Palais De Mahe
Palais De Mahe

A French Colonial-style hotel in Pondicherry

Pondicherry may now look a little scruffy, a bit like an old Parisian who has had one too many glasses of wine and has stayed out a little too late. Yet, this Indian outpost of France has that elusive ingredient that many tourist destinations try very hard to gain—charm. A stay in a French colonial style hotel or homestay is the key to a quintessential Pondicherry holiday that also includes walks through the picture-postcard French Town filled with macaron-hued mansions, past pretty cafes and experimentative restaurants and along the welcoming seaside promenade, with quick detours to the vibrant Tamil town and Auroville further afield. Very few can hit all the right notes like CGH Earth’s Palais De Mahe. 

Every aspect of the hotel—from the ochre yellow-and-white colour and the imposing courtyard to the pillared deep verandahs and the period furniture—is ideal Pondy. This isn’t surprising, as this structure has been built from scratch by the CGH Earth Group in their quest to create the perfect hotel for this seaside town. Guests will feel like they are living in a classic colonial French mansion. Like all CGH Earth hotels, Palais De Mahe too is committed to responsible tourism.

The courtyard swimming pool is great to cool off in on hot Pondy afternoons. The rooms are exactly what you would expect—spacious with high ceilings, wood rood beams and beautiful period furniture.

The hotel is located on a quiet lane bang in the heart of the town’s French Quarter and, so, is an easy walk to every attraction in the ‘White Town’, from the numerous café’s and stores to the seaside promenade. The hotel will help organise tours, including cycle rickshaw rides and heritage walks.

Food plays a very important role in a Pondy holiday as the French heritage of this town is proudly carried forward in the many restaurants here. This is true of Palais De Mahe too. Its gorgeous rooftop restaurant, Les Alizes, offers a Kerala-meets-France menu! While there are many must try dishes, the pork chops especially is highly recommended. The seafood is also among the best in town. As with all CGH Earth hotels, local sourcing makes for variety and freshness. The chefs here personally select the day's serving from the incoming boats at the harbor nearby, planning their recipes according to the catch of the day.

Price: From Rs 18,000

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Like all CGH Earth hotels, Palais De Mahe too sources many of the products used in the hotel like fabric and linen, soaps and shampoos and handmade paper from within a 50-mile radius. Pondicherry does not have building codes to ensure that historic buildings are preserved or renovated or to ensure that new buildings stick to the French colonial style in the French Quarter of the town. Yet, CGH Earth ensured the Palais De Mahe’s architecture remained faithful to the French colonial style.