This place is a 17th century British Collector’s bungalow that faces the East Coast of India in the sleepy fishing town of Tranquebar or locally known as Tharangambadi. This place was also home to the only Danish settlement in India.
This 17th century heritage bungalow is now the property of Neemrana non-hotel Hotels, who manage it as a luxury resort.
This hotel property is a 2 storied bungalow with a huge courtyard. Most of the courtyard is now beautifully landscaped gardens with a huge swimming pool to the east.
Everything about this place oozes royalty starting with the name of the street ‘King’s Street’ where this Bungalow is located. The bungalow from inside resembles the architecture of the 17th century.
It is entirely built with thick wood (don’t know which one) with some support from bricks. Even the beams and the pillars are built using this wood. The stairway through the centre of the bungalow, the porticos, the hallways, the high ceilings all look magnificent.
All the rooms share a similar architecture. With the exception of the air-conditioner, the loo, the water system and the water heater, everything looks like antique material, but very rich and presentable.
All the rooms in ‘Bungalow on the Beach’ are named after the Danish ships that were docked at the port of Tranquebar in the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The one I stayed at was called Elefante. These names also help in bringing an air of charm within these rooms.
The rooms on the ground floor do not have a beach view and hence come cheaper at 3,500 rupees plus luxury tax. The rooms that have a beach view are slightly larger and come with a price tag of 5,500 rupees per night plus luxury tax. All rooms come with a verandah and a sit out. Breakfast for two people comes complimentary with the room.
For food, there is an in-house kitchen that serves a reasonable number of French and Indian dishes. Food here tastes great, but if you need your food spicy, please inform before placing your order. Alcohol is not served at this place with the exception of wine, champagne and beer.
Food prices are fairly reasonable. Per head charges would vary from 250 (vegetarian) to 500 rupees (meat-lovers). Beer, if I remember right, gets charged at 150 rupees per bottle. Am not aware about the wine or champagne prices.
In terms of luxury, the place in itself feels royal. In addition, there is a swimming pool and a lovely green garden. For sightseeing, one can visit the 13th century Chola temple, the 17th century Dansborg Fort and Danish churches which are located nearby.
In the mornings and the evenings, one can explore and enjoy the sandy Tranquebar beach and the city ruins. One can also use the ‘Bungalow on the Beach’ as a base to explore the historic and religious port town of Poompuhar and the temple district of Kumbakonam that are situated at most a couple of hours away.
If you are the kind of person who loves a idling vacation, then this place provides the right amount of privacy and serenity.
Neemrana, the hotel group that manages ‘Bungalow on the Beach’ also runs another property close by called ‘The Gateway’. I believe this property to be great too, though this property does not have a beach view. I will be able to provide a better report when I return to Tranquebar and stay at the Gateway, instead of the ‘Bungalow on the Beach’.
Overall, if you are the kind, who loves a luxury holiday, then this is the place. Even better, if you appreciate art and antiques. Coz, you are going to be living in a 17th century heritage collector’s bungalow. The Beach view, the serenity, the delicious French food and wine are just some add-ons.
P.S. Neemrana runs thirteen (13) such heritage luxury resorts all across India. To find out more about them, you can go to their website.
Tranquebar/Tharangambadi is a small fishing town that is situated in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. It is located about 15 kms north of Karaikal and about 120 kms south of Pondicherry on the East Coast.