Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Bungalow on the Beach

The long trip to Tranquebar or Tharangambadi on a 'misinformed' (self-induced) whim was tiring. Travelling by road for nearly 6 hours with only a short break for lunch just wasn't enough. So, when I finally reached the Bungalow on the Beach, it was with a sense of relief. It quickly turned into sheer happiness when I saw the inside of my room and the view from the windows. 

View of the sea opposite my room

Right beside the beach, I could hear the waves crashing all through the day & night. Initially, it was a little disorienting, a new type of sound to get used to. But, after a while, the sounds of the sea were soothing and lulled me to deep, refreshing sleep. 

Neemrana's non-hotel (as they like to call it) is as described on their website - a heritage property, restored painstakingly and lovingly to its original state. Almost. There are modern conveniences like air-conditioners and ensuite bathrooms which are later additions to the property. The renovations have been done in a way where it blends in with the rest of the architecture and decor. 

The Bungalow on the Beach in the
evening just as the lights came on

The foyer with its warm vibe

The Bungalow on the Beach was built in 1845 during British rule as the collector's residence (according to a book in the hotel). The Neemrana Hotels bought the building in 2002 from the previous owners and it has been with them since. Interested guests can browse through the hotel's album which details the various stages of restoration of the Bungalow on the Beach.

My room was adequately spacious. Surprisingly, it wasn't huge like one gets to see in other heritage buildings or in most other Neemrana properties. High ceilings, large windows and a canopied bed, it was cozy and comfortable. The bathroom was a bit small but it didn't bother me too much as the rest of the environs were beautiful - inside and outside. 

Antique fixtures & artwork as seen in the hotel

The size of the bolts & hinges will give you an idea
of the huge sizes of the doors & windows in the place :)

The top floor verandah runs around the bungalow, with rooms opening on to it. It was a great place to sit and watch the waves or just day dream. An easy chair, a book to read, a cup of tea (or a tall, cold drink depending on the weather) and I could have spent hours there. One side of the building faces the beach and the one side the Dansborg Fort. A third adjoins the 14th century Massilamani Nathar temple. You can pick your choice of the views. :)

14th century temple and sea on the
far side of the swimming pool

View of the fort from the hotel at sunset.
The skies were unbelievable!

A nesting bird in the trees opposite the verandah

The staff were warm and friendly. The food was local cuisine and yummy, unless you wanted continental dishes, which were also available. There are no other places in town to try the local fare. 

Verandah on the ground floor

Made from fruits from their own orchards
in some other part of the country

I spent two days in Tranquebar and loved every moment of it. It's a small town and there aren't many places to stay there besides Neemrana's properties - the Gate House (photos at the end of this post) is the second. The Nayak House on Goldsmith Street is another place to stay. A former Neemrana property, it is reportedly now owned and operated by another entity. 

I have stayed at other Neemrana properties too (I admit I am a fan of the Hotels & the concept) but this particular one had me completely charmed. Maybe it was a bit of the place too that had me enthralled.

Photos of the Gate House:

The hotel is so named due its proximity to the old town gate. 

Traditional swing near the courtyard

Carved pillars that are jaw droppingly amazing

The bathrooms - old yet new

Yet another antique - a coconut scraper

The town gate as seen from the hotel

Note: This is NOT a sponsored trip or review. As I said, I am a fan. ;)

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