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Svatma is a new hotel in the city of Thanjavur, which was formerly known as Tanjore. The hotel is a wonderful old family residence that has been lovingly restored in traditional Tamil style and there are just 38 rooms in total, seven of which are in the original building.
No two of the rooms are the same, with some having verandas or sitting areas, but all have lovely wooden floors and an attractive blend of antique and contemporary pieces and paintings.
Despite the intimate scale of the hotel, there are still two restaurants and a lovely veranda café. The main event is Aharam Restaurant, which serves high quality tapas-style vegetarian Tamil cuisine from an open kitchen with views over the pool. Nila is a more relaxed restaurant on the roof terrace specialising in light, healthy and again vegetarian cooking. Palaharam is the place for proper coffee and Tamil tiffin snacks such as delicious dosas, served on the lovely veranda.
The Arogyam yoga centre is staffed by an expert team of instructors who can look after expert or novice yoga practitioners alike and create a programme of asanas or meditation techniques accordingly. Meanwhile the Soukyam luxury spa has four treatment rooms where therapists offer a range of massages and other treatments. After a pampering session guests can also use the Jacuzzi.
Last but not least, the passionately owners lay on a range of classes, talks and even themed stays about Tamil Nadu's rich cultural heritage from dance to the state's excellent cuisine.
Why we love it
Because even the most committed carnivore will quickly learn that vegetarian cooking can be completely delicious.
Frances, Original Traveller