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Groovy Pondicherry, a union territory on the coast of Tamil Nadu in south India, is an enticing place to splurge on a hotel. If you have some cash to splash, you can stay at a beautiful beachfront resort just outside of town. Alternatively, there are plenty of atmospheric small hotels and guesthouses along the Pondicherry Promenade (bordering Rock Beach), and in the historic French Quarter next to the Promenade. These popular hotels in Pondicherry are near the beach and cater to all budgets.
Note: If you're traveling with family or friends, check out Serenity Beach and Auroville Beach north of town for seaside cottages and villas with multiple bedrooms (many are listed on Airbnb).
Rejuvenating: The Windflower Resort and Spa
If you're don't mind staying out of town, the luxury Windflower is located around 20 minutes drive south of Pondicherry, between the tranquil backwaters and ocean at Little Veerampattinam village. It's perfect for those who are looking for a peaceful beach getaway. The resort has 51 rooms and villas. There's a swimming pool, and spa that offers fabulous rejuvenating massages and body treatments.
- Rates: From about 6,500 rupees per night.
Family-Friendly: Le Pondy
A little further south of The Windflower, Le Pondy is a modern resort with the backwaters on one side and private beach access. The property is spread over 14 acres and has 70 rooms including eight presidential pool villas, eight luxury pool villas, 12 sea view rooms and 42 lake view rooms. Facilities include restaurant and bar, wellness center and spa, swimming pool, health club, library, games rooms, and kids' play area. This makes it an appealing resort for families.
- Rates: About 8,500 rupees per night upwards.
Eco-Friendly: The Dune Eco Village and Spa
The rustic Dune Eco Beach Hotel is one of India's top eco-friendly hotels and an inspiring hotel for artists. Set on a sprawling 35 acres of land fronting the beach about 30 minutes north of Pondicherry, it offers lots of privacy. The concept is unique: 55 cottages, all with a different designs from various artists and architects around the world. Many have been decorated by the artists in residence. Free bicycles are provided to ride around the property. There's a swimming pool and organic garden. It's pet friendly as well.
- Rates: From about 5,500 rupees per night.
Something for Everyone: Tanto Far Beach Retreat
Tanto Far Beach is a peaceful Auroville property that has 23 rooms in seven houses, spread over 8 acres with a 350 meter sea frontage about 20 minutes north of Pondicherry. Whether you're a large family of ten who would like a villa with a private pool, or a solo traveler looking for a budget room, there are accommodations to suit everyone. Many rooms have sea views and balconies. Some have kitchenettes. The property also has a chlorine-free salt water swimming pool, garbage free beach with showers, Italian restaurant, spa, and children’s play area. Do note that the surroundings are natural, so expect numerous birds and bugs.
- Rates: From 1,200 rupees per night to 17,000 rupees per night, depending on the size of the room or cottage. Breakfast is included.
Luxury Ocean Views: The Promenade
The Promenade is a luxury boutique hotel that's situated, as you'd expect from its name, right on Pondicherry Promenade opposite the statue of Gandhi. It's decorated in modern French style and has a fabulous rooftop restaurant with sea views over the Bay of Bengal. Plus, a happening new architecturally designed lounge bar called The Storyteller's Bar that holds live music performances. Excellent service, courteous staff, delicious food, and a swimming pool also make this place a winner.
- Rates: About 8,000 rupees per night upwards.
Budget Ocean Views: Lotus Bay View
Lotus Bay View is a popular budget option directly across from the beach. It has 15 reasonably priced rooms spread across four floors, some with private balconies and sea views, but no restaurant (room service is available though). An appealing thing about this hotel is that it has large suite rooms for families.
- Rates: It's often possible to get a sea-facing room with balcony for under 3,000 rupees per night. The standard rooms are priced at around 1,200 rupees per night upwards.
Heritage Ocean Views: Villa Bayoud
It's all about location at this characterful heritage villa. It has an enviable position on Rue Saint Martin adjoining Pondicherry Promenade, not far from Sri Aurobindo Ashram, with some airy sea-facing rooms and a lovely garden courtyard. Unfortunately, it's not in the best condition though. The furniture is quite old and amenities are lacking. There's no restaurant on the premises but there are many excellent ones near the hotel, including 24-hour Le Cafe on the beach.
- Rates: From about 3,500 rupees per night. It's worth paying extra for a sea facing room.
Small and Intimate: Cours CHABROL
An intimate and relatively new hotel with 11 rooms, Cours CHABROL is enviably located right on Pondicherry Promenade with the French Quarter just behind it. The property is small but clean and comfortable, with helpful and efficient staff. The main drawback is that it doesn't have a restaurant, although room service is available. However, the views make up for it!
- Rate: Expect to pay 5,000 rupees per night for a deluxe sea facing room, including breakfast. Other rooms are cheaper.
Heritage Luxury: Palais de Mahe
Palais de Mahe is a gorgeous CGH Earth property on Rue de Bussy in the French Quarter, a block and a half from Pondicherry Promenade. It's undoubtedly the best hotel in the area and guests say it's impossible to find fault with it. The hospitality is superb, as is the renovation, which reflects the heritage grandeur of the property. There are high ceilings, deep verandahs, colonial-style furniture, and brightly painted pillars. The courtyard features a plunge pool and there's an Ayurvedic massage center as well. The restaurant is very popular.
Heritage Budget: Dumas Guesthouse
Dumas Guesthouse is a quaint 19th century French Colonial mansion in the French Quarter, just around the corner from Rock Beach. It's a great location. The homely guesthouse has seven airy rooms with patios and a lush garden, making it ideal for those looking to relax and unwind in a quiet environment. You'll love retreating to this oasis.
- Rates: 3,250 rupees per night including breakfast.
Boutique Bed and Breakfast: La Closerie
Go a step up from budget guesthouses a street away from the Promenade at La Closerie on Rue Dumas. The owner has carried out a stunning renovation and redesign of this old colonial mansion, hidden behind a bougainvillea tree. It's been turned into a boutique bed and breakfast with eight modern rooms (some have a mezzanine level with an extra bed), quality furnishings, interesting ornaments and art, and plunge pool with Jacuzzi. value for money. Do note that this place isn't suitable for large families or young children.
- Rates: From about 4,500 rupees per night including breakfast.
Best Value Budget Stay: L'Escale
L'Escale has to be the best value budget stay in the French Quarter. Located on Rue Dumas, just around the corner from Pondicherry Promenade, this boutique guesthouse is newly renovated and attractively decorated in French provincial style. The rooftop terrace has a view of the ocean and breakfast is served there in the mornings. All rooms are air-conditioned and have very comfortable beds. They don't have TVs though, and there's no restaurant or room service. However, there are plenty of places to eat in the vicinity.
- Rates: From 1,800 rupees to 2,950 rupees a night. It's worth paying the extra money for an upper floor room to avoid people walking past your window. You'll get a balcony too.