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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

Svatma: a serene and cultured bolthole in historic Tanjore

Our name means ‘one’s own soul’ and reflects the hotel’s focus on wellness in the widest sense of the word…

By Vaibhav Pai
Operations Manager at Svatma

Svatma means ‘one’s own soul’ and reflects the hotel’s focus on wellness in the widest sense of the word. The food in our fine-dining restaurant, for instance, is all organic, Tamil vegetarian and mostly homemade, and we also have somewhere casual on the verandah for coffee, juices and gourmet snacks, plus a rooftop bar. The products in the spa are also as natural as possible: we make our own scrubs and facial products using ingredients such as coconut, rice, herbs and essential oils.  

Tanjore is known for its thousand-year-old Chola temple, but Tamil Nadu has a rich culture that includes much more than temples. We provide many different experiences for our guests that are designed to nourish their minds and spark their curiosity. We have a special kitchen where we do demonstrations of some of the local dishes, a quiet corner where a qualified instructor leads a yoga class most mornings, and a small auditorium for music concerts and Bharatanatyam dance performances. Outside the property, guests can visit the workshops of traditional musical-instrument makers, bronze-statue casters and artists who specialise in Thanjavur-style paintings, for example.

The property itself is surrounded by greenery in a peaceful setting on the edge of the town, about 10 minutes by car from Brihadisvara temple. There are 34 rooms, divided between the Heritage and the Millennium block. The Heritage building is 150 years old and was used as a post office under the British before being converted by a Brahmin family into a home, and the seven rooms are full of antiques and art chosen by the architect-designer owner. Millennium is much newer, but the rooms still have a stylish heritage look.   

The famous hotels association Relais & Châteaux, which champions local cultures, cuisines and authentic environments, lists just 10 properties in India – and we’re very proud to be one of them.

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Alfred & Vaibhav Pai

Originally from Mumbai, Vaibhav Pai graduated in Hotel & Tourism Management from BHMS Lucerne in 2008. Since then, he has worked for Fern Hotels & Resorts, Radisson Hotel Group and Ambassador Hotel & Flight Catering. He joined Svatma as Operations Manager in September 2021, where he is relishing the task of achieving the highest levels of guest satisfaction and teaching leadership skills to his young and dynamic team.