Recently I got an opportunity to visit Pondicherry. Though it was not the first time that I travelled to this beautiful place. But the thrill of travelling always makes me feel excited about visiting any place old or new, first time or multiple times. I am sure my fellow travel bugs will agree with me on this!
Well apart from the activities like walk by the beautiful promenade beech or MG Road in the evenings, being a witness to the mesmerising sunrise, visit to Paradise beach speeding through the backwaters, experiencing sheer tranquility at Aurubindo Ashram or visiting the beautiful churches that the city has to offer, this trip was made all the more special by the place we stayed at.
Hotel De’ Lorient by Neemrana Hotels
And that’s the reason, instead of writing a review about the city, I am focusing more on the Hotel itself. We had an absolutely amazing time spent at this 18th Century Mansion.
As Neemrana Hotels and its website claims, its non hotel Hotel in true sense. The property at Pondicherry, Hotel De L’orient is no exception. Here I would like to share my experiences about the property!
About the Property
Hotel De L’orient is a unique heritage property, a 18th Century Mansion which is renovated to suite the needs of modern travelers, yet retaining its rustic aura and colonial feel. This French Mansion definitely takes you back in time.
The intriguing photographs of the renovation of this beautiful place displayed at the lobby is one of the most interesting things and the photographs itself tells the story of this Mansion.
Hotel De L’orient is situated at Rue Romain Rolland street which is at a walking distance from the Promenade beach, infact the rocky beach is just few steps away and you can hop skip and jump to the beech whenever you want. The other heritage buildings, popular restaurants and the most popular Aurobindo Ashram surround this beautiful colonial building. The strategic location is its biggest plus point.
The entire building is painted white from inside; the doors, windows and arches are of colonial times. High raftered ceilings with souvenir rugs below, long easy chairs to lounge away and antic style of furniture accentuates the colonial appeal of this place. Worth mentioning is the interiors and artefacts in the room like bins, trays, buckets n mugs in the bathroom are all old style copper ones, I specially liked the antic wooden furniture of the rooms.One of the most attractive parts is the beautiful courtyard, right at the centre of the building. Surrounded by greenery, this courtyard restaurant offers a beautiful seat out area where you can enjoy your morning coffee (I loved the masala tea and cookies) or glass of wine in the evening.
Each room in the hotel is uniquely designed with the beautiful artifacts and antic furniture. Different names have been given to the rooms based on the names of French territories. Generally rooms are neat and clean.
Hotel staff is very courteous and helpful, infact before we could actually start our journey, at one point of time the trip was about to cancel and hotel payment was already done. But on speaking to the hotel manager they agreed to adjust the entire amount in our friends room incase we are not able to make it.
Restaurant & Food
There are 2 restaurants –courtyard restaurant and second inside dinning room called the CARTE BLANCHE, which is a light-hearted reference to the old maps (called ‘cartes’ in French) of South India, hanging on the walls. Spending time sitting at the courtyard restaurant surrounded by the trees and shrubs, gazing at the sky is truly enchanting experience. Though courtyard is a perfect place to sip some wine and feast on French cuisine, we loved the masala tea and cookies served at this place. Worth trying for all the tea lovers, I must say. Hotel offers continental buffet breakfast for the residents. Worth trying for vegetarians is saffron rice and pasta.
Although the service is bit slow, the staff is very courteous and ready to accommodate special requests.
You should reserve your tables in advance as evenings it may be crowded and pre occupied.
Again I loved the Piano kept at Carte Blanche and you can freely try your hands on it.
Although the amenities like swimming pool, gym and room service are not available, hotel provides tea, coffee maker at the rooms, free wifi and complementary breakfast . There is a nice library where you can spend time, also a Neemarana shop if you are in a mood for some shop
We found the rates to be reasonable with the kind of unique experience the place has to offer. We paid around 4000 per during the long weekend in the month of March. Room charges included complimentary breakfast.
Well this was one of a kind experience and I must say worth the effort. I would definitely love to visit this place again.