How to reach Pondicherry
The nearest airport is at Chennai (170km/3-plus hrs, depending on traffic). Cabs from Chennai charge Rs 4,000 one way. SpiceJet used to connect Pondy to Delhi via Bangalore but some locals guess it wasn’t viable. The Pondicherry airport closed down indefinitely this past June. Weekly superfast trains connect Pondy to Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore. Non-AC bus services (Rs 97 per ticket) ply every 15mins from the Central Mofussil Bus Terminus in Koyambedu, west Chennai; AC bus connections can be found on www.redbus.in (about Rs 450 per ticket).
Pondicherry's hospitality for conservation ethic has resulted in a clutch of boutique properties.
The posh La Villa (from Rs 13,500; 11, Rue Surcouf; 0413-2338555; lavillapondicherry.com) is the most remarkable recent addition. This small (only six rooms), elegantly designed and thoughtfully managed property appears to have set its heart on being the über-exclusive counterpart of its better known sister Villa Shanti (from Rs 7,800; 14, Suffren St; 4200028; lavillashanti.com), now recommendable also for its patio-garden restaurant and focus nicely on fresh and seasonal food.
La Marina (from Rs 1,500; 56A, Rue Romain Rolland; 4300333;
lamarinapondy.com) is managed with the efficiency It has free wi-fi in the rooms.
Affordable, well-meaning and decent enough, Le Escale (from Rs 1,600; 31, Rue Dumas; 93458-54445; 413-2222562; lescalepondicherry.com) also for its quiet location and clean lodgings.
The 18-month-old Red Lotus (from Rs 3,000; 48-58, Jawaharlal Nehru St.; 88703-44334;
redlotuspondicherry.com) is a stark-minimalist, clean and quirky.
The Dumas Guest House (from Rs 2,500; 36, Rue Dumas; 2225723; dumasguesthouse.com), has been refurbished. The accommodation as well as bathrooms are pleasantly simple, clean and spacious. Room No.6, a kitchen in its past life, its chimneys and low arches retained cleverly to one side, is the most charming.
Villa Bayoud (from Rs 2,000; 5, Rue Saint Martin; 0413-2227426; villabayoud.com) has nice enough rooms on the ground floor, adjacent to the garden with smart bathrooms and classic Madras ceiling, but Rs 1,000 more would be well-spent on the balconied sea-facing rooms to the rear, which stand directly upon Pondy’s famous Goubert Avenue.
The Windflower Resort and Spa (from Rs 6,500; Survey No.198/1,198/2, Manavely Revenue Village, Maraimalai Adigal Street; 2603200; thewindflower.com/pondicherry) is a 10min boat ride from a clean beach in the outskirts of Pondy ‘proper’ and features spacious rooms with big bathrooms, cheery rain showers and sit-outs, which makes it a family-friendly spa resort.
The Sunway GRT Grand (from Rs 3,500; 155D, 100 Feet Road; 2281608; grthotels.com/pondicherry), part of the small hotel chain owned by the well-known jewellery brand, is liked for its accessible location, nice swimming pool and friendly service.
Aitken Spence’s Atithi (from Rs 4,200; 126, SV Patel Salai; 2345000; atithipondicherry.com) is also another popular addition to Pondy’s ever-growing catalogue of hotels, this one on an arterial road, equipped with standardised mod cons and reliable service.
(All rates for doubles, not including taxes; some hotels offer breakfast as part of the tariff)