The Luxe List 2009, India: Pod Hotel, Chennai

The opening of this 20-room property has set new standards for boutique hotels in India.  Situated on Chennai’s most fashionable street, the Pod, owned by local tastemakers Vikram Phadke and Atul Malhotra, is a spirited celebration of design, from its glass-encased reception area to its individually decorated rooms. Guest quarters look out onto a central courtyard, where an ancient rain tree shades B&B Italia loungers, a dramatic mosaic-tiled pool, and oversize red planters. Combining European style with Indian accessories, the rooms feature graphic artworks by Delhi-based design studio Illum, which was also commissioned to adorn the elevator with whimsical touches. The Sky Lounge & Bar and the Absolute restaurant, which showcase chef Michael O’Neill’s California-meets-Thai cuisine, have already made their mark with Chennai’s smart set (23/13 Khader Nawaz Khan Rd.; 91-44/4295-5555;; doubles from US$202).

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