Tamil Nadu, India

Rajakkad

Rates from (ex tax)$115.84

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (INR9,600.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

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Style

Red hot coffee peppers

Setting

High in the Palani Hills

Ravishing Rajakkad was built in the 18th century for Travancore royalty; luckily, you don’t need ruling rights in order to wake up here. Some of its charms are centuries-old – those rugged Palani Hill views for example; some are a little more modern in the making: a marble yoga pavilion that surveys the mountains; romantic rooms starring beds dressed in brushed-cotton; a cosy dining room with candles and cane furniture. Instead of TVs, iPods and reliable internet, Rajakkad distracts with wild blooms, shaded terraces, tempting hammocks and pearly tadelakt bathrooms, some of which spy on the gardens – a horticultural triumph.

Like what you see? Stay here while on one of our Indian adventures… 

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A packet of Rajakkad’s home-grown pepper for each guest

Facilities

Photos Rajakkad facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Seven.

Check–Out

10am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 1pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $115.84 (INR7,500), excluding tax at 28 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (INR9,600.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast: pick from Continental, Indian or a mixture of the two (plus stellar coffee, grown onsite and freshly ground). If you’re here between December and March, enjoy free morning yoga sessions.

Also

In another life, Rajakkad went by the name of Pallam Palace: its ornate 18th-century structure has been twice dismantled, twice transported and twice reassembled. The fact that it’s still standing today is testament to the team behind it.

Hotel closed

The hotel usually closes for a few weeks in August or September, taking its cue from the weather (dates vary annually and are announced nearer the time).

At the hotel

Gorgeous gardens; marble yoga platform with mountain views; farm; tranquil rain pavilion; library stocked with historical, architectural and botanical books pertaining to India; free WiFi in communal areas. In rooms: organic bath products; sliding doors that open onto the shared gardens.

Our favourite rooms

Unsurprisingly, given that the building was originally used by South Indian royalty, there are no dud options. We love Kattaikadu for its rose-garden views and plumptious bed; Kanalkadu for its lush lawn and wild fig tree. Each of the rooms has direct access to the garden via sliding doors.

Packing tips

Bring binoculars for the birdlife and comfy togs for yoga (Rajakkad has a resident yoga guru and runs yoga retreats between mid December and mid March). A thirst for coffee and a fondness for pepper will come in handy.

Also

Embrace the wibbly WiFi and use it as an excuse to switch off, if only for a few days.

Children

This hotel is designed for adults. Little Smiths aged between 10 and 15 can come too, but only between October and late March. Pipe up in advance if you’d like an extra bed (there’s space for one in every room).

Eco‐friendly

The hotel occupies a 40-acre organic coffee-and-pepper plantation, meaning most of its fruit, veg and herbs are grown onsite. Dairy comes from Rajakkad’s farm (minus cheese, which is made locally).

Food and Drink

Photos Rajakkad food and drink

Top Table

Enjoy breakfast on your private, tree-shaded terrace. (You can ask to have all your meals in the dining room, but then you’d miss out on the morning breeze, melodious birdsong and garden views.) At dinner, pick a place at the candlelit communal table.

Dress Code

You’re in an 18th-century Indian palace – emeralds and embroidery wouldn’t go amiss. That said, Rajakkad is as relaxed as you like, so wear whatever pleases you (or your companion/courtesan).

Hotel restaurant

Instead of a formal restaurant, Rajakkad has a relaxed dining room and a roster of talented chefs, who whip up breakfast, lunch and dinner starring produce from the onsite farm. Expect light, flavour-packed South Indian cuisine, with occasional Mediterranean leanings. Hop from western and Indian flavours at breakfast (home-made bread with wild honey, followed by dosas, idli and pongal with different chutneys, for example); enjoy vibrant salads and soups at lunch, followed by paneer curry, poriyal (vegetable dishes) and other local treats at dinner. Additional items for your must-try list include: banana stem with kidney beans; banana-flower vada; wild mushrooms and wild spinach. Vegetarians will be in heaven; sweet-tooths will love the western cakes (we tried a toothsome lemon-syrup number).

Hotel bar

There’s no formal bar as such (and no flirtinis here), but drinks are served with dinner.

Last orders

No strict timings apply: breakfast is usually available between 8am and 10.30am; lunch is 1pm–2pm; dinner kicks off around 8pm.

Room service

None – it’s not that kind of joint. That said, we’re pretty sure that you could request a cup of coffee in your room around the clock...

Location

Photos Rajakkad location
Address
Rajakkad
Manjelparappu, Perumparai PO
Dindigul
624212
Dindigul
India

Planes

Madurai Airport is 80km away (a two-hour drive); hotel transfers can be arranged (INR5,000). Tiruchirappalli International Airport is further away – three hours by car – but both can be easily reached within India, thanks to frequent domestic flights.

Trains

Dindigul Junction station, an hour’s drive from Rajakkad, is a major stop on the main line from Chennai, heading down to the southern peninsula. There are frequent trains both day and night; the hotel will happily organise transfers to and from the station (INR3,000).

Automobiles

Dindigul is the closest town, an hour’s drive away. The hotel has plenty of onsite parking; it’s worth bringing a car if you’re adventurous types, keen to explore the surrounding hills, villages and mountains. Hire wheels in Madurai or Tiruchirappalli.

Worth getting out of bed for

Thanks to the hotel’s lofty perch – and resultant cooling breezes – conditions are ripe for exploring, whatever month you come here. Let Rajakkad’s estate-guide take you on upriver walks through rocky gorges and across view-graced escarpments, or on excursions to nearby coffee plantations and surrounding hills, where you can cool off in waterfalls and quiet pools. If you’re a fan of picnics, rejoice: the surroundings are ripe with possibility (and the hotel will pack you up a delicious hamper, if you ask nicely). Spend some time admiring the local bird life – there are more than 200 migratory and indigenous birds to be spotted in this part of Tamil Nadu. Visit the local villages in the late afternoon when the temperature drops and things get lively – temple festivals, wedding ceremonies and local trading, for example. Use Rajakkad as your boutique base for trips to the hill station Kodaikanal and its plains and temple towns, including Madurai and Palani. If you can tear yourself away from Rajakkad, set off on a day trip in the early morning (you’ll love returning ‘home’, afterwards). If you can’t bear to budge (we wouldn’t blame you), just go for a stroll in the gorgeous gardens to admire the green-fingered owners’ handiwork; stake out one of the hammocks, too. Between mid December and mid March, make the most of the hotel’s yoga programme, run by resident guru, Hortario Perez.

Local restaurants

Rajakkad doesn’t have any near neighbours; instead of eating and drinking out, make the most of the delicious South Indian food on offer in the hotel’s dining room.

Reviews

Photos Rajakkad reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this historic hotel in Tamil Nadu and unpacked their coffee beans and pepper, a full account of their hill-country break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Rajakkad in Kerala…

It was probably quite tiring being Travancore royalty. Maharajahs in the 18th century were responsible for more than 2,950,000 unruly subjects and a swathe of India that spanned more than seven thousand square miles. Enjoy all the trimmings of autocratic splendour, minus the headaches and histrionics, at regal Rajakkad – AKA Pallam Palace – which was built more than 200 years ago for South Indian royalty. The ornate wooden structure has retained its original splendour; the owners of Rajakkad have cleverly added splashes of spice-rack colour, pretty tadelakt bathrooms and insanely beautiful gardens that give every celestial flower-patch – even you, Eden, Nandana and the Garden of Hesperides – a run for their money. Wake up and smell the roses (and the coffee beans) on this 40-acre pepper-and-coffee plantation, whose bountiful produce stars in the dining room’s delicious dishes. Try yoga on a marble, mountain-view deck, laze in a plant-fringed hammock or unwind with a book on your tree-shaded terrace… it’s what the Travancore would have wanted.
 

The Guestbook

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