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Palais de Mahe is an au courant take on the rich French culture and ancestry that swathes Pondicherry, with its white and mustard façade. Just two streets back from the seafront of the Bay of Bengal, not only is this boutique hotel conveniently located, but also benefits from a cool sea breeze - not something to be taken for granted in the intense heat of Indian summer.
As you step beyond the cool pillared walkways and into your bedroom, it is the tall ceilings that you will notice first. But that's not the only feature that suggests grandeur and French elegance. Each of the 18 guest rooms at Palais de Mahe are appointed with colonial inspired furnishings, spacious bathrooms and sea views, while modern convenience is not compromised with its fitting of new amenities.
Your day in the French Quarter begins with breakfast on the terrace: a choice of made-to-order cooked breakfast and South Indian delicacies. Later in the day The Mahe Café is a popular tea stop for passers-by as well as hotel guests needing a refuel in the form of an aromatic beverage and une petite amuse-bouche or two. The blend of rich Indian flavours and fine French cuisine continue to delight well into the night in the hotel's restaurant, Mahe de Malabar. Bon appetite!
The quiet central courtyard of the hotel is dominated by the swimming pool offering a welcome escape from the heat of the Indian days. If the pace of Pondicherry is too much, stretch out your time in the hotel with a book from the well-stocked library or a traditional massage in the Ayurveda spa.
You don't have to venture far to feel the full rhythm of Pondicherry life. Palais de Mahe is a short amble from the famed promenade and the Aurobindo Ashram, through streets shrouded with unrivalled architecture and local eateries - hardly the worst place to get lost.
This boutique hotel is so aptly named Mahe after a tiny French enclave in the Arabian Sea.
Frances, Original Traveller