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Over the last century this building has played the roles of a private men’s club, guest house and place to entertain visiting dignitaries, yet has always remained in the hands of the Meyyappa Chettiar family. Still under the same ownership with many long-existing members of staff, The Bangala is now a restored charismatic heritage hotel with the warm hospitality and feel of a private home.
Each of the 25 four-poster guest rooms at The Bangala provide evidence of its rich ancestry in its blend of Burmese teak pillars, Belgian mirrors and Chettinad mosaic work. Like any family home, none of the guest rooms are the same - which adds to the old regal feel of the property. Each room is comfortably furnished with antique pieces, intricate woodwork, varying colour schemes and old photographs maintaining the hotel's heritage value.
The traditional Chettinad cuisine at The Bangala holds somewhat of a reputation and will by no means be a side order to your stay. Days here begin with a choice of eggs or local fare, accompanied by a fix of rich South Indian coffee. Later in the day, regional spices are used in innovative Chettinad-European fusion dishes that make up an ever-changing menu. The surroundings may not be as glamorous as the food, but you can feel like a VIP guest as the multi-course offerings of the day are served on banana-leaf plates around the teak table in the banquet hall, ending with a serving of Raj-era inspired desserts.
Real foodies can also partake in a cooking demo from the The Bangala kitchen, an essential pit stop for any culinary tour of South India. And there's plenty else on offer to keep you busy between over-indulgent meals. Keep the food coma at bay with a visit to the on-site gym; have a gander through the bookshelves in the library; float in the brand new swimming pool; or simply give yourself over to the hands of a masseuse in the spa.
With culture-drenched Chettinad only a short distance away, you'll be entertained with its beautiful temples, century-old architecture and un-missable antique shops, all the while stumbling upon local artisans at work making everything from tiles to sarees. Chettinad is also an ideal base for day trips to Madurai, Rameswaram, Tanjore and Trichy.
The Bangala offers the ideal combination of a cosy home stay in a top of the range service-focussed hotel.
Frances, Original Traveller