic backpacker hotels were the primary
hospitality offering in the region. That's changed this year with
the opening of Orange County Hampi, the newest resort in the
group's portfolio of high-end properties, and perfect for visitors
on the luxury backpacking trail. Located just between Hampi and the
city of Hospet, the hotel may be newly built, but it was designed
to mirror the historic Vijayanagar architecture of the region.
Guests are invited to go on customised tours of Hampi's ruins by
day and enjoy the hotel's lavish amenities by night - including
in-room Jacuzzis, a spa, pool, and two on-site restaurants.
Travellers can also explore
Hampi during a luxury train journey © byheaven/iStock
Prefer to do your sightseeing and your relaxing all at once? Deccan
Odyssey, one of India's top luxury train providers, is now
offering a Jewels of the Deccan itinerary, an eight-day
journey that transports guests from Mumbai to Hampi and back again.
During their time in Hampi, visitors will be able to discover the
ruins up-close, walk along the Tungabhadra River and explore
Hampi's Royal Centre before returning to the train and continuing
on their way.
Though it's a popular destination among students on gap years
and the beach party set, Goa is more than just its nightlife. In
recent years, the seaside destination has quietly expanded its
range of destination-worthy boutique stays - and now, for
luxury-seekers, there's plenty to discover.
Ahilya by the Sea is one of
Goa's most coveted boutique stays © Ahilya by the Sea
Opened last year, Ahilya by the Sea has already earned a
distinction as one of Goa's most coveted stays. Overlooking Coco
Beach (and with an infinity pool all its own), this hotel is all
about cultivating an air of luxurious relaxation, whether that
means going for a paddle, reading on the veranda, or enjoying the
house chef's delicious curries.
Elsewhere is a hidden-away
boutique gem © Elsewhere
Beyond Ahilya, those only familiar with the chaos of northern
Goa will be surprised to learn that the region is a haven for other
tranquil boutique stays. The hidden-away Avanilaya -
which doesn't even have any signs to advertise it - is surrounded
by lush tropical foliage, and includes three stylish villas. Elsewhere is
another of Goa's best-kept secrets, though its beachy location
along the Arabian Sea makes it ideal for sun-worshippers.
All this goes to show that you don't have to rough it to see
some of India's prettiest corners. Hit the luxury backpacking trail
and prepare for a stylish mode of discovery.