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SOUTH INDIA - Kerala fishermen

In an age-old tradition, which is surprisingly effective, local Keralan fishermen throw huge nets into the sea, then slowly pull them in, harnessing a wealth of fish in the process.

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Houseboats were traditionally used to carry grain stores up the Backwaters of Kerala. Luxuriously adapted, they now the offer the unique chance to travel these nature-filled network of waterways.

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Walk among smiley locals as you wander the relaxed streets in South India.

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SOUTH INDIA 3A Farmers In Kerala Original

An ox-drawn plough races through the paddy fields of fertile Kerala.

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A warm traditional Indian welcome, offering flowers and a blessing.

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South India Chinese Fishingnets Fort Cochin

Watching the sunset behind the iconic Chinese fishing nets in Cochin makes for a memorable experience, especially from aboard Brunton Boatyard's boat.

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Everyday life in India – you’ll be surprised how much even a tiny shop can sell; bananas, cigarettes, even gasoline!

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SOUTH INDIA Taj Falaknuma Palace Facade At Night

Feel history seep from the walls of Hyderabad's Taj Falaknuma Palace, which boasts marble staircases, lavish chandeliers and rare objects d’art. It really is as grand and magnificent as it looks – a real-life fairytale!

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SOUTH INDIA - Taj Falaknuma Palace Dining room

Dine in stately grandeur in the opulent dining room of the Taj Falaknuma Palace and re-live the history of the Nizams of Hyderabad.

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South India Tamil Nadu Tanjore Temple

The stone temples in Tanjore are decorated with bas-relief figures and make for the perfect place to shelter from the sun while watching busy Hindu temple life unfold. 

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SOUTH INDIA Private Dinning On Beach

South India has a great buzz but sometimes it’s the quiet, peaceful spots that give you the lasting memories, like this scenic dining experience in front of lapping waves at the Taj Exotica in Goa.

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400 kilometres west of the Malabar coast lies the dazzling Lakshadweep Islands. Above water, find a deserted paradise and below, discover plentiful corals teeming with colourful fish.

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Pick through the exotic bazaars of Goa to immerse yourself in local life.

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SOUTH INDIA Marari Beach 2

A glittering morning scene as the fishermen set off on Marari beach, Kerala.

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South India Swaswara

The gentle pace here means that you can rest and rejuvenate in the natural surroundings.

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Marvel at the vibrantly coloured carvings that greet you at Chidambaram, one of Tamil Nadu's most exotic Hindu temple complexes.

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Multi-tiered brass lamps are lit by worshippers in temples across Kerala.

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SOUTH INDIA - Tamil Nadu (7)

The coastline of Tamil Nadu, remote and windswept, is largely off the tourist track. Come here to discover a chilled out pace and friendly welcome.

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Locals climb the swaying palm trees with ease to pluck coconuts.

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Be enchanted by a unique lifestyle aboard your traditional houseboat, drifting up the fertile canals and lagoons of Kerala’s Backwaters.

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SOUTH INDIA - Marari Beach Resort, Mararikulam, Kerala,

For an alternative and atmospheric beach break, Marari Beach in Kerala can't be beat. This laid-back resort consistently gets great feedback from our clients.

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SOUTH INDIA - marari beach, fish basket

Rise early to experience the bustle of the morning catch coming to shore at Marari Beach. Potential buyers line the beach to choose the day’s catch straight from the fishing boats. Fresh fish is a staple part of every Keralan’s diet – often laced with fiery chillis!

 

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SOUTH INDIA - Leela Kimpinski Goa

At the Leela Kimpinski in Goa, expect staff to go the extra mile to make your day. Al Fresco dinner surrounded by water lilies and candles? Not a problem.

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Philip Kutty's Farm is a luxurious private homestay in Kerala's Backwaters which offers a peaceful eco-friendly escape, coupled with amazing Ayurvedic treatments. You’ll feel totally re-junevated after a stay here.

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SOUTH INDIA - elephants at Periyar National Park

Watch magnificent elephants take a refreshing drink in the Periyar National Park. Keep an eye out for tigers too!

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SOUTH INDIA - Goa

Set on an idyllic spit of land in north Goa overlooking the ocean, ‘Elsewhere – The Beach House’ is a simple but charming 3 bedroom Portuguese-style house with just the friendly staff, fishermen and egg-laying turtles for company… bliss.

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SOUTH INDIA - Coconut Lagoon, Kerala

Accessible only by boat, Coconut Lagoon resort in Kumarakom, set amongst glistening lagoons, lakes and coconut plantations is a seriously serene spot. 

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SOUTH INDIA - Pondicherry Church

Explore the fine colonial architecture of Pondicherry and be sure to stop by this vast Roman Catholic church, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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Gaze out at views like this from one of our favourite hotels in Goa, Ahilya by the Sea.

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SOUTH INDIA - Coconut Lagoon

Use your time in the Backwaters to gain an understanding of daily life on these sleepy Keralan waterways. In between the rice paddy fields are a criss cross of canals, which locals use for transport.

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Hotels

South India’s dramatic coastline is peppered with wild, sandy bays backed by bendy coconut trees. Nestled among them are some fabulous hotels brimming with character – from breezy Portugese-style residences, family-friendly homestays, barefoot luxury beach villas to deluxe houseboats gliding passengers through untamed Backwaters. Don’t just stick to the coast though – inland, in the fascinating and much overlooked city of Hyderabad, you will find what is arguably the finest palace restoration ever undertaken, the magnificent Taj Falaknuma Palace, and now one of the best luxury hotels in India. Browse our portfolio of hand-picked South Indian hotels, villas and resorts, listed alphabetically by location:

  • All
  • Tamil Nadu & Andaman Islands
  • Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh
  • Goa
  • Kerala & Lakshadweep Islands

Ahilya by the Sea ,
Goa

Ahilya By The Sea Goa South India 29

Tucked away at the far end of Coco Beach, just outside the quiet Goan fishing village of Nerul, Ahliya by...

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Alila Diwa Goa ,
Goa

Alila Diwa Goa Goa South India 2

Alila Diwa Goa is located in South Goa, along Majorda Beach and has panoramic views of the Arabian Sea. This...

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Ayesha Manzil ,
Tellicherry

Ayesha Manzil Tellicherry South India 1

Located in Tellicherry, Ayesha Manzil is a beautiful old colonial mansion that is well worth a visit if you are...

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Barefoot at Havelock ,
Havelock Island

Havelock Island 1

This small resort is set back in a tropical forest that borders a beautiful 2-kilometre white sand beach, quirkily named...

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Brunton Boatyard ,
Cochin

Brunton Boatyard Cochin Kerala 4

Sitting on the waterfront of Cochin Harbour, this elegant white-washed building lies within the northern shores of Fort Cochin. What was formerly a...

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Coconut Lagoon ,
Kumarakom

Coconut Lagoon Kottayam Kerala South India 1

Located on the eastern shores of Vembanad Lake, Coconut Lagoon is a palm-framed haven of relaxation, set on an abandoned coconut...

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Discovery Houseboat ,
Kerala

Discovery Houseboat Backwaters Kerala South India 2

This houseboat is a traditional Keralan experience with a rather large twist; beginning with the hull of an authentic kettuvallom...

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Elsewhere ,
Goa

Elsewhere Goa South India 8

  Elsewhere is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Beach Hotels On a totally private spit of land overlooking the ocean, separated...

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Evolve Back Chikkana Halli Estate ,
Coorg

Orange County Coorg Karnataka South India 14

Located in the hills of the Western Ghats, Karnataka, Evolve Back Chikkana Halli Estate offers a unique opportunity to experience a...

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Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace ,
Hampi

Orange County Hampi South India 2

The ancient city of Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once described as the “best provided city in the...

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Evolve Back Kuruba Safari Lodge ,
Kabini

Orange County Kabini Karnataka South India 2

  Evolve Back Kuruba Safari Lodge is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Safari Lodges in Asia. Located on the edge of the River Kabini, in...

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Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel ,
Goa

Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel Goa South India

Standing on a sliver of land at Goa's northern-most tip, where the Arabian Sea meets the Tiracol River, this gloriously...

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Houseboat ,
Kerala

Houseboat Backwaters South India

These beautifully converted Kettuvallams (rice barges) are the perfect way to explore the Backwaters. Shaded by a woven bamboo canopy...

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ITC Grand Chola ,
Chennai

ITC Grand Chola Chennai South India 6

This ornate, palatial tribute to Southern India’s greatest empires – the Imperial Cholas – overlooks the verdant foliage of Alexander...

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Jalakara ,
Havelock Island

Jalakara Andaman Islands South India 15

In the glistening blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, lies The Andaman Islands. Fringed with powder white sand and...

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Kahani Paradise ,
Goa

Kahani Paradise, Gokarna, India (21).jpg

Along the coastline to the south of Gokarna, where the cliffs of the Western Ghat plunge into the Arabian ocean,...

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Kalari Kovilakom ,
Palakkad

Kalari Kovilakom Pallakad South India

Kalari Kovilakom was once the palace of the ancient Vengunad Kingdom in Kerala, and has now been converted into a...

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Kumarakom Lake Resort ,
Kumarakom

Kumarakom Lake Resort Kumarakom South India

One of the most stylish resorts on the backwaters, Kumarakom Lake Resort succeeds in combining modern comforts and luxuries with...

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La Villa ,
Pondicherry

La Villa Pondicherry India 4

Located in the heart of the city’s old quarter this 19th century manor provides all the facilities of a boutique...

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Lake Palace ,
Periyar

Lake Palace Periyar South India

Surrounded by Periyar Lake and reached by boat, this former regal hunting lodge is now a small hotel run by...

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Lalitha Mahal Palace ,
Mysore

Lalitha Mahal Palace Mysore South India

Located just outside the city centre, this gleaming-white 1920's palace of the former maharaja was built to host his most...

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Le Colonial ,
Cochin

Le Colonial Cochin Kerala 2

Le Colonial is a beautifully restored building in the heart of historic Fort Cochin, next to St Francis Church. Dating...

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Leela Goa ,
Goa

The Leela Palace Goa South India 4

One of our favourite beach resorts in Goa, The Leela is a sumptuous property nestled amongst 75 acres of landscaped...

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Leela Kovalam ,
Kovalam

Leela Kempinski Kovalam Kovalam South India 1

Set off on a rocky promontory overlooking two golden stretches of sand, the Leela has an enviable position. Its style...

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Leela Palace Bangalore ,
Bangalore

Leela Bangalore Bangalore South India 1

This new hotel has been designed in regal style with high ceilings, chandeliers and spacious rooms. In the public areas,...

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Maison Perumal ,
Pondicherry

Maison Perumal Pondicherry South India 2

This lovely little heritage hotel, owned by CGH Earth, is one of the first of its kind to be situated...

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Malabar House Residency ,
Cochin

Malabar House Residency Cochin South India

Malabar House Residency is renowned in southern India for its individual style, blending contemporary colours and art with antique furnishings....

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Marari Beach Resort ,
Mararikulam

Marari Beach Mararikulam Kerala South India 1 (1)

  Marari Beach Resort is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Beach Hotels Hidden away between two fishing villages on a beautiful...

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MS Oberoi Vrinda ,
Kerala

MS Oberoi Vrinda Backwaters South India

The Oberoi Vrinda is an exclusive cruiser that offers a luxurious journey through the picturesque and lush backwaters of Kerala....

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Neeleshwar Hermitage ,
Neeleshwar

Neeleshwar Hermitage Neeleshwar South India 12

Tucked away in a secluded palm grove on the Arabian Sea, the delightful Neeleshwar Hermitage is one of our favourite...

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Nilaya Hermitage ,
Goa

Nilaya Hermitage Goa South India

From the moment you arrive, you know you're going to be very comfortable indeed. Ex-Parisian fashion stylist Claudia Derain and...

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Niraamaya Surya Samudra ,
Kovalam

Surya Samudra Beach Garden Kovalam South India 1

Set in 10 acres of landscaped gardens, surrounded by coconut plantations, the 21 wooden cottages of this traditional beach resort...

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Oberoi Bangalore ,
Bangalore

Oberoi Bangalore Bangalore South India

The Oberoi is located in the heart of the garden city of Bangalore, a treasure trove of traditional Indian crafts...

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Old Harbour Hotel ,
Cochin

The Old Harbour Hotel Cochin South India 3

In the heart of the sleepy old town of Fort Cochin, lies the boutique and colonial gem, the Old Harbour...

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Palais de Mahe ,
Pondicherry

Palais De Mahe Pondicherry South India 2

Opened in 2013, this extremely welcoming palatial mansion is located in the heart of Pondicherry's stylish French Quarter on Rue...

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Philipkutty's Farm ,
Kerala

Philip Kuttys Farm Backwaters South India

This private island offers a wonderful homestay experience that combines charm and character with good service and professionalism. The owners...

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Privacy ,
Kerala

Privacy Backwaters South India

Lying on the shores of Lake Vembanad, this tranquil property began with a pretty bungalow, formerly a boathouse and has...

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Purity ,
Vembanad Lake

Purity, Lake Vembanad (1).jpg

Located on the widest point of Lake Vembanad lies the peaceful hotel, Purity. This Relais & Chateaux property speaks for itself –...

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Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel ,
Mysore

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Mysore South India 8

Launched in June 2014, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Mysore is positioned perfectly overlooking the Mysore Race Course and Golf Course...

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Raheem Residency ,
Alleppey

Raheem Residency Alleppey South India 3

This is a beautiful heritage home, built in 1868, situated in an undeveloped area of Kerala. The 6 rooms are...

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Rajakkad Estate ,
Dindigul

Rajakkad Estate Dindigul Tamil Nadu 8

  Rajakkad Estate is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Secret Gems. Set 1,000 metres above sea level, in the cool foothills...

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Royal Orchid Metropole ,
Mysore

Royal Orchid Metropole Mysore South India 1

The Royal Orchid Metropole in Mysore is a heritage hotel set next to beautiful open manicured gardens. There are 24...

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Savoy Hotel ,
Ooty

Savoy Hotel Ooty South India

Ensconced high on a rising hill, this quaint property sprawls over six acres of landscaped gardens. Made up of colonial...

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Serenity ,
Vazhoor

Serenity Vazhoor South India

Surrounded by rolling hills and shady rubber plantations, halfway between Cochin and Thekkady, this wonderful, fully-staffed 1920s estate house is...

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Shreyas Retreat ,
Bangalore

Shreyas Retreat Bangalore South India

Spread over 25 acres of landscaped gardens, the retreat's tiled roofs, antique doorways and stone pillars give way to contemporary...

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Solita Private Yacht ,
Goa

Solita Goa South India 1

Solita is a family-run motor yacht which sails Goa’s gorgeous coastline and backwaters. She is the most exclusive yacht in Goa...

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Spice Village ,
Periyar

Spice Village Thekkady Kerala South India 1

Spice Village fames itself for its prime location set within the Periyar Tiger Reserve, among the rolling hills of Thekkay. Hidden beneath...

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Summertime ,
Goa

Summertime Goa South India 15

The height of sophistication, Summertime is the ideal luxury villa in Goa. Exclusive and private, a stay at Summertime will...

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Svatma ,
Tanjore

Svatma Tanjore Tamil Nadu 5

Svatma is a unique hotel in one of Tamil Nadu’s most remarkable ancient cities – Tanjore – which immerses its guests in...

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Swa Swara ,
Gokarna

Swa Swara Gokarna South India

Long stretches of beach, large luxurious villas and a state of the art yoga and ayurveda centre are just a...

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Taj Bekal Resort & Spa ,
Bekal

Vivanta By Taj Bekal Kerala South India 13

Inspired by the design of Kettivallam houseboats, and with Chitra Pothi art on the walls, Taj Bekal Resort and Spa...

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Taj Connemara ,
Chennai

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Standing proud as the only heritage hotel in Chennai, the Taj Connemara is conveniently located in the city's business district. Beautifully combining old-world...

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Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans ,
Havelock Island

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The far flung and remote Andaman Islands have finally been put on the map for those in search for the...

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Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Goa ,
Goa

Taj Exotica Goa South India 3

Located on the southwest coast of Goa, just 150 metres from the Arabian sea, this beach resort offers all the...

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Taj Falaknuma Palace ,
Hyderabad

SOUTH INDIA Taj Falaknuma Palace Facade At Night

  Taj Falaknuma Palace is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Romantic Retreats  A hotel that completely takes your breath away, this...

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Taj Fisherman's Cove ,
Mahabalipuram

Fishermans Cove Mahabalipuram Tamil Nadu 2

Built amongst the ruins of an 18th century Dutch Fortress just south of Chennai, Vivanta by Taj - Fisherman's Cove...

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Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa ,
Goa

Taj Fort Aguada, Goa, South India (3).jpg

Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, built on the ramparts of a 16th century Portuguese fort, is the first luxury...

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Taj Holiday Village Resort & Spa ,
Goa

Taj Holiday Village Goa South India

The Taj Holiday Village is a 45 minute drive from the airport and is Portuguese-Goan in style with terracotta-roofed cottages....

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Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa ,
Coorg

SOUTH INDIA - Vivanta by Taj - Madikeri,  villa

This late 2012 opening is located in the misty jungle-shrouded mountains of Karnataka. It you want to detox from city...

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Taj Malabar Resort & Spa ,
Cochin

Vivanta By Taj Malabar Cochin 10

Situated on Willingdon Island with stunning views of Cochin harbour, Vivanta by Taj - Malabar is well balanced between heritage...

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Taj West End ,
Bangalore

Taj West End Bangalore South India 9

Originally a British-run guest-house, opened in 1887, the Taj West End is situated in a lush, 20-acre garden in the...

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Talayar Valley Bungalow ,
Munnar

Talayar Valley Bungalow Munnar 1

The Talayar Valley Bungalow first started off life as the tea plantation manager’s bungalow and still today it exudes colonial...

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The Bangala ,
Chettinad

The Bangala Chettinad South India Ampersand Travel 3

The Bangala, the Tamil pronunciation of "the bungalow", is on the outskirts of Karaikudi, Chettinad's largest town. The property has...

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The Bungalow on the Beach ,
Tranquebar

The Bungalow On The Beach Tranquebar Tamil Nadu 4

This is a charming 8 bedroom hotel situated on the coast at Tranquebar, overlooking the restored Danish fort of Tarangambadi....

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The Gateway Hotel ,
Coonoor

The Gateway Hotel Coonoor South India

In the heart of rolling mountains and drifting mists, this 33-room hotel with its old-world charm offers panoramic views of...

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The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai ,
Madurai

Taj Gatway, Madurai, South India (7).jpeg

Faultlessly located on the fringes of Madurai, The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai sits on top of Pasumalai Hill offering a picture-perfect panoramic...

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The Golden Chariot ,
Bangalore

The Golden Chariot Bangalore South India

The Golden Chariot's luxuriously appointed sleeping cabins, dining rooms, and relaxation facilities provide royal comfort, security and elegance with a...

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The Leela Palace ,
Chennai

The Leela Palace Chennai South India 11

On the confluence of the Bay of Bengal and the Adyar river, The Leela Palace launched in January 2013 and...

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The Lotus ,
Neeleshwar

The Lotus Neeleshwar South India 3

The Lotus describes itself as “A houseboat of unequalled style” and we couldn’t’ have put it better ourselves. Offering a...

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The Park, Hyderabad ,
Hyderabad

The Park Hyderabad South India 1

This ultra modern hotel is one of the funkiest in Hyderabad. The Park Hotel's contemporary design reflects the city's own history...

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The Serai Bandipur ,
Bandipur National Park

The Serai Bandipur Bandipur South India 7

Built seamlessly into the lush surrounding forests, The Serai Bandipur is the perfect setting for nature lovers and those are...

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The Ultimate Travelling Camp, Kishkinda Camp ,
Hampi

Kishkinda Camp, Hampi, South India (1).jpg (1)

The first truly mobile luxury camp in India, ‘The Ultimate Travelling Camp’ offers the opportunity to experience a variety of...

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Tranquil ,
Sultans Battery

Tranquil Sultans Battery South India 1

This secluded plantation hideaway on the Kuppamundi Coffee Estate in the Western Ghats is a gem of a place, surrounded...

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Trident Chennai ,
Chennai

Trident Chennai Chennai South India

The Trident Chennai hotel is just 10 minutes from airport making it ideal for late night and early morning arrivals...

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Villa Shanti ,
Pondicherry

Villa Shanti Pondicherry South India 5

Located on Suffren Street in the old French town and hidden behind a discreet façade, Villa Shanti is home to...

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Visalam ,
Chettinad

Visalam Chettinad South India 12

Visalam is an elegant 70-year-old Chettiar Mansion which has been carefully converted into a boutique hotel in the heart of this fascinating...

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Wildernest Nature Resort ,
Goa

Wildernest Pool Goa

One of Goa’s finest nature resorts, Wildernest offers a unique contrast to the golden stretches of coastline in the area....

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Windermere Estate ,
Munnar

Windermere Estate Munnar South India 2

Windermere Estate is a charming 15 bedroom property perched on a hilltop, surrounded by a working cardamom estate. The 360...

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Client Testimonials

Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
I would recommend Ampersand without any hesitation!!! The best travel agent that I’ve ever had dealings with. Everything – from the individual care and attention in helping to plan the trip, through to the efficiency of the agents on the ground in India – was handled brilliantly. An absolutely first-class service all round.
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India

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