Let’s start from where we left off in the last post – at Maison Perumal, Pondicherry…
We arrived in Pondicherry tired and hungry from our walk at Gingee fort. Though in the heart of the city, Maison Perumal is located in a quiet lane; we made our way through the narrow road lined by cars and bikes on both sides; we spotted the hotel, but no place to park our vehicle.
The building was a G+2 structure standing right on the road side. Considering it is a hotel and since it is our first time in Pondy, in our sheer ignorance, we were expecting a driveway of some sort, like all hotels😊. Is this the place? There are only two parking spots in front of the hotel, both were occupied. But the website said, there was parking available(..and there is 😊…read on!). We parked in front of the adjacent under-construction building and entered the hotel.
While browsing online for a hotel to book in Pondicherry, I selected this hotel simply because I fell in love with its colourful interiors; with the bold hues of red, purple, yellow, orange etc. the place looked elegant and had an old world Tamil Chettinad charm.
The first thing you notice is the Kolam (Tamil calligraphy) outside on the road in front of the main door; drawn freehand with rice flour, everyday.
Step onto the verandah or thinnai (in Tamil) of the hotel and you feel a sense of calm.Then you notice the floor done in brilliant red oxide; the narrow passage from the verandah opens to a inner room with an open courtyard and here you break into a smile and say…….yes this is where I want to stay. Its beautiful😘!!
While completing the check-in formalities, we were treated to a cool ginger and lemon drink, cold face towels and garland of fragrant jasmine and pink flowers, whose name I do not know – couldn’t have asked for a better welcome.
Shakti, manning the reception that day, asked us if it was our first visit to Pondy? Yes we said. He then went onto explain a bit about Pondy and gave a few suggestions on what we could do. We lapped it up happily and made plans. Meanwhile our stomachs were growling and it’s been sometime since our body refuelled, so after dumping our bags in the elegant rooms, we head for the in-house restaurant.
The restaurant has flooring of yellow oxide😘…and is situated around another open courtyard. Hubs was sure that the roof of the courtyard has a transparent cover of some kind, else, rains would create a mess. I was skeptical and we tried peering above to see if there was any covering on top of the courtyards (we got our answer the next morning!!)
Fed and happy…what next? It was late in the evening and we were eager to step outside. Head to the Beach road? We asked Jaison at the hotel for directions; straight ahead, walking distance of 10 minutes. We were off.
Saturday evening and the promenade was full of people; the road is closed to vehicles in the evening. Also called Goubert Avenue or Rue Goubert (Rue is French meaning street), we walked from the War Memorial at one end to the statue of Joseph Francois Dupleix, the Governor-General of French India at the other end.
Edouard Goubert was the first Chief Minister of Union Territory of Puducherry; a person of mixed descent (French Indian), was elected to the French National Assembly in 1951. After decolonisation and merger with India, he was elected the first CM of the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
In-between there is the Gandhi statue in mid-stride, we saw a local music concert, a fair in a makeshift tent, a skit in progress, gangs of school children out on excursion…..there was plenty going on !!
The beach road also had some impressive govt. buildings, few were illuminated; in addition to hotels, eateries. Treating ourselves to an ice cream at the nearby Baskin Robbins store to make up for the lost calories, we walked back to our hotel.
A new day, a new Kolam…
The courtyard within the hotel is open to the skies😀…and the proof, the wet tables at the restaurant from a light shower in the night.
The breakfast was a treat, the food is made to order and we loved it. Starting with seasonal fruits, eggs made to order, followed by a South Indian breakfast selection of idli, dosa or uthappam and finally South Indian special filter kappi (coffee).
Post breakfast, we were off to discover Pondy and was back at the hotel in the evening for dinner. Dinner was lip smacking affair. But before dinner I had a little mehndi done on my hands by Thomitha, a member of the staff.
And then…..came the cake…🎂. It’s was the kid’s birthday🎉. The staff also left a card in the room, signed by everyone in the Maison Perumal team, lovely gesture😊.
Two nights here and we were checking out the next day. They have additional parking space with security near the beach. Also you can avail the spa facilities and the swimming pool at their sister concern hotel Palais De Mahe.
Later we saw that it was a common feature of all the heritage buildings in Pondicherry – lacking car park, wall to wall construction and opening directly to the roads.
Maison Perumal is a boutique hotel with 10 to 15 rooms maybe, the hotel itself is a work of art; restored from a dilapidated building into a Tamil Chettinad style home; the staff – extremely helpful, the service is outstanding, location is great and fantastic food…a great place to stay and we would come back again given a chance😘.
More about Pondy in next post….💮💮💮