ITC Grand Chola
Located along India’s southeastern coast, Chennai is the 4th largest city in India with the third busiest airport. A 90-minute flight from Mumbai, the region has a different temperament than the north due to its warm climate, pretty beaches and the busiest port on the Bay of Bengal.
In October, the ITC Grand Chola, Chennai opened as the newest member of the Starwood Luxury Collection. The 5-star, 600-room property is now the world’s largest LEED Platinum hotel, combining outdoor venues and state-of-the-art resource management systems unusual for a hotel of this size. The nerve center of the hotel’s intensive green mission is ITC’s “WelcomEnviron” initiative, a multifaceted high-tech program that educates both staff and guests about sustainability.
ITC Grand Chola is located in the business corridor of Guindy, just five miles from the airport. Inspired by a Maharajah’s palace, the architectural design is generating big buzz with soaring cupolas and numerous pools situated on the upper levels. The hotel is expected to open Chennai up to more international groups and compete with the Mumbai/Delhi business hubs. Total meeting space is 100,000 sf, including the 30,000-sf Rajendra Ballroom and plush Kalai private auditorium for 45-pax presentations.
ITC Grand Chola features 10 unique specialty dining outlets, such as Peshawri. The authentic Tandoori cuisine from northern India is cooked in clay ovens in an open kitchen. The rustic yet refined ambiance features rough-hewn trestle tables and wooden stools, surrounded with copper pots and urns suspended from the ceiling.
For larger banquets, The Madras Pavilion serves Indian and international cuisine in a variety of private and semi-private settings. The Pan Asian concept revolves around three open kitchens preparing dishes representative of Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, Korea, etc.
PARK HYATT CHENNAI
Also in October, the luxurious 201-room Park Hyatt Chennai opened adjacent to the lush Guindy National Park, an extension of the grounds surrounding the official residence of the Governor. The business hotel is designed to be a calming oasis within the hustle and bustle of the city, with quick access to the city center.
The Park Hyatt includes 20 suites, two restaurants and The Apartment, a gorgeous residential-style venue surrounded by native vegetation with 8,000 sf of meeting space. The facility offers oodles of natural daylight, an open kitchen and individual “salons” for a wide variety of breakout concepts.
Upon entry, guests feel the intrusions from the outside world disappear as they’re welcomed by a serene pool behind the lobby’s towering glass wall. The hotel embraces all aspects of mental and physical wellness, exemplified around the pool area with an infinity waterfall ensconced in draping greenery.
In 2013, The Flying Elephant restaurant debuts around a quiet lily pond designed by New York-based interior guru George Wong. It’s anticipated to be one the best new restaurants in southeast India, so stay tuned for more about that. Also early next year, Antahpura Spa and the Sphere fitness center open. The six treatment rooms overlook the tranquil gardens in Guindy National Park.