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Cool Hotels: India, Maldives, Sri Lanka    by Kim Inglis, Jacob Termansen & Pia Marie Molbech order for
Cool Hotels
by Kim Inglis
Order:  USA  Can
Periplus, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The photographs (by Jacob Termansen and Pia Marie Molbech) in Cool Hotels: India, Maldives, Sri Lanka are numerous and enticing, tempting the reader to nip out and book a trip to some of these cool hotels in very hot places. Kim Inglis's introductions to nearly forty hotels only make the armchair traveler's feet itch more. She showcases 'chic urban resting holes, modish rustic retreats, sybaritic sea-sand-and-sun resorts, even a private island or two' and introduces them by region - North India, Rajasthan, Goa, South India, The Maldives, and Sri Lanka. They all 'dare to be different' and, as made clear from their photos, they're 'ravishingly photogenic'.

New Delhi's marbled Imperial (where staff outnumber guests 3 to 1) is splendid. Agra's colonnaded Amarvilas looks magical, with views of the Taj Mahal. There's a spa resort (Ananda) in the Himalayas, that would be my first choice (but then I love mountains). Vanyavilas, adjacent to Ranthambhore National Park, provides luxurious air-conditioned tents. Samode Palace, near Jaipur, where The Far Pavilions was filmed, has superb frescoes, while Rajvilas recreates a Rajasthani fort (Bill Clinton stayed there apparently). On to Goa, where the Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel, in 'a colonial Portuguese palette', overlooks the Arabian Sea. Heading south, Inglis takes us to the Verandah in the Forest at the hill station of Matheran, and the soothing Shalimar Spice Garden Resort in Murikaddy, near the Periyar Tiger Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary. The views of the 'eco-friendly' Coconut Lagoon in Kumarakon look spectacular.

I've always wanted to visit the Maldives, and would happily stay at any of the hotels featured here - like the 'Barefoot and fancy free' Soneva Fushi Resort and Spa - or sail on the 11-cabin catamaran Four Seasons Explorer, a floating resort. Sri Lanka's choices include the 'back to basics' Ulpotha Sanctuary, the open-plan Elephant Corridor in Sigiriya, the Tea Factory near Nuwara Eliya, plus private holiday homes. Though no prices are mentioned, email contacts and website addresses are provided for each resort. I recommend Cool Hotels as a beautiful book, full of exotic architecture and delightful destinations, that will tempt you to travel.

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