In the heart of Chennai’s commercial district, in Anna Salai, you’ll find the swanky Vivanta by Taj, which styles itself as ‘Colonial brilliance’. It started out as the Imperial Hotel in 1854 and emerged as the art deco Connemara in 1937. The famous Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa worked his magic in the 1970s, and the latest incarnation sees some truly modern touches. Sited just 17km from the airport, it’s also easy to reach and well-placed for meetings as well as pleasure.
The hotel’s Jiva Spa offers the ultimate in rejuvenation based on traditional Indian treatments – whether you opt for a deep-tissue massage, back massage or head and shoulder massage, a body wrap or a scrub, all using fragrant aromatic oils, you’ll feel like you’re in another, altogether calmer world.
The hotel has 145 rooms – superior, deluxe and premium – as well as deluxe and premium temptation suites and an opulent presidential suite. The rooms are large and comfortable, always with the latest amenities such as LCD TV, wifi (for a fee), ergonomic desk and work chair, minibar and cotton bathrobes. Some of the rooms have high ceilings and direct access to the swimming pool, while the suites all provide a separate living area, and the name of the Presidential Nirvana Suite says it all – expect 2 bedrooms, a Jacuzzi and a private courtyard.
There’s plenty to keep you occupied at the hotel – from the luxury pool to the 24-hour fitness centre, offering yoga among other things. But Chennai is a popular tourist destination, offering many highlights, including St George Fort and the museum. The hotel can arrange a colonial tour, taking in all of the major colonial destinations. Also recommended is a guided tour of Mylapore – an ancient settlement that retains many of the old traditions to this day.
Guests have a choice of restaurants – from the wide-ranging (Anglo-Indian, Italian, Indian and South Indian) menu at The Verandah to the Asian delicacies (including teppanyaki and Vietnamese rice paper rolls) at Hip Asia or the outdoor delights of The Raintree, where you’ll eat South Indian dishes under a canopy of trees to the accompaniment of Indian classical music. For drinks, head to trendy Distil bar.
Binny RoadChennai 600002