STAY: HOTEL DE L'ORIENT, PONDICHERRY

I fell head over heels in love with this Neemrana gem in Pondicherry.

My friend Hayley and I lasted approximately twelve short hours in a “treehouse” outside Auroville and walked around Pondicherry’s French Quarter desperately looking for a cute place to stay. We stopped looking when we got to Hotel del’Orient (incidentally the first place we looked at), an atmospheric heritage hotel with sixteen charming, differently sized and decorated rooms on rue Romain Rolland, only a short stroll from the ocean promenade.

Our room at this beautifully restored 18th century colonial mansion had a four poster bed, gorgeous peeling lithographs and a barely concealed bathroom (albeit less sexy when travelling with friends).  I love the shared areas of the hotel, kitted out with gorgeous antique furniture and Savonnerie rugs, the leafy central courtyard atypical of French buildings in Pondicherry and that breakfast although modest was served in the sort of ceramics the region is known for.

I’d recommend Hotel de l’Orient to anybody visiting Pondicherry. It's quaint and perfect and the restaurant Carte Blanche is a worthy spot to dine even if you’re not staying here and serves up fabulous creole dishes - a unique melange of French cuisine with Tamil spices and ingredients. (But just stay here.)

17 Rue Romain Rolland, Pondicherry 605001