Finding the best hotels in Tamilnadu can be tricky. There are hundreds of choices but you can’t always trust the pictures and reviews online. Read on for help finding and booking the best Tamilnadu hotels.
Visited relatively little compared to India’s northern provinces, Tamilnadu can be a fantastic destination for tourists looking for a unique India experience.
(Don’t miss: Our guide to Tamilnadu restaurants and South Indian food) →
So read on to learn…
How to Find the Best Hotels in Tamil Nadu (and Avoid the Worst)
What’s in our guide to hotels in Tamilnadu?
1. How to Say Hotel in Tamil
2. Tips to Book Hotels in Tamilnadu Online
3. Your Tamil Nadu Hotel Check-in Checklist
4. Hotels in T.Nagar Chennai
5. Mamallapuram Hotels
6. Pondicherry Hotels
7. Chidambaram Hotels
8. Trichy Hotels
9. Yercaud Hotels
People are extraordinarily friendly in Tamilnadu (even in the big cities) and you won’t be harassed as much as you might be in Northern India. It’s also less crowded than many states and there are fewer tourist scams to look out for.
Tamilnadu is the only place we’ve visited in India so far, and we were surprised by just how different it is to the India we’ve heard and read so much about.
Tamilnadu Tourism Hotels
One thing that surprised us was the difficulty in finding good, budget-friendly accommodation in Tamilnadu.
For those of us who are used to going online, looking at a few pictures, reading some reviews, and then clicking “Book Now”, looking for hotels in Tamilnadu can be a bit of a shock. There are more hotels rated in the 6.0 to 7.0 range than I’ve seen anywhere else in the world – but the prices aren’t cheap enough to make up for the bad reviews.
How to Say Hotel in Tamil
Wondering how to say hotel in Tamil?
The word “hotel” is written like this:
It is pronounced “Viṭuti” in Tamil.
It’s nice to learn some of the local language, but we found that everywhere we went, locals spoke English as well as Tamil.
Note that sometimes the word “hotel” in English can mean “restaurant” and sometimes it means a place to sleep. So if you find a hotel and they only serve food, don’t be confused!
Tips to Book Hotels in Tamilnadu Online
Unlike in other regions of the world, it seems as though the big hotel booking sites don’t have comprehensive hotel listings for Tamilnadu.
Instead, many hotels are on just one online booking site. This means that you have to search several sites to find the best hotels.
A couple of sites to check if you are looking for Tamilnadu tourism hotels are:
Just be warned. The pictures and descriptions of Tamil Nadu hotels online rarely mathed the hotels AT ALL in real life. Often, the pictures online seemed to be of the hotel when it was brand new, and now it’s 10 years later, with no maintenance (or cleaning) in between.
There are zillions of hotels available in Tamilnadu, even in the smaller towns. However, many of them are also filthy, uncomfortable, and insalubrious places to spend the night. So book early or you might miss out on the few places that are well-priced and welcoming.
We found our best hotels in Tamilnadu the old fashioned way. We just showed up in town and then pounded the pavement until we found a good one.
If you don’t want to spend half of your trip to Tamil Nadu going in and out of different hotel rooms, use our guide to finding the best Tamil Nadu hotels.
Your Tamilnadu Hotel Check-in Checklist
Always go through this checklist before you check in to your hotel in Tamilnadu. You really can’t tell by the outside what the room and the services will be like.
- Does the WiFi work? Test it before you check in if being online is important to you. More often than not it doesn’t work or just barely does.
- Are the bed sheets clean or are they covered in stains?
- Is the bathroom decent?
- Are the windows securely closed and without any gaps or spaces to the outside? (This is to keep mosquitoes out).
- Is the bed reasonably soft and solid?
- How much street noise is there in the room?
- Does the room smell like open sewer or mothballs?
- Is it an 11am checkout or a 24-hour checkout (meaning you have to check out 24 hours after you check in)?
Recommended Hotels in T.Nagar Chennai
We chose to stay in the T.Nagar area of Chennai because it is close to Pondy Bazaar and we needed to shop for new clothes. It’s a bustling busy district with an excellent selection of stores, hotels, and restaurants.
If you’re trying to book budget hotels in Chennai online, in addition to the site listed above, you can also check Oyo. Oyo Rooms reviews independent hotels and allows them to join the site only if they meet the requirements (like having clean linens, free WiFi, AC rooms etc).
Oyo Rooms also has listings for some of the other big Tamilnadu cities, like Madurai and Trichy.
The budget hotel chain FabHotels is also a good bet in Chennai.
If you’re looking for cheap hotels in Chennai’s T Nagar district, this FabHotel is an excellent budget choice. Right near the famous shopping district Pondy Bazaar, FabHotel Pearl is quiet with comfortable rooms.
Plus, it looks much better than the average budget hotel in Tamilnadu. If it had been open when we were in Chennai, we definitely would have stayed here.
Pebbles Serviced Apartments
This popular serviced apartment has a central location, just 800 m from Pondy Bazaar, while the US Embassy is only 1.6 km away. Just be aware that these aren’t really apartments – just big hotel rooms, so you won’t have a kitchen or living room! The rooms are clean, spacious, and convenient, in a secure modern building.
Treebo Majestic Inn
When we were in Chennai, we stayed at another Treebo location (Treebo Bluten) which was fairly nice but now has not-great reviews online. The Treebo Majestic is newer, well-reviewed, and very close to Pondy Bazaar. Room rates also include a buffet breakfast.
Where We Stayed in T.Nagar Chennai
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend either of these hotels in Chennai but thought you could still benefit from our experience at them!
OYO Flagship 321 T Nagar, Pondy Bazaar
The only OYO hotel we managed to stay in during our time in Tamil Nadu was this one in Pondy Bazaar, which I chose because it’s in the center of the shopping district. Sadly, it wasn’t nearly as “boutique” in real life as Oyo Rooms seemed to promise.
- Great location (if you like to be in the heart of the action)
- Really nice owner and extremely helpful staff
- Decent free breakfast
- Close to several good restaurants
- It’s on the third floor of an India “mall” which opens right onto the street – it didn’t feel very secure and the building itself was filthy and a little depressing
- The rooms are pretty run down – they don’t look like they do on the OYO Rooms website
- Could have been much cleaner
- WiFi is slower than molasses in February
Treebo Bluten, T Nagar, Chennai
On our return to Chennai, I decided that our one OYO Rooms adventure was enough, so we went slightly more expensive at Treebo Bluten, also in the T Nagar area.
Treebo Bluten is on a quiet side street lined with upscale homes – one of the quietest spots we saw anywhere in Chennai. It is in quick reach of the shopping and restaurants of Pondy Bazaar and spitting distance from the Apollo Medical Clinic should you need any medical assistance.
As with almost everywhere we stayed in India, Treebo Bluten would have been much improved by a woman’s touch (sexist maybe, but so darn true). However, it was clean and comfortable, with a decent bathroom, WiFi that usually worked, and good air conditioning.
The staff were on hand to help us with every need — except for that early morning we came down to find them all asleep in the lobby.
Silver Moon Guesthouse, Mamallapuram
We are so sad we didn’t choose the Silver Moon Guesthouse in Mamallapuram. We stopped by while in town and, in contrast to our shabby accommodations, Silver Moon looks like it has been well maintained and frequently cleaned.
The prices were cheaper too, and the rooms are bright and seemed comfortable. To top it off, the staff at this guesthouse and cafe were pleasant and helpful.
Where We Stayed in Mamallapuram – Hotel Ramakrishna, Mamallapuram
First, let me just say, DO NOT STAY HERE. I’m not linking to it so that you don’t make the mistake we did.
Hotel Ramakrishna wins the award for “least like its internet profile”. The room we stayed in is actually shown on their Booking.com profile. It’s just that instead of new furniture, sparkling white sheets, and stylish wallpaper as is shown online, the room had a blood-stained blanket, dingy grey sheets, mildewing paperless walls, and a filthy bathroom instead.
In 2006, Mamallapuram was hit by the tsunami that devastated so many locations in the area and the Hotel Ramakrishna has obviously not been refurbished since. All of this would not be so terrible if the hotel were not so ridiculously overpriced. They added 25% at check in for taxes and “service fees”, too. Yuck.
If you need a guidebook for Chennai, we suggest one of these:
This little hotel with a single room on each floor is as close to a boutique hotel as we saw in India. It’s very well-run and maintained, with more charm and personality than your average Indian hotel.
The owner is friendly and full of good advice, while the hotel dog will charm you until you get sucked into showing her some love (after which she’ll never leave you alone). The WiFi is tremendously slow, as is to be expected in Tamil Nadu, and stopped working altogether at frequent intervals.
The breakfast was underwhelming, but the breakfast lounge on the rooftop has gorgeous views of the Bay of Bengal. There’s also a comfy lounge area where you can spend lazy afternoons enjoying the sea breeze.
La Closerie, Pondicherry
If you want to go upscale in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry is the place to do it. Directly across from L’Escale is La Closerie, and every time we walked by we practically drooled over the colonial mansion and quiet courtyard pool. If you’re in the mood for some old world luxury (for around $60/night), La Closerie is the place for you.
Vandayar Hotel, Chidambaram
We think Vandayar might be the best hotel in town, but it was still fairly rotten – literally, parts of the bathroom walls were rotting away and the bathroom door looked like it had been recently rescued from the garbage dump. The bath towels looked like they should be taken immediately to said dump.
Here’s a little video walkthrough of Vandayar I made one day when I stayed home “sick”.
Our bed was decent and the sheets were almost white. Of course, we got the cheapest room, which was still on the high end of our budget (around $35 per night). If you want a little extra comfort, check out their deluxe rooms; they are in a different wing and perhaps they have been more recently refurbished.
Either way, bring earplugs. The Vandayar Hotel is directly across from the bus station, where bus horns sound on an endless loop all day and much of the night.
The restaurant at Vandayar serves a tasteless buffet breakfast with soggy medu vada and uninspiring curries. They also had the distinction of making the worst tea and coffee we’ve ever been served.
The major selling point of Vandayar is the WiFi, which was excellent and speedy – the only decent WiFi we encountered in India.
Other Hotels in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu
We didn’t look at any other hotels in Chidambaram, but if you want to go a bit easier on your budget, Hotel Akaysha might be worth a look.
Tiruchirappalli / Trichy Hotels
After a few wrong turns trying to book hotels in Tamilnadu online, we decided to just arrive in Trichy and find a hotel the old-fashioned way – legwork. Turns out we didn’t have to use our legs too much.
The first place we saw after getting off the bus was Hotel Vijey, a modern construction set back from the road. We could tell it had promise because out front, two men were working hard to put up a brand new bamboo fence. This led us to believe that other glorious maintenance work had been done around the place in recent years.
(You won’t really understand why that’s a big deal until you’ve stayed in some of India’s old hotels. It seems many were put up by some well meaning soul in another century and then left to stand and rot while management still somehow convinces people to stay there.)
We saw two of the least expensive class of rooms, and both were spotless, with modern fixtures in the bedroom and bathroom.
If you have the cash, do yourself a favour and opt for a second-floor room to avoid the stench of the first-floor hallway, where an open sewer drain is located. If you’re broke like us, hold your breath whenever you leave your room!
WiFi does work in the room, but it’s molasses slow. Free (really delicious) breakfast.
There are lots of decent-looking options for hotels in Yercaud, but you should forget about all of those and reserve a room at Rams Inn. By the time we arrived here, I had learned not to even hope that the hotel would resemble its internet pictures or be anything more than just a place to keep our stuff and sleep.
Rams Inn Yercaud came as a huge surprise. It is better than it looks online and has wonderful views of a jungle-like coffee plantation outside. Also, it is managed by the nicest man we’ve met at any hotel in India.
Not only that, but all the light fixtures work, the walls have been recently painted, the linens are spotless, and the bathroom is clean and modern. It almost seems too good to be true.
As I write this I am looking out the window onto a gorgeous green hillside and listening to the evening chorus of frogs. Just magical.
I hope this guide to finding the best Tamilnadu hotels was helpful! We found once we got the hang of it, we were able to find the best hotels at reasonable prices. Let us know if you have a recommendation for hotels in Tamilnadu!
♥ Happy mindful adventures, Jane & Stephen
It’s easy to help us keep this blog going! Some of the links in this post are our personal affiliate links. If you book or buy something using one of the links in this post, we’ll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Of course, we would never recommend anything we didn’t 100% believe in! Huge thanks in advance! –S&J