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There is little reason not to head south before nightfall, but if you really must stay in the city, Muthoot Plaza remains (in our opinion, anyway) Trivandrum's best hotel -- it's more intimate and has a classier ambience than even the brand new Taj Residency (C.V. Raman Pillai Road, Thycaud; tel. 0471/661-2345), which has sleek modern rooms and a host of business facilities (and big halls to host weddings for the city's biggest and brightest families). Rooms facing the large, underutilized pool cost Rs 8,500 double, but the cheaper city-facing rooms (Rs 7,500) actually give you something more interesting to stare out at. An altogether more engaging option, and within walking distance of the Muthoot (should you feel the urge to rush off for an air-conditioned meal) is Varikatt Heritage, a green oasis off bustling Puynnen Road. This is the best homestay in town, filled with quality antique furniture and presided over by the welcoming Colonel Roy Kuncheria, who enjoys playing the gracious host to a handful of guests. Each of the Colonel's three advertised rooms open onto the front veranda, so make sure you get one of these; there's also another room facing the courtyard, which is less appealing (tel. 0471/233-6057 or 98-9523-9055; www.varikattheritage.com; roy@varikatt.com; Rs 3,000 double, Rs 3,500-Rs 4,500 suite). Budget travelers just looking for a decent en-suite room for the night should head for Ariya Nivaas Hotel (tel. 0471/233-0789; www.hotelskerala.com/ariyanivaas), an office-block-style hotel that offers good, clean air-conditioned lodging conveniently located near the Central Railway Station for under Rs 1,000. Staff is friendly and can help with travel arrangements. The hotel has a decent restaurant and a useful 24-hour checkout policy. It's often full, so book in advance.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.