A South Indian odyssey
Culture, cuisine and serene yoga stays
5 HOTEL STAYS
14 DAYS, 13 NIGHTS
per person, including transfers
(based on two people sharing)
here for you 24/7
- Stay in luxury and boutique Mr & Mrs Smith hotels throughout (we'll always try to get you the best room or suite)
- Explore Pondicherry's colourful French mansions and lively Tamil Quarter
- Seek enlightenment at the famed Sri Aurobindo ashram
- Find your spiritual footing in Thanjavur's many temples
- Take part in an Indian cookery class with a renowned domestic goddess
- Perfect your downward dog at a stellar yoga retreat
Tamil Nadu's treasures
A little extra to start…
Days 1–3: Pondicherry
Pondicherry’s French quarter, where colonial big-wigs built still-standing grand houses, is the best base from which to explore. Formerly colonised by the French, this city's one of the few spots in India where you can enjoy a guilt-free steak, too.
HotelPalais de Mahe
StylePondicherry on top
SettingFabled French Quarter
You’ll stay at boutique hotel Palais de Mahe, right in the centre of the city's most historic quarter, for three nights. The saffron-hued, French Colonial stay has a serene pool in its inner courtyard, antique furnishings in rooms and extremely helpful staff.
Smith ExtraTwo dinners for the price of one in Les Alice
Pondicherry city tour and cookery class
Guided visit to Auroville and a bike tour of Pondicherry
A little extra on the way…
Days 4–5: Thanjavur
Sacred Thanjavur has a high concentration of Unesco World Heritage monuments, including the Great Living Chola Temples.
StyleCommitted to culture
SettingTeeming with temples
Historic stay Svatma, has a museum’s worth of old-school wonders within. This garden-surrounded stay houses galleries of chola bronzes and Carnatic musical instruments, a restaurant that bursts into colour when the sun hits its stained-glass windows, and truly unique activities: veda chanting and bronze-casting anyone?
Smith ExtraA copy of the sacred Hindu text the Bhagavad Gita (translated into English by Annie Besant) in a special gift-box
A historian-guided temple tour, traditional art lesson and jewellery-making and sari-wrapping experience
Days 6–8: Karaikudi
Karaikudi is a municipality in Tamil Nadu, which is home to magnificent residences, all dressed to the nines.
StyleRacked with spice
You’ll stay for two nights at historic boutique hotel Visalam, which has been lovingly restored to its former marble-clad, art deco-influenced glory by the descendants of its former, merchant prince owners.
Smith ExtraTwo-for-one dinner in the main restaurant
Private tour of Karaikudi
A cultural tour of Chettinad
Days 8–9: Rajakkad
Your next stop sits high, very high, in fact – 1,000 metres above sea level – in the Palani Hills of the Western Ghats: the petite village of Rajakkad. This hilly spot is densely covered in palms and frangipani trees.
StyleRed hot coffee peppers
SettingHigh in the Palani Hills
Homey hotel Rajakkad is set amid frangipani-scented gardens. This serene stay is a former retreat for Travancore royalty, its regal heritage is evident in a marble yoga deck and lavish grounds. Guests can hike, laze in hammocks and sip locally-harvested coffee to their heart’s content.
Smith ExtraA packet of Rajakkad’s home-grown pepper for each guest
Hiking in Rajakkad
A little extra before Bangalore…
Days 10–14: Bangalore
Bangalore’s leafy surrounds make it a mellow spot to stay in; beyond the city limits, it's meditative and magical – the ideal spot for a little spiritual enlightenment.
SettingBucolic Bangalore countryside
Secluded stay Shreyas Yoga Retreat is laser-focused on wellness: guests spend most of their time meditating or detoxing; meat and alcohol are banned in favour of yoga sessions and Ayurvedic treatments. The restorative surroundings certainly speed up your inner well-being, with a large pool to do laps in, trees hung with lanterns and open yoga pavilions.
Smith ExtraA cooking lesson with the chef and a visit to the local school to share your new-found skills, or, a tour of the local temples
When to go
The heat in the south is sultrier than the desert north; lush greenery and a coastal climate mean the monsoon season lasts a little longer, from May to October. From late November to early March, the south sees sunshine without the scorching temperatures.
You’ll need to book flights to Chennai International, which can easily be reached from all over the world. The Smith24 Team can book these for you on request. There are direct flights from London, and flights from the US arrive via Mumbai or Delhi. Flights from Asia and Australasia stop over in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. Inland travel is by train (in a first-class carriage, of course) and air-conditioned car with an English-speaking chauffeur.
Bring your yoga gear (getting bendy is a big deal here), a temple cover-up, and a cache of electronics, books and portable speakers to make the long transfers whizz by.
MORE THAN A TRAVEL AGENT
We’re the travel club for hotel lovers – and we go above and beyond to tailor-make trips worth writing home about. From booking through to check-out and beyond, we'll ensure you have a trip to remember
SMITH EXTRA ON ARRIVAL
Enjoy extras such as a picnic lunch, champagne or spa treatments, on the house
Here for you 24/7 0330 100 3180
How can I trust Mr & Mrs Smith's hotel choices?
A hotel or experience has to be genuinely special to make it into a Mr & Mrs Smith itinerary. The Smith team has to have ensured that any inclusions meet our high standards before they'd consider adding them to our exclusive packages.
How do I book?
Either call us on 0330 100 3180 or get in touch using one of the inquiry forms attached to the itineraries.
Do I need to pay a deposit, and when is the full amount due?
Costs vary depending on your chosen itinerary; however, all require a 50 per cent deposit on booking to secure your place. The balance must be paid 30 days before your planned arrival date.
What's the cancellation policy for itineraries?
Please refer to our terms and conditions page for our full cancellation policy.
What if I want to add on a few extra nights or arrange a special meal? Can I add on a waterskiing lesson? I've always fancied that… And can we stay in the honeymoon suite instead?
We may have to get back to you about the waterskiing, but no problem; we can create a bespoke itinerary for you, and our travel specialists can recommend some of the area's more unique activities.
Terms and conditions
What's not included
Found your stay for less elsewhere? We'll match the price and give you a £50 voucher.
Free Smith Extras on arrival
From a bottle of champagne, to a spa treatment or a cookery class, you’ll get a little extra thank you with every booking
Here for you 24/7
Personal service from Smith24, our in-house travel specialists, 1 800 464 2040
Every hotel is reviewed by undercover tastemakers (and their partners)