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A French colonial settlement until 1954, Puducherry (or Pondicherry) proudly displays its continental heritage. Affectionately referred to as ‘Pondy’ it boasts a much more tranquil stay than frenetic Chennai. The French Quarter in particular is awash with quaint boutiques lining the neatly cobbled streets. Our pick of the best places to stay in Puducherry provide the best in character and cuisine.
Capturing the laid back bohemian feel of the city the Old Town is in our opinion the best place to stay. Not suffering from the ubiquitous congestion of other Indian cities, why not hop on your bike for a great way to explore the town.
Set back from the seafront begin at Goubert Avenue before cycling along the promenade passing crumbling churches and temples along the way.
Thanks to the French missionaries Puducherry boasts some of the country's best collections of cathedrals. From the eldest, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, completed in 1791, to the lavish Sacred Heart Basilica, both are well worth a visit. You cannot miss the twin towers and dome of the Notre Dame des Anges.
Another welcome hangover from the French is the excellent cuisine. Satsanga in particular serves some excellent fusion cuisine, whilst La Pasta does what it says on the tin and is ideal if you are just after some comfort food.
Whether or not you are interested in the art of meditation a visit to nearby Auroville is a must to witness the impressive gilded orb (reminiscent of a giant golden golf ball) around which the ashram is situated. Excellent locally made cheese, jams and handicrafts are also sold here.
Further afield, if you fancy an utterly relaxed beach break then Nagapattinam is as peaceful as it gets and foodies will appreciate a visit to Chettinad: the culinary capital of Tamil Nadu.
Around a four-hour drive from Pondicherry, Tanjore is worth a nights stay if you are interested in its well-stocked museums and historic temples.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Puducherry all reflect the culture of the region whilst providing a comfortable stay.
For a character stay
- Evocative of the character of the region Maison Perumal does so in a traditional manner
- whilst Villa Shanti juxtaposes traditional décor with modern accents. Boutique hotel fans will love both.
- Le Dupleix is ideal for those looking for character. Think black and white tiled floors, period exterior and four poster beds.
- Famed for its restaurant serving a blend of Creole and Continental dishes, Hotel de l’Orient is known throughout the town.
For a romantic getaway
- With just six rooms, all made for lingering, expansive bathrooms, private terraces and candlelit dinners La Villa is designed for romance. Treat that special someone to an unforgettable stay.
- Palais de Mahe oozes colonial charm plus it boasts a pool for cooling off after a day's exploring.
Still not sure which to book? From coastal to character browse through our list of the best places to stay in Puducherry to start to plan your trip. Nothing that fits the bill? Widen the net and check out all our recommended properties in Tamil Nadu or contact one of our friendly gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Puducherry
Hotel De Pondicherry 13 rooms from $44Puducherry
Nineteenth century family home turned welcoming guesthouse stay. Le Club restaurant serves Indo-French dishes cooked with love. Rooms are simple yet colourfully decorated with plenty of black and white photographs and curios on the walls. Excellent value in a great location.Local exploring - Located in White Town, Pondicherry's historic district, and just moments from the beachValue chic - Heritage accommodation at an excellent priceLocal markets - Take a walk down Baker Street and pick up some freshly baked pastriesSights nearby - The famous Sri Auribindo Ashram is a must visit
Hotel de l’Orient 16 rooms from $52Puducherry
This 18th century property displays the best in colonial architecture. Today, full to the brim with Indian antiques: capacious four poster beds, printed fabrics, local artwork and rattan chairs. The restaurant is 'Exotic Marigold' worthy, achingly quaint and serves Creole and Continental dishes.Hideaway - Whilst there is so much to do and see in Pondicherry, the rooms are so large and inviting you will want to set up camp in them.Great walks - Wander around the picturesque French Quarter with its inviting cafes and period buildings.Sights nearby - You cannot visit Pondicherry without seeing the Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple.Romantic - Good for couples.
Le Chateau 18 rooms from $52Puducherry
Located in Pondicherry's quaint French Quarter, Le Chateau but adds to the area's charm. Original features such as checkerboard flooring and wood-framed windows complete the look. There is a lovely roof-top restaurant with views across the Bay of Bengal.Families - Great value for the family - young children stay freeLocal exploring - Located in the French Colony of PondicherrySights nearby - Sri Aurobindo Ashram, centred around the striking Matrimandir
Mango Hill 14 rooms from $60Auroville, Puducherry
Simple yet chic, rooms feature private balconies overlooking a sparkling pool. This bijoux property has many of the facilities of a resort hotel: a spa, pool and great food, all for a fraction of the cost. A little bit of French charm in Tamil Nadu.Spa breaks - Comprehensive Ayurvedic spa providing in depth treatments such as Panchakarma and much moreValue chic - Great food, location, boutique rooms and an inviting pool - all at under £50 a night!Foodies - A huge selection of homemade French cheese - plus delicious fusion cuisineSights nearby - The alien-like Matrimandir is a must visit
Le Dupleix 14 rooms from $70Puducherry
White period facade, black and white tiles, four poster beds: this property ticks all the 'character' boxes. Fusion decor compliments the fusion menu, which consists of Indian and French dishes, served in an atmospheric dining room. You are within walking distance of Pondicherry's main attractions.Sights nearby - Visit Auroville and the impressive Matru Mandir.Great walks - Along Karaikal beach is an idyllic stroll.Four poster beds - For romantics.Full of character
Villa Shanti 15 rooms from $91Puducherry
This boutique offering has a combination of trendy modern and retro chic bedrooms. Colourfully tiled floors, hindi motifs and locally produced fabrics. The menu, serving gourmet fusion dishes in an open air restaurant, is well renowned in town. An ideal stay for your young couples or small families.Great walks - As the name suggests, Promenade Beach is a wonderful walk.Sights nearby - Old Church, just 100m away, is well worth a visit.Local markets - The Sunday Market is just a ten minute walk away.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.
Maison Perumal 10 rooms from $107Pudicherry, Puducherry
This intimate hotel combines contemporary comfort with sophisticated elegance. Airy rooms are classically decorated in a colonial style with ceiling fans and wooden furnishings. Accents of vibrant colour punctuate the colonial French decor, adding a Tamil influence. Simple and stylish.Diving - Temple Adventures dive and surf centre in PuducherryGreat walks - Take a heritage walking tourSights nearby - Manakula Vinayagar templeLocal markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - I Escape
Palais de Mahe 18 rooms from $120Puducherry
Palais de Mahe perfectly echoes its setting; with simple elegance and colonial charm this hotel is the perfect base for exploring the surrounding area. Rooms are spacious and airy; classically decorated, with wooden furniture, simple white linens and smooth painted floors. A slice of history.Surfing - Temple Adventures dive and surf centre in PuducherryLocal markets - Goubert marketSights nearby - Ganesha TempleRomantic - Good for couples.
La Villa, Puducherry 6 rooms from $184Pondicherry, Puducherry
A chic retreat on a sleepy street in Puducherry’s charming Old Quarter. With beautiful rooms, delicious French food and a lovely rooftop swimming pool, this is a haven of calm and tranquillity.Outstanding location - In heart of old townRestrictions on children - Must be 16 or overSwimming Pool - OutdoorLocal markets - Good for local colour.