By Namrata Zakaria

To say that designer hotels are a gimmick to lure the bored traveller in search of a new curiosity isn’t entirely incorrect.

The Sol hotel designed by Tarun Tahiliani.
The Sol hotel designed by Tarun Tahiliani.

But it is also unfair; the rising number of fashion-brand hotels in the world only means that people are looking for substance as well as style — high-end super-luxurious style — that is often not satiated even by some of the finest five stars around the globe.

While one of the first designer hotels — the Palazzo Versace — opened in Australia’s Gold Coast 10 years ago, this May saw the opening of the Armani Hotel at Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. While Dubai may be known for its excesses, a lesser known Irish city, Galway, is also celebrating a new addition to their landscape — celebrity hat-maker Philip Treacy’s The G Hotel.

India is fast catching up. Designer Tarun Tahiliani offers his type of haute living in a new hotel, The Sol, in Goa. It is a delightful little space — a 20-room hotel tucked away at Nerul in North Goa, with a breath-stealing view of the Sinquerim river bordered by lush hills, the Candolim Church and paddy fields — rather unlike the beach-facing hotels that most tourists here vie for.