Each time I’m back from a trip, there are lots of questions about the sights there, the food, and the stay. Where did I live, how was it, was it comfortable, were the hosts good, etc, etc. And while I’m generally an AirBnB person, there are times I strike lucky and manage to get a great room at a decent price – like I did in Pondicherry. Tanto’s Far Beach Resort is exactly as the name tells you – it is a Beach Resort. Not a hostel, not an AirBnB but a proper hotel with all hotel-like amenities. And before you get all suspicious, no this is not a paid review. The resort did have some negatives but for me the positives outweighed them!
When hunting for a place to stay in Pondicherry, I was facing a tough time as mine was a last minute trip and most of the places I checked were booked. On a tight budget (as usual), I didn’t have too much of a choice. Not being a Hostel person, I had to take my pick of the 4 AirBnB listings left. ‘Sea view single occupancy’ is what the room title said. It seemed too good to be true – a room with a sea-view for approx. Rs 6,800 (all inclusive) for 5 nights? And that included breakfast?! And a pool? I was sceptical. I researched a bit and discovered that the place was called Tanto’s Far Beach Resort. The reviews were mostly positive so I crossed my fingers and made the booking.
The owner/manager Sheryl did answer a few of my queries but to be honest, wasn’t the warmest of query answerers on AirBnB. However, she did guide me and give me thorough description of reaching the place. I took a bus from Chennai to Pondi and she asked me to get off right opposite Pondicherry Engineering College. From there, a small dirt track led me right to the resort. With a suitcase and a backpack – yes, I’m a VERY HEAVY packer, it felt like a bit of a trek as I was exhausted after my journey. However, I made it in dragging my much-abused suitcase through pebbles and sand and reached the reception.
Backtracking a bit, the one thing that really, really, really made me hesitate while making the booking was the fact that my room description did not mention an attached bathroom but a shared bathroom. I have lived in homes where I’ve shared the bathroom with the hosts but sharing the same bathroom with other guests who I do not know at all nor will I perhaps even see their faces was a little freaky. That was the first thing I checked out as soon as I was shown my room. And heaved a sigh of relief when I saw the bathroom was clean. Phew!
The resort is right by the beach and is made of small buildings which house the rooms. There is a kitchen where they serve breakfast and other basic dishes but for the more substantial pizzas, you’ll have to order from their other restaurants a little way off. More on that later. The office is a small space right close to the kitchen. There are hammocks adjacent to the office. A little way off is the small playground for kids. On one side of the kitchen is the chemical-free pool. A narrow path from the area leads to the beach.
Each of the rooms is spacious enough and comes with a balcony that overlooks the beach. The sound of the waves and the sight is absolutely perfect. You can watch the sunrise from your balcony, sipping on some tea. The room has a small wicker basket as the dustbin, a chair and writing table, two bottles of water (which are refilled), a cot, and a cupboard. My biggest grouse was that the room had no mirrors! Each time I had to check my face or simply needed a mirror, I had to step out of my room and go to the shared bathroom. Tiny issue but was the biggest inconvenience for me.
Coming to the bathroom, I’ve mentioned that the bathroom was clean. It was cleaned daily. There is a small shower section with a basin and the WC. There was a towel provided but it wasn’t clean and smelled of oil. So make sure you carry your own towel. Also, don’t leave your soap or toiletries in the bathroom – not because someone might use it but because when the maids clean daily, they simply throw it away! I didn’t know this and the first day when I got back to my room from the beach late in the evening I had no soap because the cleaner threw mine away! There isn’t any shop nearby and it was too late to go all the way to the market. Luckily, the security man was extremely kind and gave me a a new soap bar which he had.
Breakfast begins in the morning at approximately 8.00 AM and the menu is pretty standard – Toast, Jams and Sauces, Idli, Dosa (not everyday), Chutney, Fruit. Eggs are available at additional price. There is Tea/Coffee. The breakfast is filling and sufficient. Coming to the other food items, the service is prompt and the taste is good. I ate at the resort only twice but everything I tried was yumm! Psst – Do try the Fig and Dates Jam if they have it. I finished the bottle in my 5 days there! The restaurant shuts at 5 and if you want anything later, you’ll have to order it from their other restaurant some way off and they will deliver it to your room.
The pool is spacious and clean. There are even swings by the pool for sunbathers. I loved taking a book to the pool and settling into a swing after a relaxing swim. The water is not deep at all and at the deepens end, must barely be 5 feet deep. It is completely safe for children. There is also a small play area for kids where the little ones can enjoy. It has some slides, swings, tyre-swings, rope climbing and other fun activities to keep the kids occupied. There are a couple of hammocks for guests to relax in near the office area.
Coming to the beach, it was the most beautiful beach I saw in Pondicherry (after Paradise Beach). If you are staying here, no matter what, wake up and go to the beach for the sunrise. It is a sight worth it! Do not, I repeat, DO NOT miss it for anything in the world! If you love collecting shells, then this is paradise for you. Literally. I saw shells in every possible shape, size, colour, form on this beach at sunrise. I have never seen a sight so glorious at any of the beaches in all my travels and I do not exaggerate! The beach gate shuts in the evening so make sure you ask them the timings before you venture there or you’ll have to return via the not-so-pleasant public route.
Coming to the location of the resort – it is actually pretty far from maintown Pondicherry. However, as the bus stop is just a 5-min walk and almost every bus takes you into town (the frequency is really good), you won’t face much of a problem. Sheryl and the team will also help you renting a scooter/bike/car if you need one and they have a list of providers pinned up on the notice board outside the kitchen. If you are taking the public transport, ensure you carry a torch with you (or have enough battery in your phone) while returning at night as the narrow dirt-path from the main road to the resort has no lighting and can look pretty spooky and eerie. If you’re the scared sorts, keep two torches!
If you need any help planning a trip to Pondicherry, feel free to reach out on firstname.lastname@example.org or +91 9422577769. Happy exploring!