Pondicherry is a little bit of France left over in India and nothing typifies it better than the non-hotel from the Neemrana stable, Hotel de l'Orient.
The erstwhile crumbling 18th century French Ministry of Education building was painstakingly turned into a wonderful building of charm and warmth in a restoration effort that won it a UNESCO prize in the early 90s. It is at once a slice of India's colonial history with hundreds of antiques, bric a brac and period furniture that bring 250 years of French and Dutch presence alive --as well as a 21st century escape where you can slow down to this wonderful area's own little pace.
While the hotel itself is small and has no gardens or grounds, the obvious advantage is the location as it is bang in the middle of the atmospheric little French quarter with its boulevards, quaint French colonial architecture, boutiques and hip little cafes and is just a minute's walk away from the blue, blue Bay of Bengal. Stroll around in the mornings to the Aurobindo Ashram's many buildings close by where you can also pick up embroidery, batik and knick knacks and end the day shooting the breeze along the promenade on the waterfront.
When my mother and i visited in 2009, it was lean season but we found top-end service and fabulous French food in the most warmly intimate of little settings --a small patio or a dining room with antique maps of the area. The rooms vary in size --as for all Neemrana heritage places-- and you would do well to check individual rooms before you book. But if you want an affordable little getaway with a slice of Indian's unusual and offbeat history, this is the place to get it...we would go there again!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Only a French flirtation with India’s bewildering diversity could have produced the refined and elusive magic of ‘Pondicherry’ which contains the magic of the whole Orient in one name. Now, this French 18th century coastal lifestyle in India is brought alive again in a home which is a virtual art gallery with etchings and hand written postcards all over its walls. Recreated in high-raftered ceilings with savonnerie rugs and easy chairs to lounge away the afternoons. Four poster beds – (one accessed by three stairs ! ) – to help you recreate your past with dreams. Savour a French mansion full of Indian warmth. Enjoy fine Creole eating where Tamil spices mix with subtle French under-statement to titillate the palates of gourmets. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel De l Orient
- De l Orient Hotel