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Le Colonial, Cochin 

See the India Guide ›
1/315 Church Square
Vasco de Gama Square
Fort Cochin
India 682001
Tel: 91 484 221 7181
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

With the assistance of the Neemrana group of heritage hotels, John Persenda, a collector of colonial art, has undertaken a labor of love to restore this sixteenth-century Portuguese governor's residence as an exquisite eight-room hotel filled with antiques and museum-quality art relating to India's colonial history. The house's exterior and overall proportions, including walls as much as three-and-a-half feet thick, have been painstakingly conserved, and there has been no compromise on the quality of replaced materials, which include teak doors and floorboards. The bathrooms are sumptuous, with top-quality fixtures and fine art on the walls. Meals can be taken in the shaded walled garden overlooking the small pool or in the formal dining room. The public rooms are resplendent with invaluable colonial-era art, including seventeenth-century Dutch oil paintings, portraits of East India Company men such as Robert Clive, French cartoons, and Daniell watercolors. Renowned Cartier-Bresson photographs of Nehru and the Mountbattens provide a coda and silent commentary on the colonial era.

—2008 Hot List

When to go: From October to mid-December and late January through March, the crowds and prices lessen while the humidity is still tolerable.

Which room to book: The second-floor Jan van Spall Suite, named after the last Dutch governor of Cochin, has a veranda and the best view, enhanced by soothing sounds of water splashing into the pool.

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