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The Promenade 4.0

Pondicherry, Union Territory of Pondicherry, India

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Convenient French Quarter location walking distance to top sites
  • Handsome, vintage-style exterior reflecting Pondicherry's history
  • Sunny, spacious rooms with modern decor and hardwood floors
  • All feature AC, minibars, and LCD TVs; some have ocean views
  • Two restaurants and room service available
  • Two bars -- one indoors, one out 
  • Pretty pool area designed by Made Wijaya
  • Petite on-site spa and fitness room with a treadmill
  • Freebies include a buffet breakfast and Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Not all rooms have water views
  • Wi-Fi can be unreliable
  • Pool is small and has few loungers
  • Some maintenance issues reported

Bottom Line

As the name suggests, this upscale boutique hotel overlooks a waterside promenade in the historic, sightseeing French section of Pondicherry (AKA Puducherry or just plain Pondy). Its exterior is in keeping with the quarter’s colonial character. However, it's another story inside, thanks to The Promenade’s decidedly modern decorating scheme reflected in common areas and its 38 rooms. All rooms are nicely equipped with air-conditioning, minibars, LCD TVs with digital channels and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also features a small pool and spa area plus multiple dining and drinking options, both indoors and out. But travelers looking for a full-on resort experience that is more attuned to fun in the sun should consider Le Pondy or the Bonjour Bonheur Ocean Spray instead: both are four-pearl properties well outside the city center. 

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Scene

Contemporary style in a colonial package 

Pondicherry -- the capital of an Indian union territory on the coast of Tamil Nadu -- has been nicknamed  "The Riviera of the East," and this low-slung hotel’s creamy neoclassical facade certainly fits in with the old-school French feel of the surrounding neighborhood. Inside, however, The Promenade’s look is thoroughly contemporary, from the clean-lined, wood-trimmed lobby right up to the sleek rooftop restaurant. The domestic and international leisure travelers who book rooms here seem to appreciate the juxtaposition, finding it a winning balance between colonial ambiance and contemporary style.

Location

On the promenade, in the heart of White Town

Situated in the colonial French Quarter, next to a 19th-century lighthouse, this hotel overlooks the eponymous seaside promenade with the beautiful Bay of Bengal beyond. As it result, it provides easy on-foot access to the so-called “White Town’s” many attractions -- including museums, memorials, mansions, and leafy streets dotted with shops and cafes. The stunning European-style Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges (Our Lady of Angels Church) is a six-minute walk from the hotel, as is the famous Aurobindo Ashram; sightseers with a spiritual side can also make the drive to Auroville (a peace-centric experimental community popular with tourists) in under 45 minutes. The temples of Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai, Chidambaram, and Mamallapuram are within day-tripping distance, too, each being about a two-hour drive away. The nearest major airport -- Chennai International -- is even farther, though travelers may be able to take advantage of charter flights serving the Pondicherry Airport, 20 minutes northwest of The Promenade. Tours, taxis, town cars, and airport/train station transfers can all be arranged on-site.

  • One-minute walk to the Pondicherry Lighthouse
  • Two-minute walk to Bharti Park
  • Two-minute walk to the Pondicherry Museum
  • Two-minute walk to the French War Memorial
  • Six-minute walk to Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges 
  • Six-minute walk to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram
  • Six-minute walk to the Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple
  • 12-minute walk to the Ananda Ranga Pillai House Museum
  • Seven-minute drive to the Pondicherry Railway Station
  • 13-minute drive to the Pondicherry Main Bus Station
  • 20-minute drive to Pondicherry Airport
  • Three-hours-and-15-minutes drive to Chennai International Airport

Rooms

Spacious guest rooms with modern decor and comforts, some with sea views

The bright, generously proportioned rooms at The Promenade continue the contemporary look of the common spaces often adding a dash more color. Across all categories, rooms are furnished with platform beds topped with tall upholstered headboards plus angular built-in furnishings and unadorned wood floors that combine to give them a breezy, slightly mod appearance. In many cases, bold accents in aqua and sand or sea-blue and pebble-gray combinations are mixed in, which help to enhance the seaside vibe. All, moreover, are equipped with modern conveniences like tea/coffee-making supplies, minibars, free bottled water, digital safes, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. Bathrooms across the board hold walk-in rainfall showers, sleek toilets, funky vessel sinks, and appreciated little extras like robes and hairdryers. Deluxe sea-facing rooms add private balconies, while suites have huge water-view windows and separate living areas. 

Features

Four dining/drinking options plus a spa and a small but pretty pool

Dining is a big draw at The Promenade as the hotel contains two restaurants: the dinner-only Bay of Buddha/Lighthouse, which serves Pan-Asian cuisine with a side order of scenery, and Blueline, a more casual and eclectic eatery offering à la carte or buffet-style dishes all day. Light bites -- along with a range of cocktails, mocktails and other drinks -- are also available at a pair of in-house bars: Risque, outdoors facing the bay, and Storytellers, an artsy indoor option featuring assorted live performances. The Balinese-inspired pool area, designed by renowned landscape architect Made Wijaya, provides an alternate place for guests to gather (though the pool itself is on the small side and loungers are in short supply). Guest can also make use of the hotel’s wellness facilities, though these are minimal and include a rather spartan workout room and a serene little spa with a broad menu of add-on treatments. Other on-site features include a round-the-clock reception desk with concierge and currency-exchange capabilities; a lobby-level designer gift shop; 24-hour security and room service; laundry, shoe-shining and basic business services; and free Wi-Fi throughout.

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Address

23 Goubert Avenue, opp. Gandhi Statue on Beach Road, Pondicherry 605001, India

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