Chennai or Madras as it was called before, has always been “home” for me as I grew up in this city and was educated in some of the prestigious schools and colleges here. To me, Chennai has been a place where people are friendly and their enthusiasm despite the hot, humid climate is infectious. This trip I was witness to the many changes in the city and the new layer of boutiques, restaurants and bars have added to the image of a cosmopolitan Chennai though retaining its roots in tradition and culture.
This visit to Chennai was more for business than pleasure though I decided to bring my family along since it was towards a weekend and my kids needed a break from their hectic school schedules. As always, we travelled by road and reached Chennai within 5 hours including a few stops to stretch our legs. Though I have lived for many years in this city, the sweltering heat never ceases to amaze me and I was prepared for scorching trip ahead. Surprisingly this particular weekend turned out to be very pleasant with an occasional hot spell in the afternoon.
Since this trip was a last minute decision, our lookout for a hotel narrowed us to Courtyard by Marriott since we wanted a hotel which would suit a dual purpose of business and pleasure. The hotel desk was quite helpful since the hotel was in an area where the Metro work was in progress and we reached the hotel with not much of a hassle. The location is very convenient as it is in the heart of the city close to some of the IT and manufacturing hubs as well as the airport.
Though it seemed to be quite crowded when we arrived, the initial formalities where taken care by the front desk within no time and we were whisked away to our room. Since it was a last minute booking, we managed to get only the Executive Deluxe Room though I was informed that they could upgrade to an Executive Premium room in 24 hours. The Executive Deluxe Room was quite spacious and a well designed modern room with twin beds, separate workstation, LED TV with satellite channels, tea and coffee making facilities, electronic safe, minibar and marble bathrooms. The decor of the room was elegant and upscale in the line with the decor across the hotel.
Though I would not go into our day schedule, we did get a chance to try their restaurant Paprika for dinner. The restaurant located on the ground floor opposite the front desk is an all day restaurant spread across a large area serving a fine selection of international dishes. There are separate areas on one side of the restaurant solely for live counters, salads, soups and special dishes. The buffet area is spread across the end of the restaurant near the open kitchen where one can have a view of the appetizers and pizzas being prepared.
Located on the ground floor, beside Paprika is their Deli – Muffin Tree. As the name suggest, this little Deli offers fresh hot coffee and a variety of teas, as well as gourmet pastries, sandwiches and other options to take away.
They also have a beautiful lit pub – Rhapsody where I did get a chance to spend a little me time once the kids had gone to bed. The first thing which caught my eye here was the amount of spacing between seating and the well stocked bar. I understand that a part of this pub will be converted into another restaurant in the coming months to provide more options for the food lovers.
The next day as promised we moved to the larger and more spacious Executive Premium Room which was helpful to keep the kids occupied with a seperate area where they could play a few board games. This room with its hardwood furnishings and modern decor was perfect and I would definitely recommend this room for your stay here. The queen bed and TV are in one part of this room with a seperate area to entertain guests which includes a sofa as well as separate desk. There is also a mini kitchenette with the facility of preparing quick simple dishes if the need arises.
In addition to the Executive Deluxe and Executive Premium rooms, they also have other options such as Deluxe, Courtyard Suite and Presidential Suite.
Post moving to the Premium room and our breakfast, we took a tour around the hotel and a glimpse of their O2 Spa, Fitness Lounge and a gym, all located on the mezzanine floor. The O2 Spa a well known name offers relaxing treatments, including facials, manicures, massage and beauty therapies. The Fitness lounge is separate for men and women and provided steam and jacuzzi facilities. The 24 hours gym is one of the better hotel gyms I have seen with well maintained equipment such as treadmills, ellipticals cross trainer, upright cycle,gym ball, free weights and many more.
They also have a versatile venue space with small and large meeting rooms with catering services. Other hotel amenities available were free Wi-Fi, an on-site business centre, free parking and 24-hour room service. There is also a small souvenir shop located on the ground floor beside the Deli.
There is a special Executive Lounge specifically for members and those staying in the Executive rooms of the hotel. This lounge is open all day and provides specific food and beverages free of charge to its members.
The hotel has a special brunch called “SuperHero Brunch” running on Sundays from 11.30 to 3.00 p.m. We knew we just couldn’t miss this and the kids had a great time with the special tattoo area, live music and food themed around Superheroes. More on this coming soon.
Courtyard by Marriott is situated in Chennai’s central business district, a 15-minute drive from Marina Beach which we did visit one evening and also walked in the area surrounding the hotel, T – Nagar which is a great choice for those interested in shopping for clothes and knick knacks.
This property has one of the best-rated locations in Chennai and whether you’re visiting for business or leisure, Courtyard by Marriott, Chennai should definitely be among the top choices with their spacious accommodation and excellent hospitality.
Address: 564 Anna Salai, Teynampet, Chennai 600018 India.
Reservations: +91 44 66764000.