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Best Heritage Hotel: Palais De Mahe – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"A stunningly restored French colonial building with warm yellow walls, white columns, arches, and wooden balcony railings."
Best Eco-friendly: Dune Eco Village and Spa – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"The health center offers Ayurvedic treatments, Western massages and hot water therapies, and holds yoga and meditation sessions."
Best Budget: L’escale – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Spacious rooms contain simple but tasteful décor and come with air conditioning and private bathrooms."
Best Mid-Range: Villa Shanti – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"The hotel has a well-regarded restaurant, which serves locally-inspired dishes focusing on seasonal freshness and quality."
Best for Families: Le Pondy Beach Resort – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Activities include a pool with a swim-up bar and hot tub, games such as pool and ping pong, and outdoor sports like badminton."
Best for Couples: Bonjour Bonheur Ocean Spray Resort – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Rooms have open-air Jacuzzi tubs, private infinity pools, exclusive patio terraces, and piers jutting into the lake."
Best Luxury Boutique: Gratitude at Pondicherry – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"A restored private residence dating over 150 years with décor artfully selected to display the heritage of the region."
Best Location: The Promenade – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"The main pool is set within a sunken courtyard set with marble and mosaics and creates an invitingly intimate atmosphere."
"Each room is unique, yet all of them convey a smooth, minimalistic tone with a comfortable hominess."
Best Rooftop: Villa Du Ocean – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"The patio looks directly out over the Our Lady Of Angeles Church, the historic town center, and towards the horizon."
Best Heritage Hotel: Palais De Mahe
Set just 55 yards (50 meters) from the waterfront in the historic city center, the Palais De Mahe is a stunningly restored French colonial building with warm yellow walls, white columns and arches, and polished wooden balcony railings wrapping around an inner courtyard. Inside, the tall windows and period furnishings such as hand-carved beds and armchairs contribute to the elegant vibe. The courtyard is mostly occupied by the pool—large enough to swim laps—with space left for sun loungers and the Earth Café, which serves up drinks and light meals. A small Ayurvedic center offers herbal massages and therapies. Guests can ask the hotel to arrange experiences such as guided walks and rickshaw rides. The Le Alizes restaurant is literally the property crown, set on a rooftop terrace with open-air and sheltered seating and views over the ocean and the city skyline.
Best Eco-friendly: Dune Eco Village and Spa
Overlooking wide empty beaches and surrounded by unspoiled nature, the Dune Eco Village and Spa is an idyllic retreat located just a 20-minute drive north of Pondicherry. Uniquely created by architects and designers from all over the world, the 60 suites and bungalows—scattered around 35 acres of organic gardens and grounds—are made to minimize their environmental footprint. The health center offers Ayurvedic treatments alongside Western massages and hot water therapies and also holds yoga and meditation sessions. Other activities, ranging from cow milking and pottery classes to sports such as badminton, surfing, and diving, can be organized by the hotel staff. Two restaurants serve food made from home-grown vegetables.
Best Budget: L’escale
Situated directly on the promenade in the historic White Town, L’escale occupies one of the most desirable locations in the city and is one of the best-value choices available. A notable feature is the rooftop bar with sweeping views across the Bay on Bengal. Filled with homey wicker furniture, it is a great spot to start the day with a French breakfast of brioche and croissants, fresh juices and fruits, and organic muesli. Spacious rooms contain simple but tasteful décor and come with air conditioning and private bathrooms. L’escale also offers useful services such as laundry and ironing, currency exchange, bicycle and scooter rentals, and help with arranging activities and day trips.
Best Mid-Range: Villa Shanti
The Villa Shanti is a modern hotel, with large, airy rooms filled with textiles and built around a well-lit courtyard. Massages can be provided in guest rooms or the Wellbeing Room, which also hosts yoga classes. Complimentary bicycles are provided. The hotel has a well-regarded restaurant, which serves locally-inspired dishes made with a focus of seasonal freshness and quality—and there are great vegetarian options. Diners can eat within the air-conditioned restaurant or on the patio. The restaurant also offers a Continental or Indian breakfast in the mornings, and there is a café bar that serves sandwiches, salads, and other snacks as well as beverages throughout the day.
Best for Families: Le Pondy Beach Resort
Set on the expansive and near-deserted sands of Paradise Beach 20 minutes south of Pondicherry, Le Pondy Beach Resort has plenty of opportunities for outdoor exploration and play both within the resort and in the wider area. The open-plan, colonial villa-style buildings allow the fresh sea breeze to enter the dining areas, common rooms, and lounges. There are views of the grounds, beach, and ocean at every turn. Rooms have the choice of sea or lake views from private balconies, and villas come with private pools. On-ground activities include a main pool with a swim-up bar and hot tub, table games such as pool and ping pong, and outdoor sports like badminton. There’s even a playground for younger children.
Best for Couples: Bonjour Bonheur Ocean Spray Resort
Situated 20 minutes north of Pondicherry and with a 15-minute walk to the beach, Bonjour Bonheur Ocean Spray Resort does not offer convenient access to sights or nightlife but is an excellent choice for couples looking for a tranquil oasis. Set around a large freshwater pond lined with lush vegetation, the resort offers relaxing water views throughout the property. The rooms and villas have indulgent modern furnishing. Guests can choose from rooms with open-air Jacuzzi tubs, private infinity pools, exclusive patio terraces, and piers jutting into the lake. A large free-form pool has plentiful private nooks and cabanas lining the edge. The flagship Lotosas restaurant sits in the pool as though floating on the surface for a magical dining experience.
Best Luxury Boutique: Gratitude at Pondicherry
Despite being located in the center of downtown just two blocks from the waterfront, Gratitude at Pondicherry provides a secluded retreat for discerning guests. A lovingly-restored private residence dating back over 150 years, Gratitude's furniture and décor have been artfully selected to display the French, Creole, and Tamil heritage of the region. With just eight rooms set around a garden courtyard, the atmosphere is exclusive and peaceful, with a strict no-child policy. Relaxed social interaction is encouraged in the lounge and library rooms—stocked with books and board games—while electronics are discouraged to preserve the atmosphere. Visitors will find day beds, yoga mats, and massage rooms in the courtyard. The hotel provides a morning breakfast and can recommend local dining spots for lunch and dinner meals.
Best Location: The Promenade
Situated directly on the promenade in the center of the historic French Quarter, the Promenade provides easy access to the many museums, memorials, and restaurants nearby. It also overlooks the splendid Bharathi Park, filled with leafy trees, lawns, and a playground. The hotel is new and modern, reflected in the highly-polished floorboards and the minimal yet colorful décor of the spacious guest rooms. Some of the finest dining in town is found here, with the Blueline creating a diversity of delicious dishes throughout the day and the rooftop Bay of Buddha offering panoramic views. The classic Storytellers Bar and the stylish Risque lounge have two distinct drinking spots. Although small, the main pool is set within a sunken courtyard set with marble and mosaics and creates an invitingly intimate atmosphere.
Best Rooms: La Closerie Bay of Bengal
With white, angular columns and walkways crowded around a small pool courtyard, La Closerie Bay of Bengal has an ultra-modern design. This impression is best displayed in the impeccable style of the rooms and suites. Each room is unique, yet all of them convey a smooth, minimalistic tone with a comfortable hominess. Rooms range from intimate loft spaces for couples to adaptable spaces for families. The pool and courtyard are small but with comfy armchairs and day beds. There is no onsite restaurant, but the hotel's location just steps from the beach south of the White Town district means that there are several dining options within walking distance.
Best Rooftop: Villa Du Ocean
A boutique mid-range hotel in the center of downtown, the Villa Du Ocean stands out from the many similar properties thanks to its rooftop, which features a café/restaurant and a mid-sized swimming pool. The patio looks directly out over the Our Lady Of Angeles Church, the historic town center, and towards the horizon. Visitors enjoy the restaurant's range of local and international dishes, and the Infinity lounge bar provides cocktails, wines, and non-alcoholic drinks. Guest rooms are generously sized and come with sparse but elegant period furnishings that add a touch of color and character.
Best Heritage Atmosphere: Hotel de Pondicherry
A venerable French house dating back to the 19thcentury, the Hotel de Pondicherry wears its age with pride while staying impressively clean and presentable throughout. The open-air lobby creates a great first impression, displaying pastel-pink walls lined with prints and filled with artisanal furniture. Each room contains unique furnishings. The hotel hosts the Le Club restaurant, which has seating indoors and in the tropical garden courtyard and serves traditional French cuisine paired with a selection of wines. A gentleman’s club-style bar provides premium liquors and signature cocktails, which can also be enjoyed on the rooftop terrace.
Best Budget Resort: Tanto Far Beach Retreat
Just 15 minutes north of the town center overlooking a wide sandy beach and calm ocean water, the Tanto Far Beach Retreat consists of seven buildings scattered over 8 acres of trees and shrubland. Each building has its own distinct style, from modern minimalist to tropical rustic, and can accommodate solo travelers up to groups of 10 guests. The large main pool has an infinity edge and a paddling section for kids, with shaded wooden decks for relaxing. There is also a children’s play area with slides, swings, and a trampoline. An on-site restaurant serves hearty Italian cuisine on a pleasant alfresco patio. Nature lovers will appreciate that the surroundings are filled with birds, lizards, and other wildlife.