Chettinad, South India, India

Dating from the early-20th century, the mansion once ranked among the grandest hereabouts, featuring an unbelievable 126 rooms. Most impressive of all is the pillared Marriage Hall, floored with shining slabs of black-and-white Italian marble.

Elaborately decorated ceilings and ornamental tiled floors adorn the otherwise simply furnished rooms, which open on to a common balcony from where you can watch village life go by below. Meals of authentic Chettinadu food are served on banana leaves on a sociable courtyard terrace. Your welcoming host, Mr Chandramouli, is a mine of information on the local area: ask about bullock-cart rides to nearby villages and temples.

Our opinion

An authentic Chettinadu experience with superb cuisine and comfortable rooms.

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