PALAIS DE MAHE, Pondicherry [Puducherry]
Palais De Mahe is a place balanced beautifully at the intersection of two imaginings. If the streets ,with their neat plaster bungalows and flower-decked balconies speak the patois of Colonial France, then the air, salt-laced and fragrant with spice, unmistakably places you on the Coromandel coast of India. The street signs speak several languages fluently. Historic buildings jostle against charming sidewalk cafes. Trendy boutiques stand next to sari shops. And swish design studios share space with bangle sellers, temples and bustling markets. The rooms are restrained, even slightly monastic, in a luxurious way.
The restaurant is well positioned on the rooftop, with helpful wait staff who will go out of the way to serve up what you may want outside the menu. The cuisine at Mahe de Malabar is a fusion of styles, influences and innovative plating. Traditional Indian dishes have been given a modern twist, designed to surprise the palate. Continental specials have been reinvented with a leaning towards fresh local produce, often tinged with Indian spice. The Mahe de Malabar menu also features a selection of fine wines, both imported and local, and plenty of healthy juices, crisp salads and vegetarian options. Breakfast too, offers a wide, hearty choices, with both Indian and western style a-la-carte options.
Like Pondicherry, the architecture of Palais De Mahi is faithful to a historic age. But, also like Pondicherry, the experience is laden with surprising modern twists and rich flavours. The soaring colonnades of the hotel are reminiscent of the high French Colonial period. The cheery yellow-and-white plastering is a recurring theme in many of Pondicherry’s public buildings. Massive doors open into high-ceilinged rooms. Planters and lounge chairs complete the picture. This is relaxation like they don’t make it any more.
A short, extremely pleasant walk due North would bring you to the city’s main square (pictured), surrounded by fine public buildings and gardens. Towards the West is the Mission Street, the bustling shopping district and Palais de Mahe is just footsteps away from the famed Promenade, far enough to keep the noise at bay, near enough to stroll over in flip-flops.
18 Luxury Suites
Mahe de Malabar. Terrace restaurant serving fusion food
Earth Cafe, poolside lounge
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