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The mansion which houses the Hotel de l’Orient dates back to the late 1760’s when Pondicherry was rebuilt. In the course of restoration a hand-written inscription “H. RUDIER 1809” was found in the room named ‘Masulipatam’, thus indicating that the house was inhabited by a French family at the time. French occupation continued for the next two centuries, and the mansion was bought from the Sinnas family who had acquired it in 1952.
The aim of the restoration process was to recreate the 18th century aura. Wherever possible, the old Chettinad plaster was retained; the red oxide flooring was repaired in parts but not replaced. The bathrooms had to be modernized and an interesting finish on the walls was experimented with – a mix of white cement that gave the walls a shiny patina which went with the restored look. Many of the wooden beams had to be changed as the original ones had been eaten by termites. The paint on the ceilings was left untouched. The wooden planks on the high doors and windows with shutters, louvers and caned panels were retained or replaced by new panels made of old wood.