January 27, 2015
The elegant Villa Shanti located in Pondicherry’s (aka Puducherry) French Quarter is a welcome respite from the hectic outside world. Rooms and communal spaces are simply yet tastefully decorated in white and warm woods. Bathrooms have a contemporary feel with concrete counter tops and showers.
Our room, an upgraded suite, was huge and dwarfed the large, comfy (Asian-firm mattress) high-pedestal bed. Although the room overlooked the street and was somewhat noisy during the day, it was quiet and dark during the night. Other guests complained about noise from the courtyard restaurant dining room.
I was much more impressed with breakfast – served off a menu rather than buffet style – than the previous evening’s dinner (see below). They offer a choice of Indian or western breakfast. Each comes with fruit and a choice of omelet.
The fruit was fresh and sweet; the bread basket was reasonably good for French pastry in India; the omelets were made to order, light and fluffy; and the coffee – French press served in oversized cups – heaven. The all-white space graced with greenery is a delightful place to start the morning with that steaming cup.
The popular dining room, the atrium courtyard of the villa, is tastefully yet minimally decorated in white with ample greenery to give the space a comfortable yet elegant feel. On our first evening we found the service a bit off, most likely because as hotel guests they were trying to squeeze us into a fully booked evening without a reservation. As a result our drink and food order was considerably delayed and the food was not as hot as it should have been.
The green papaya salad, on lettuce with a sweet dressing, needed a little more acid and salt.
The vegetable tandoori with red pepper, onion, cheese, baby potatoes, and roasted cauliflower was well seasoned and tasty but not fresh hot.
The morsels of barracuda were served with a lemon beurre blanc, polenta made mildly sweet with raisins, and a spinach medley.