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    Short breaks in Pondy are a must this month, with our list of villas, flats and rooms that beat the hotel experience

    the hottest month of the year begins from today, and so does the holiday season. It is perhaps the best time to take a break, pack your bags and get a quick energy boost. This time around, we suggest you go beyond the predictable hotel getaways and, instead, opt for unique experiences at villas and serviced apartments. We have a pick of homestays and guest houses that offer varied facilities—starting with a pool, private beach, mud house and surf-friendly locations. Read on:
    The simple life @ Sharanya
    Mumbai-based Shiv Saran rents out this ancestral property in Pondicherry during the holiday season. ‘‘This house was built by my mother several years ago. It is a Kerala-style mud house with four large bedrooms. The place can accommodate eight to 11 guests. There is also a kitchen with gas connection and a fridge,’’ says Saran, who comes down to Pondicherry quite often. Most of their guests are from Chennai and Bengaluru. The highlight of the stay is that 10 per cent of the proceeds is given to an NGO, Milaap. A night at the house costs Rs 12,000 on weekends and Rs 7,000 on weekdays. On Auroville Road, Tindivanam. Details: 9820120397
    Market view @ Meeranjali
    Pondicherry-based couple Pradeep and Chitra have a budget apartment for weekend getaways. The 900 sq ft space has two split AC bedrooms and a functional kitchen. Located in the market area, the apartment is 10 minutes away from the beach and the Ashram. It costs Rs 8,000 for two nights for five people. They also have a homestay facility available only for foreigners. Details: 9843034009
    Heritage week
    Nat and Cecile, another French couple based in Pondicherry, have a room for rent. With a private entrance and terrace, they call it “charming and perfect for couples or a small family”. The cozy space has restored furniture—like an antique four poster bed, a divan and a vintage arm chair. First-timers to Pondicherry can also get information and handy tips from the couple on activities and near-by locations to visit. At Rue Labourdonnais, the room costs `7,724 for five nights for one person. Details: airbnb.co.in
    Surf @ Serenity Beach
    With some fantastic reviews, this sea-facing homestay with an open terrace comes highly recommended. The host, Thomas from Bengaluru, rents out his property for short stays. The two-bedroom beach house can accommodate five to six people and is located next to Kallialay Surf School on Serenity Beach. Perfect if you are planning a terrace party. The rooms cost Rs 5,761 per night for one person. Details: airbnb.co.in
    Pool @ Beach Bubbles
    What will strike you first at Beach Bubbles, located near the Auroville beach, are the roofs. Shaped like waves and shells, all the mud houses have a unique look thanks to this architectural detail. Pondicherry-based Anajana owns the space, which has 16 rooms—divided into single, double and triple. She will also help guests hire vehicles and keep them appraised about on-going activities. The highlight, however, is their sea-facing pool and private beach. The eco-friendly spot costs Rs 4,495 per night, inclusive of breakfast. Details: 0413 2623048
    Courtyard@Dupuy Street
    For those who like heritage, this palatial house by Pondicherry-based Geraldine is a good option. Located Dupuy Street, White Town, it is near the Ashram. The four-bedroom property comes with a garden and costs `34,821 for three nights for a person. The cleaning staff will be available on site from 9.30 am to 5 pm. In case of unavailability of rooms, Geraldine suggests La Villa Helena, located in Bussy Street. Said to have been built in the 19th century, it was converted into a homestay in 2001. It has eight rooms, with walls painted in primary colours and antique furniture that add to its charm. With a shaded terrace and an impressive courtyard. Details: 0413 2226789
    Hearty meals @ Eli
    At Eli, you get more than just accommodation and amenities. Liz , the owner who also resides in Mahabalipuram, is known for her seafood dishes and has visitors ordering lunch and dinner as well. Perfect for surfers and tourists. The rooms are available for Rs 1,910 for a night. Details: tripadvisor.in

    —Mrinalini Sundar

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