I was excited to arrive in Chennai, for it was my first visit to Tamil Nadu and to the southern region of India. But I was ambivalent at the same time, not knowing what to expect of the southern city. I had been travelling for twenty days in other parts of India, and by that time, I had experienced a multitude of emotions. I felt happy to have met old friends and made new contacts in Bhopal and Delhi, but low-spirited as I gained insights about the Kashmir situation and overwhelmed by the mad rush of Mumbai. That said, I had also enjoyed every minute of my journey. The paradox of India!
Thankfully, my mood changed when I arrived in Chennai, and it was Grand Chennai by GRT that made a difference. The feelings of negativity and craziness washed away the moment I checked into the hotel – there was something refreshing about this property.
Refurbished in April 2016, Grand Chennai by GRT is the flagship hotel of GRT Hotels & resorts. The hotel is now a 4-star stylish and contemporary hotel attracting leisure and business travellers. Grand Chennai is strategically located in one of Chennai’s major business district, T Nagar – only thirty minutes’ drive from the airport and a short drive to the main tourist sights.
Having arrived from Mumbai, a city that has few open spaces, the wide spaces of Grand Chennai were very much welcomed. Although it has 133 rooms, and many guests and visitors are milling around the lobby area, the hotel doesn’t have the ambience of a typical large commercialized hotel chain. It’s not chaotic, rather calm actually.
My room was absolutely spacious, equipped with modern furnishings and state-of-the-art technology. I won’t go into details on what the room has but suffice to say that it met my needs in terms of cleanliness and comfort, and that it has the right amenities that one expects of a 4-star hotel.
Nevertheless, I would like to highlight about the note I received on my bed on my second night at the hotel. The note was to inform me of the weather forecast in Chennai the following day, and placed next to the note were chocolates and jasmine flowers. How sweet and thoughtful! The jasmine flowers reminded me of my late maternal grandmother who used to buy a potpourri of flowers (including jasmine) for me to place under my pillows for “sweet dreams” 😊 Another plus point for Grand Chennai!
However, the highlight of my stay at Grand Chennai was the dining experience at Bazaar, the lobby restaurant. Bazaar is a multi-cuisine buffet restaurant which was designed to reflect the personality of a street market – vibrant and lively. The décor in the restaurant is brightly coloured from the furniture right to the crockery and cutlery as well. And it was while dining in Bazaar that I came up with the phrase “Cheerful Chennai” to describe my stay at Grand Chennai but also the good vibes that I sensed from the locals in this southern city.
My mood was lifted in Bazaar so much so that I dined at the restaurant again on my last night in Chennai. If you’re planning to stay at Grand Chennai, make sure you have your dinner at the Bazaar – who knows, you may be surprised with a flashmob dance by the restaurant staff! That was what had happened while I was at the dessert counter when all of a sudden, loud music was played and the staff was dancing flashmob! Wish I had captured the dance but I left my phone on the dining table.
The hotel has other facilities and amenities that are worthwhile to explore – Bodhi Spa, travel desk and meeting rooms available for press conference, weddings and other events. In fact, if you browse through their Facebook page, you will find that the hotel hosts a number of events such as fashion shows, stand-up comedy performances, etc. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go for a nice spa at the hotel as I was busy sightseeing and catching up with friends.
*Related Post: Peacock Trail With Storytrails in Mylapore, Chennai
Overall, Grand Chennai has got it right in terms of location, facilities and amenities. But the hotel went an extra step to be distinctively different from other 4-star hotels by personifying the essence of Chennai – refreshing, remarkable hospitality. Admittedly, I have not experienced staying at other hotels in Chennai but after staying at different types of hotels in many cities and countries around the world, I can honestly say that Grand Chennai has captured the cheerful spirit of Chennai.
Location & Contact:
Grand Chennai by GRT Hotels
120, Sir Thyagaraya Road,
T Nagar, Chennai 600017
Contact No: +91 044-28150500
*My stay at Grand Chennai inclusive of a dinner at Bazaar Restaurant was complimentary. Opinions expressed in this post are my own.
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