An eco-friendly beach resort in Pondicherry
On the outskirts of Pondicherry, almost right on the beach is this offbeat beach resort whose purpose seems to be to defy categorisation. Spread over 35 acres of lush gardens, the Dune Eco Village and Spa is akin to a self-sustaining community that allows you to switch off from the rest of the world for the period of your stay.
The accommodation on offer—62 bungalows and rooms in all—truly sets this beach resort apart. Each room and suite is unique, designed by various architects, artists and designers from all over the world. All rooms are furnished with furniture reclaimed from old Colonial houses, Chettinad palaces and Kerala planters’ mansions, done up in bright colours and filled with offbeat arts and crafts. The bathrooms, whether open-air or closed, are all luxuriously proportioned and fitted.
There are the eco beach huts, made of bamboo mats, casuarina trees and woven coconut palm leaf roofs. Located close to the beach, with their own private gardens, these nature-cooled eco-bungalows are equipped with solar water systems, low consumption bulbs and organic linen. Even within these there are variations, including two stilt bungalows with walls made of lighted flex material printed with a surrealist picture collage! Then there are air conditioned brick and thatch structures with open-to-the-skies bathrooms, garden villas in contemporary design, traditional Kerala style wood houses, a compressed mud house, a villa in the Chettinad style and multi-room wood and tile secluded family suite.
The most impressive rooms, however, are the two “Granite” suites. If you have visited temples in Tamil Nadu you would have seen many pillared granite structures there. These suites are built within three such ancient structures, called ‘Chatrams’, reclaimed from Mahabalipuram, Tanjavur and Coimbatore. Glass panels have been used to enclose the structure and these have been converted into completely unique bedrooms.
Enjoying the design and architecture is just one of the activities here. The two restaurants serve gourmet food with ingredients straight from the in-house organic garden and poultry and diary farm or sourced from the local fishermen. Another feature that sets this property apart is the in-house Deepak Chopra Healing Center, a 12,500 square meter facility that offers a wide variety of therapies.
Price: Rs 5,500 to Rs 17,000 (includes accommodation and breakfast for 2 for a night)
The food at the Dune Eco Village and Spa is sourced locally, from its in-house organic garden or from local farmers. The seafood is sourced directly from local fishermen. Solar water heating is used both for the rooms as well as the pool. Solar energy is used for street lighting. Waste water is recycled and used for the gardens. Recycled building materials have been used for construction as much as possible. A school run by the hotel provides vocational education to the local kids.