Villa Shanti

Villa Shanti

Pondicherry
, India

The colours beige and white, a mural here, stone floor, glass and wood stairways – add up to create a sense of space and light in this heritage building to which a wing has been discreetly added to offer 15 rooms and suites, dining, bar/ lounge and a terrace. Run by a young team, Villa Shanti is unique to Pondicherry with a global yet simplistic appeal.

Villa Shanti is a restored French house over a 100 years old to which an extension has been added to make space for rooms, dining and terrace. The concept is very minimal and the design evocative of French villas with open balconies and verandas looking out to a central square that is open to the skies.

Two French architects from Paris worked on the design and execution relying on local artisans and using locally sourced materials for the walls and floors. Furniture, interiors and the quaint objects d’art have been bought from endless explorations in the local markets of Chennai, Pondicherry and Chetinad. The central courtyard square is two stories high. On the ground floor, close to the entrance is an open bar and lounge, set around arched columns on one side, a dining on the other and guest rooms that begin on the far side. The fourth side is a high wall embellished with a thriving vertical garden that makes the central courtyard a green, sunny breakfast area in the mornings and an atmospheric candle lit, airy space for dining at night. The Bar and Lounge has low seating, its only decoration besides the shelves of gleaming glass ware is a central wall art which fans of Amar Chitra Katha will recognize as King Bharat and Shakuntala, straight from the comic book in a stylized setting.

Our Rating: Mid-Range
Property Type: Boutique

Destination

In the French town of Pondicherry, Villa Shanti on Rue Suffren exudes a quiet style and its very popular bar and cafe is an open invitation to travellers. Rue Suffren in the French quarter runs parallel to the promenade with a couple of streets in between. Like all streets here, it runs end to end and lined with multi-hued colonial houses, many with high gates and gardens.

In classic south travel itineraries, Pondicherry is ideally placed between Chennai and Chidambaram onwards to Kumbakonam, Tanjore, Trichi, Madurai and onwards. Pondicherry is a two night destination with many options for cultural and spiritual explorations in and around the town.

Accommodation

With 15 rooms and suites, Villa Shanti is small enough to offer personalized service and large enough to accommodate small groups with the same personal attention to individual requests. The rooms are uncluttered, white with a spark of design and colour in places that lifts the mood while the smooth and classic furniture add character. The rooms and suites are set on three floors beginning at the courtyard level. They open onto bright corridors through high door-ways, windows are clear of curtains yet bring in diffused light through translucent glass. White walls, with just one design feature give the feeling of space, checked curtain over a shelf or hand-made tiles around the bed add color, bathrooms are devoid of doors but intelligently placed walls ensure complete privacy. Polished granite basins that remind you of hand- crafted traditional dough makers found in most south Indian homes, similar miniatures for soap dishes and steel tumblers for holders. The suites are really generous and offer the same simplicity of design and uncluttered space.

Dining

There is a an indoor air-conditioned dining room, appreciated very much during sultry afternoons though even in June the weather is pleasant enough for sitting under the columned verandah under gently whirring fans. Villa Shanti serves up some amazing meals, with a selection of sea food, continental bakes and grills and a choice of regional and Indian dishes. Breakfasts served out in the courtyard are wonderful with freshly baked breads and croissants, fresh juice, eggs to order and fruits of the season. The young bar tender conjures up amazing alcoholic concoctions you would love to sip on, even if you are sitting by yourself in the softly lit courtyard.

Experiences

A glowing beige and white building with movable orange road-checks cleverly placed for heightened contract is your first view of Villa Shanti. Then you notice the lights on either side of the entrance painted the same stunning orange, a few boulders hold a standee in place, a one leafed palm in a brass receptacle, shadows of a couple lush trees that line this stretch. The quiet street is particularly abuzz around Villa Shanti and hence the mood as you step in through the sturdy wooden doors onto a short corridor, under a provocative half curtain in white is shaded, cool and quiet.

Why we love this place

Villa Shanti has a purity of design you are enticed to stop and take a second look, sometimes there is a quirky idea that gets you to smile, somewhere the clean lines relax you and elsewhere a splash of color uplifts your mood. Look down the corridor, the white of the walls, grey granite, glass and chrome and in the far corner, a fire dousing system in striking red transforms into a piece of art.

Our Recommendation

Though every room is exclusive, the suites at Villa Shanti will be something you would particularly enjoy. The Cafe Bar and Restaurant is one of the most popular dining options in the city.

Can’t find a suitable itinerary that features a destination, experience or accommodation you fancy? All our group tours and holiday ideas can be personalised, or we can create a tailor made itinerary for you.

Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)