Luxury and leisure hemmed in by a manmade lake at this resort on the outskirts of Puducherry.
About 114 km from Chennai, on the East Coast Road, is located Ocean Spray, a venture of Puducherry’s Sri Lakshmi Jewellery.
A beaming staff member of the resort welcomes me with a garland made of shells and a bouquet.
Built around a manmade lake extending over five acres, the property is spread across 24 acres. Tiny green patches of land, full of coconut trees, dot the lake and are connected by small wooden bridges. The magic of the sea blends with the sweet fragrance of flowers lining the pathways all over the resort. The beach is just a 10-minute walk from the rear gate.
N. Naveen Baalaji, Managing Director of Ocean Spray, is a fourth-generation jeweller with a PG degree in Tourism. He expanded the family’s jewellery business by initially setting up a travel agency, Bonjour Bonheur, and later the resort.
The resort has 106 luxury rooms categorised as ‘Ferns’; the luxury penthouse, called ‘The Heavens’, offers an open-to-sky private jacuzzi, a view of sunrise over the sea and a breathtaking view of the lake.
I checked into ‘The Bermudas’, one of several luxury cottages spread across the property and located near the lake. The cosy room with sloping wooden ceiling and panel lights, and walls adorned with paintings of water plants, blends beautifully with the lake and the surrounding greenery. An independent pier extending onto the lake from the sit-out offers private dining facilities.
At Amber, the coffee shop, true to its name the ceiling, walls and floors are a yellowish brown. Seating 130, it serves vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese and Indian cuisines and overlooks a soon-to-be launched restaurant that appears to be floating on the lake.
The lunch spread included soups, paneer tikka, gobi manchurian, parathas, phulkas, a variety of naans and rice, paneer, peas and kofta curries for vegetarians and fish tikka, mutton fry, chicken curry and special steamed egg rice for non-vegetarians. In tune with the season, the dessert spread was dominated by mango, served up as smoothies, kulfis, shrikhand, and parfait, besides other ice-creams and fresh fruits.
The resort has three water treatment plants that constantly refresh the lake water, besides keeping moss and algae away.
Apart from a play area for children, an activity corner teaches them paper craft, sand art, tattoo design, and painting. Guests can play football or cricket on the lawn, feed fish in the lake or opt for boat rides. For adventure seekers the resort arranges for deep-sea cruising — a five-km ride into the Bay of Bengal on fishermen’s boats.
In the middle of the lake is Lilaea, the swimming pool, forming the backdrop to an amphitheatre with seating for 250 people that is perfect for cultural events and movie screenings.
SKA, a bar-cum-discotheque, is the right place for those who want to have a feel of Puducherry and its nightlife; weekends are marked by DJ shows.
“Most of our guests come from Chennai and Bangalore, and we are fully booked on weekends and other holidays,” says Bharat Chandu, Resident Manager. Besides corporate clients who come here for meetings or team-building programmes, “people on honeymoon and young IT professionals also form a major chunk of our clientele,” he says. The resort has parking facilities for about 300 cars.