Saratha Vilas

Top choice boutique hotel in Chettinadu

A different Chettiar charm inhabits this gorgeously renovated, French-run mansion from 1910, 6km east of Kanadukathan. Rooms combine the traditional and the contemporary with distinct French panache; the food is an exquisite mix of Chettiar and French; and there's a chic saltwater pool. Most furnishings were personally designed by the knowledgable architect owners, hugely active players in the preservation of Chettinadu heritage.

They're also founders of local conservation NGO ArcHeS.