A Heritage Escapade
Puducherry is a sea side town about 160 km south of Chennai. Its history dates back to being part of the Cholas and the Pandyas, and in later times with the Portuguese followed by the Dutch before finally becoming a French colony. After India gained independence, Pondicherry as it was then known was declared a Union Territory. Divided in to the French Quarter and the Tamil Quarter, the town is quaint and peaceful and continues to retain the Franco-Tamil spirit.
Located on Rue Suffren in White Town and a short distance from the Promenade as well as the sights, the charming Grand Hotel D’Europe is the grand dame of old hospitality in this unique town. The hotel has had the privilege of hosting Mother (Mirra Alfassa) during her first few visits to Pondicherry, the humanitarian Mother Teresa as well as the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu Mr. M. G. Ramachandran.
Offering a ‘grand’ experience at its original address, this 18th-century hotel is the perfect base to explore Pondicherry. Although located on one of the busiest streets of the city, once inside, there is silence and no noise from outside permeates in.
Know Your Host
Operating a hotel that began operations in the 18th century, that has hosted big names comes with a rather large responsibility. And the owners, management and staff are aware of the legacy and strive to not only maintain it, but improve upon it to keep up with the times.
Built in 1891 by Mr. E. Magry who was part of the Creole community, the hotel shut in 1996 after a remarkable run of over 100 years before it was restored and reopened with a new wing reflecting an Art Deco style with elements of Chettinad influences. The entrance from the main street does not give an indication of the expanse inside. The foyer serves as the reception area that leads in to the restaurant that also gives access to the open air café, the bar, the courtyard with the swimming pool as well as to the rooms and Spa.
There is emphasis on hand painted murals everywhere – from the pillars behind the reception desk to each guest room showcasing a unique aspect of Pondicherry to the grand painting by the swimming pool of the Little Mermaid – an ode to the sculpture found at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark. Overall there is an elegant simplicity to the décor, with neat arrangements of plants (in leaf embossed planters) in the common areas and clean lines in the design of the accommodation.
Looking at the Grand Hotel D’Europe from the street, one cannot imagine that it comprises of 8 standard and 10 premium themed rooms spread across four floors. Neatly arranged furniture and well designed, each come with high ceilings, unique hand-painted murals, furniture pieces, artefacts and accessories sourced or created locally. All guest rooms come with air-conditioners, televisions, mini-bar, tea/coffee station and ensuite bathrooms. There is an elevator to provide easy access to the higher floors.
Grand Hotel D’Europe is known for its multi cuisine fine dine delicacies with both the restaurant and the open air café as options to dine in. Breakfast typically is à la carte with Continental or Indian selections, but not without freshly baked Viennoiseries from a French confectionary & home-made seasonal fruit jams. The bar offers delectable cocktails with an option to sit at the rooftop lounge and enjoy them with live music.
The location offers quick and easy access to all that is charming about Pondicherry and the French Quarter. The Promenade and Aurobindo Ashram are a few minutes away with plenty of restaurants and boulangeries a mere hop, skip and jump away.
To visit the Tamil Quarter, one can easily reserve bicycles or motorbikes (based on availability) from the hotel. Visit to Auroville can be arranged.
The pool and spa are the ideal way to relax from a hectic day of sight-seeing or taking a day off to stay in and rejuvenate.
Grand Hotel D’Europe is perfect for those travelling with family, friends or even solo. With an elevator, it is accessible for those with mobility issues as well.
Grand Hotel D’Europe is open all year.
The hotel was abandoned in the 1990s and carefully restored to offer a heritage experience with all the modern comforts. The experience is quintessentially celebrating the Franco-Tamil culture of Pondicherry that is reflected in the ever helpful staff who are largely from the city itself. The cuisine too is reflective of these influences with an emphasis on locally sourced produce.
by Delna S on 01/09/2022
While surfing for a place to stay in the French quarter this little gem of a place popped up. Saw the pictures the amenities the location decided to book. Right from the time of check in till check...
by daitib on 01/09/2022
I had one of the best stays here in Pondicherry. The hotel is central to a lot of amazing cafes and restaurants! The rooms, the staff, and everything and everyone were absolutely amazing and...
by Satishna G on 01/03/2022
We had 3 rooms with unique style and space, very beautifully layed out architecture and a heritage touch adding on to the ambience. A must try.. when you want to have a rich experience. Needless to...