The Luxe List 2011, India: Saratha Vilas, Chettinad

Built in 1905 by a wealthy merchant, Saratha Vilas is one of several Chettinad mansions that have recently been restored and converted into hotels. Known as the moneylenders to the British Raj, the Chettiars of Chettinad made their fortunes ferrying hardwood, gemstones, and lacquerware between Southeast Asia and southern India, and used the profits to build spectacular mansions across the arid farming land of central Tamil Nadu.

Built in Hindu-Tamil and Italianate architecture styles, with Burmese teak, Belgian glass and Japanese tile work throughout, this stately mansion was home to birds and monkeys before French architects Bernard Dragon and Michel Adment began a five-year restoration program. Upon arrival, guests are greeted in the grand reception hall, beyond which lies the main courtyard.

From here, the carved wooden doors and black marble floors lead to 12 simple but stylishly dressed guest rooms, each with antique art pieces and the architects’ own furniture designs; book the Victorian Suite to sleep in the finely carved mahogany bed.

832 Main Rd., Kothamangalam, Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu; 91-98/8493-6158;; doubles from US$110

See more from The Luxe List 2011.

Registered users of can also enjoy a free copy of ‘The Luxe List, 2007-2011: Five Years of Excellence.’ (Click to register—it’s free. Registered users, click to download.)

Share this Article

Related Posts

Mandarin Oriental to Debut Second Beach Resort in Vietnam

There will be just 72 suites and villas on site, alongside a cliff-top spa and three restaurants and...

The Ritz-Carlton Teams Up with Diptyque

One of Marriott’s top-tier brands has chosen the Paris-based company as its exclusive bath amenity...

Koh Samui’s The Tongsai Bay Relaunches as a Garrya Resort

It will become the inaugural Thai property of a new wellness-focused brand from the Banyan Tree Grou...

Kempinski Announces Upcoming Lombok Resort

The brand’s third Indonesian outpost will be a 200-room beachfront property in a previously undeve...

The Luxe List 2022: Best New Hotels in Asia-Pacific

From a rain forest lodge in Queensland to a converted Rajasthani fortress, read on to discover where...

Opening Soon: Meliá Chiang Mai

Leisure travelers can look forward to plenty of Spanish cuisine and the highest rooftop bar in town.