Ashwem Beach is a very hip little spot in North Goa. Near Mandrem and Arambol, it’s known for being less spoiled than others, as well as being populated with turtles and dolphins (although I’ve never seen any in three years so, hmmm). While I stayed at the luxurious tents of Amarya Shamiyana and the just as fabulous Amarya Paros, I had plenty of time to wander up and down this white sand stretch of beach and find the best Ashwem beach boutique.
UPDATE: this article was written over 2 years ago, and Amarya Shamiyana is no long there.
I was on the lookout for cute boutique shop (what else is new…) with something a little different to offer that that of North Goa’s “same same but different” at the Wednesday flea market. I am so sick of online shopping in India. I lucked out because Ashwem is very chic and trendy right now with a few shops, some foreign, full of classy, sexy, bohemian handmade dresses, robes, shoes, and bikinis!
Before indulging myself in fancy silks, we had lunch at popular La Plage. The French restaurant is just behind Nana Ki and really popular. They serve up fine seafood with a European twist, like grilled mussels and beef carpaccio, but I was there for lunch and was after something else they’re famous for… the beef burger. Beef in Goa is sometimes water buffalo, but here the burgers reminded me of home! All beef, instead of a beef-ish mixture that some places use. It was slathered in a ketchup-like burger sauce and served with homemade fries and sour cream with herbs (aka basically ranch dressing, which is like heaven!) It’s a wonderful place to relax and gear up for shopping or playing in the waves.
I was beyond excited about finding Jade Jagger’s fine jewelry boutique (yes, Mick Jagger’s daughter; she lives in Goa half the year). Bummed is an understatement. She sells gorgeous bohemian hippy jewels and clothes that I’ve been checking out online. The very popular Saturday night market shop, Dust, was closed too. Dust is known for breezy beach clothes made with raw silk and high quality cotton. These are probably the two most popular stores in Ashwem beach and hopefully will be open soon. Regardless, I’m ready to show you all my favorites and share the stores that caught my eye.
Boutique Jems of Ashwem Beach
Nana Ki & The Bohemian Collection. I have already reviewed this Parisian designer over here. It is worth a visit, a little bit expensive- but you are getting what you pay for with fine linen and silks.
Love the jewely and homeware the most here. This little area was called “Le Souk” for some time and had a many shop. Some are still there but I can’t think of their names. An expensive leather shops for sure.
Beach Candy. This boutique’s designer, Sophie, lives in Mumbai and works with organizations that employ Indians from the slums to “trade not aid”; they teach them how to make these awesome clothes with fair-trade standards. Her clothes are perfect from “sun drenched shores to urban summers” in Mumbai. Beach Candy Boutique also sells quality swimwear by Olga Olsson. The men’s shirts have a pattern on the inside of each one, which I love! They have been featured in loads of fashion magazines, like Vogue. You can shop online here.
Ambika Concept. This shop sells quirky cotton dresses, floral silk robes, and silky kimonos perfect for the beach. There are handmade jewels and scarves as well. They have a store in Jaipur and Arpora/the Saturday night market.
Vacances. The first thing you’ll notice when you walk into this shop is a wall of leather shoes… very cute leather shoes. They remind me of the shops in Athens. The French designer, Laurence Dolige luckily recently launched this branch of his line here in Goa. He has shops in New Delhi and Paris- you can even shop his line at Nordstrom. The look is fancy bohemian and the cottons are very sheer and light. My favorite were the bikinis which were made from cotton/linen. I’ve never seen that before- they looked adorable, but I’m afraid those ruffles would hold too much water and the suit would fall off.
Asimir. very cute and beachy; less expensive than the shops to it’s left. In here, some of the pieces I found look like antiques, but I have a hard time telling- sometimes new clothes in Goa have been thrown around multiple markets and are just dirty. They had victorian lace and lots of flowy cream cover-ups.
There are a few other Indian shops, including one cute shop, Xela, right next door. There are also a lot of typical beach shops for cheap sarongs, hats, towels, and ali baba pants.
ADDED INFO, 2016
FARA & Shoop Doop have both opened shops here. I have written about both on the blog before (just follow the links on their names).
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Rachel Jones is an American who left a career in nursing to live on the beaches on Goa, India two years ago where she is now a Thai masseuse, candle-maker, and travel writer. Her award winning website gives advice on the other 28 countries she's been to but has become the go-to site on India travel, focusing on off beat places & “glamorous travel”. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE magazine & was voted by Flipkey as one of the top 25 female bloggers to follow this year. You can follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google plus.