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About Tamil Nadu
India’s most southerly state, Tamil Nadu is far less frequented than its touristy neighbour, Kerala. Enjoying the same lush verdant surrounds and pristine beaches it is ideal for those wanting to get away from the tourist trail and experience a more authentic India. Our pick of the best places to stay in Tamil Nadu are reflective of the region’s heritage and all provide a comfortable stay.
To the north of the state lies Chennai which has witnessed some rapid modernization in the last decade in a bid to keep up with the metamorphosing mega cities of India. The locals are infectiously positive about their ‘capital of the south’ and you cannot help but share their upbeat nature. Boasting some world-class restaurants and excellent hotels it is worth at least a one-night stay en-route to the rest of the state.
A world away from bustling Chennai, Pondicherry is delightfully quaint. Maintaining strong Francophile connections (some of the older locals even speak with a hybrid French accent) you will be enchanted by its allure. Cobbled streets are lined with bakeries and boutiques and there are plenty of small, independently run hotels and restaurants. Tamil Nadu’s take on Paris.
Whilst the best time to visit most of Tamil Nadu is between December and February owing to its high temperatures, you can visit the colonial summer outpost of Ooty all year (it only reaches the high 30s in summer and single figures in winter). Indeed the monsoon renders the valleys impossibly lush. Take the Nilgiri mountain railway, an impressively maintained steam train, through the verdant landscapes of the Western Ghats’ tea and spice plantations. Neighbouring Coonoor can also be enjoyed year round and without the crowds that stop at Ooty,
Tanjore is awash with history and cultural sites, one of its claims to fame is as birthplace to one of India's most extraordinary civilisations (the Dravidians).
Foodies should head to Kanadukathan, the region's culinary capital, famous for its Chettinad cuisine.
The Hotel Guru's selection of the best places to stay in Tamil Nadu is wide ranging: from budget to luxury there are plenty to suit all!
For value for money
Homestays and boutique properties can often provide great value for money.
- Both Coonoor's Tea Nest and Ooty's Sherlock Hotel provide an immersive and individual stay and are easy on the wallet. The latter in particular is also great for families with plenty of on site activities.
For a character stay
Some of the best places to stay in Tamil Nadu for showcasing the region’s heritage:
- Evocative of the character of the region Maison Perumal combines colonial and ‘Pondi’ styles
- whilst Villa Shanti juxtaposes traditional décor with more modern accents.
- Ooty’s Taj Savoy provides full historic charm with parquet flooring, an abundance of antiques and six acres of manicured grounds in which to explore.
For a beach break
- We are mad about Neemrana properties and their Bungalow on the Beach is another excellent offering from this boutique hotel chain. Providing a relaxing stay on Nagapattinam’s quiet coastline it has rooms brimming with antiques and friendly, helpful staff.
- Fine dining, private balconies and that lavish Leela swagger, The Leela Palace Chennai is great for couples.
- Romantics will also love Kurumba Village Resort, which boasts not just private balconies, but private Jacuzzi suites.
- If you are looking for a more intimate stay then you may enjoy a candlelit dinner at La Villa, in Pondicherry. All have large rooms made for lingering.
- Hotel de l’Orient is known for its ‘Exotic Marigold Hotel” worthy restaurant serving excellent Creole and Continental food.
- Whilst The Bangala, located in Chettinad, Tamil Nadu’s culinary capital, holds daily cooking classes. Ideal for those wanting to take home some South Indian cooking techniques.
Still not sure which to book? From character to luxury browse through our list of the best places to stay in Tamil Nadu to start to plan your trip. Or contact one of our friendly gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Tamil Nadu
Tea Nest 6 rooms from $39Coonoor (Singara Estate)
Surrounded by tea fields and above the clouds, relax in a serene and tranquil historic mansion. Big rooms, some with fireplaces, and a small menu has been made for the staying guests. Walks, reading and being one with nature is the theme of the area. A great country escape, a chance for fresh air.Great walks - To Dolphins nose to see panoramic views, but also don't miss Lamb's Rock 6km from Coonoor.Sights nearby - Highfield Tea Estate and Guernsey Tea Factory both deserve a visit from tea lovers.Back to Nature - Surrounded by tea gardens.Remote - Off the beaten track.
Hotel De Pondicherry 13 rooms from $44Puducherry
Nineteenth century family home turned welcoming guesthouse stay. Le Club restaurant serves Indo-French dishes cooked with love. Rooms are simple yet colourfully decorated with plenty of black and white photographs and curios on the walls. Excellent value in a great location.Local exploring - Located in White Town, Pondicherry's historic district, and just moments from the beachValue chic - Heritage accommodation at an excellent priceLocal markets - Take a walk down Baker Street and pick up some freshly baked pastriesSights nearby - The famous Sri Auribindo Ashram is a must visit
Hotel de l’Orient 16 rooms from $52Puducherry
This 18th century property displays the best in colonial architecture. Today, full to the brim with Indian antiques: capacious four poster beds, printed fabrics, local artwork and rattan chairs. The restaurant is 'Exotic Marigold' worthy, achingly quaint and serves Creole and Continental dishes.Hideaway - Whilst there is so much to do and see in Pondicherry, the rooms are so large and inviting you will want to set up camp in them.Great walks - Wander around the picturesque French Quarter with its inviting cafes and period buildings.Sights nearby - You cannot visit Pondicherry without seeing the Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple.Romantic - Good for couples.
Le Chateau 18 rooms from $52Puducherry
Located in Pondicherry's quaint French Quarter, Le Chateau but adds to the area's charm. Original features such as checkerboard flooring and wood-framed windows complete the look. There is a lovely roof-top restaurant with views across the Bay of Bengal.Families - Great value for the family - young children stay freeLocal exploring - Located in the French Colony of PondicherrySights nearby - Sri Aurobindo Ashram, centred around the striking Matrimandir
Sherlock Hotel 9 rooms from $59Ooty (Upper Thalayatimund)
Sherlock Hotel in the southern hill station of Ooty lives up to its name. Victorian fireplaces and wooden furnishings. It boasts two dining rooms, a reading room, a games area as well as the great outdoors. The location lends itself to an activity filled holiday for the family, or a mini break.Great walks - 1.9 miles from Sharing Cross StationFull of characterViews - Great views from hotelRomantic - Good for couples.
Mango Hill 14 rooms from $60Auroville, Puducherry
Simple yet chic, rooms feature private balconies overlooking a sparkling pool. This bijoux property has many of the facilities of a resort hotel: a spa, pool and great food, all for a fraction of the cost. A little bit of French charm in Tamil Nadu.Spa breaks - Comprehensive Ayurvedic spa providing in depth treatments such as Panchakarma and much moreValue chic - Great food, location, boutique rooms and an inviting pool - all at under £50 a night!Foodies - A huge selection of homemade French cheese - plus delicious fusion cuisineSights nearby - The alien-like Matrimandir is a must visit
Neemrana's Bungalow on the Beach 8 rooms from $65Nagapattinam (Tharangambadi)
Perfect beach-side location in a property steeped in local history. Airy rooms, some with four poster beds, period furniture and light fabrics create an aura of peace. Unwind on the terrace, watch the waves break on the beach, and dine on flavourful, carefully prepared, local food.On the beach - In front of the hotel.Sights nearby - Explore colonial Tamil Nadu in the Dansborg Fort and Governer's Bungalow, or visit the sacred Masilamani Nathar TempleSwimming Pool - Outdoor swimming poolBirdwatching - Good birding near the hotel.
Le Dupleix 14 rooms from $70Puducherry
White period facade, black and white tiles, four poster beds: this property ticks all the 'character' boxes. Fusion decor compliments the fusion menu, which consists of Indian and French dishes, served in an atmospheric dining room. You are within walking distance of Pondicherry's main attractions.Sights nearby - Visit Auroville and the impressive Matru Mandir.Great walks - Along Karaikal beach is an idyllic stroll.Four poster beds - For romantics.Full of character
Ideal River View Resort from $71Tanjore
It is simply impossible to be bored at this delightful family resort. The cottages are colourful & stylish with great views over the river and paddy fields. Enjoy a traditional massage in the spa, relax by the pool or explore by bicycle. The restaurant menu is multi-cultural with plenty of choice.Sights nearby - The land of the old Pandyan & Chola dynasties. The area is sprawling with beautiful UNESCO sitesSwimming Pool - A wonderful 46-square feet outdoor pool, just steps away from the lovely East Coast BeachSpa - An Ayurvedic centreBack to Nature
Tanjore Hi 14 rooms from $72Tanjore
Elegantly updated colonial townhouse in great central location. Bedrooms are sleek and modern with accents in the hotel's signature vibrant blue. Large windows flood the rooms with natural light. Charming and stylish rooftop restaurant overlooking the palace, serving Indian and international fare.Sights nearby - Directly opposite the Tanjore Palace entrance, and located near to the Brahadishwara Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Views - Rooftop restaurant has stunning views of the palaceOutstanding location
Taj Savoy Hotel 40 rooms from $85Ooty
Set amid six acres of lush grounds Taj Savoy offers colonial cottage style accommodation including a range of rooms and suites with an old school charm vibe. There's loads of on site activities plus an Ayurvedic spa, art, cooking and yoga classes. A hill top paradise for total country escape.Great walks - This hill station boasts a range of fantastic walking routes.Sights nearby - A handful of botanical gardens and churches.Cooking classes - Learn how to cook the South Indian way.Traditional
Taj Connemara 150 rooms from $85Chennai
Built in 1854 as the Imperial Hotel, it has been renamed and revamped to welcome guests with modern interiors and facilities.Rooms are luxurious and light, the pool and spa are a welcome oasis from the city and its many historical landmarks.With two restaurants and a nightclub, it really has it all.Great walks - Along the beachfront or around the historical sites, also enquire about a walking day tour.Local markets - Meandre the Chennai back streets to see the local markets and traders.Seaside - 2.4km from the beaches.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Villa Shanti 15 rooms from $91Puducherry
This boutique offering has a combination of trendy modern and retro chic bedrooms. Colourfully tiled floors, hindi motifs and locally produced fabrics. The menu, serving gourmet fusion dishes in an open air restaurant, is well renowned in town. An ideal stay for your young couples or small families.Great walks - As the name suggests, Promenade Beach is a wonderful walk.Sights nearby - Old Church, just 100m away, is well worth a visit.Local markets - The Sunday Market is just a ten minute walk away.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.
The Gateway Hotel 32 rooms from $91Coonoor
The right mix of colonial architecture and modern decor. This hotel prides itself on no two rooms being the same but all revelling in luxury and taste. Rolling lawns overlook luscious southern hills, as well as tea plantations and golf ranges close by. A great retreat to relax at the spa.Great walks - Head to Dolphin Nose to see a spectacular view of Catherine Falls.Sights nearby - Highfield Tea Estate is over 50 years old and worth a visit.Full of character
The Bangala 25 rooms from $100Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu
The Bangala is a dose of Chettinad history, architecture and cuisine all rolled into one. The rooms are furnished in the ornate style, the pool is a welcome new feature and the library boasts a range of old classics. Get involved in a cooking class, step out to see the town or relax at the spa.WifiSights nearby - 1870s VVRM House is a mansion in the Chettiar style.Cooking classes - Learn some of the Chettinad dishes at The BangalaTraditional - Oozing Chettinad culture.
Trident Chennai 167 rooms from $104Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
Housed amidst some impressive lawns this hotel provides classic contemporary accommodation. Rooms are decorated with fresh colours, light wood and include all mod cons. Southern Indian dining can be sampled at the Samudra restaurant whilst Cinnamon is multi cuisine. 5* relaxation at your fingertips.Cooking classes - Sameena's school is popular amongst traveller's wanting to pick up the South Indian secrets.Sights nearby - Kapaleeshwarar Temple, one of the largest dedicated to Shiva, is an impressive sight.Great walks - Along Marina and Elliot's Beach - sunset is a particularly popular time.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
The Leela Palace Chennai 326 rooms from $106Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
A palatial hotel from the Leela providing opulence with unobstructed views of the Adyar River. Rooms are divine, feature fine silks, sparkling chandeliers, and are beautifully upholstered. Several fine dining options including an indulgent patisserie. A five star stay.Great walks - Theosophical Society is a car free, pedestrian area of 100 acres home to a church, mosque, Buddhist shrine and temples.Sights nearby - San Thome Temple is certainly worth visiting.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Opulent
Maison Perumal 10 rooms from $107Pudicherry, Puducherry
This intimate hotel combines contemporary comfort with sophisticated elegance. Airy rooms are classically decorated in a colonial style with ceiling fans and wooden furnishings. Accents of vibrant colour punctuate the colonial French decor, adding a Tamil influence. Simple and stylish.Diving - Temple Adventures dive and surf centre in PuducherryGreat walks - Take a heritage walking tourSights nearby - Manakula Vinayagar templeLocal markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - I Escape
InterContinental Chennai 106 rooms from $115Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
Chic and contemporary five star luxury. Contrasting palettes of yellow, grey and black give rooms a quirky edge, as do the modern lines and egg shaped baths. There is a huge outdoor pool and a private stretch of beach. Dine on local, Chinese and Western dishes or indulge at the champagne lounge.Families - With babysitting services, kids club, family suites and private beach there is so much to do hereCity Style - A luxurious place to stay whilst in ChennaiGreat walks - Along the hotel's own stretch of private beachSwimming Pool - Outdoor pool
Rajakkad 7 rooms from $117Dindigul, Tamil Nadu
Ingenious and utterly charming. An 18th century palace constructed by the Maharaja of Travancore and re-erected in the Western Ghats by Jeremy Fry in the 1990s. Enjoying a cool climate there is no AC - just large sliding doors. Understated chic reigns supreme. Communal dinners are delicious.Eco break - On 60 acres of farmland most of the food is grown here. Green fingers plus green credentials makes this an ultimate eco break.Total relaxation - Time slows down here. There's no pool or TVs but there is a well stocked library. That is the point.Back to Nature - Surrounded by verdant hills enjoy guided nature trails, bird and animals spotting.Hideaway - A quiet spot in less touristy Tamil Nadu: the ultimate south Indian hideaway.Recommended by - I Escape
Palais de Mahe 18 rooms from $120Puducherry
Palais de Mahe perfectly echoes its setting; with simple elegance and colonial charm this hotel is the perfect base for exploring the surrounding area. Rooms are spacious and airy; classically decorated, with wooden furniture, simple white linens and smooth painted floors. A slice of history.Surfing - Temple Adventures dive and surf centre in PuducherryLocal markets - Goubert marketSights nearby - Ganesha TempleRomantic - Good for couples.
Kurumba Village Resort 17 rooms from $130Coonoor (Kurumbadi)
The Nilgiri Mountain Train takes you to the rolling blue mountains and this poolside, nature immersive hotel offers luxurious rooms with stunning views and contemporary decor. The outdoor dining boasts local cuisines while the location is perfect for both Ooty and Coonoor and the sights there.Sights nearby - Spice plantations and tea plantations are both nearby.Hideaway - Fantastic hideaway location for you to unwind.Back to Nature - High up in the hills surrounded by nature.Great walks - To the waterfalls.
Svatma 34 rooms from $134Tamil Nadu
A chic boutique property in the heart of the historic city of Thanjavur. Individually styled rooms are pleasingly colourful and mix traditional design with a contemporary feel. A courtyard pool and indulgent spa provide the perfect spots for unwinding after a day's exploring. Highly recommended.Local exploring - Ideally placed to access the historic sights of Thanjavur.Sights nearby - Visit the famed Brihadeeshwara Temple, a Unesco World Heritage Site.Cooking classes - Learn how to make regional dishes in the hotel's cooking classes.Full of characterRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Visalam 15 rooms from $176Kanadukathan
Eco-friendly historic mansion, with pool and library, a secluded spot to relax and soak up regional culture. The hotel restaurant allows you to taste the flavours of Chettinad, the culinary capital of Tamil Nadu. Rooms evoke an atmosphere of old-world India's grace and timeless elegant grandeur.Sights nearby - 6.2 miles from the famous Thirumayam Fort and 9.3 miles from the ancient Ayanar Temple.Remote - Off the beaten track.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRomantic - Good for couples.
La Villa, Puducherry 6 rooms from $184Pondicherry, Puducherry
A chic retreat on a sleepy street in Puducherry’s charming Old Quarter. With beautiful rooms, delicious French food and a lovely rooftop swimming pool, this is a haven of calm and tranquillity.Outstanding location - In heart of old townRestrictions on children - Must be 16 or overSwimming Pool - OutdoorLocal markets - Good for local colour.