South India’s oldest hotel is reopening after a year of renovation. The Taj Connemara, originally created in the mid 1800’s, now has a more modern sensibility.
The Chennai hotel now has a new design which includes architectural influences of the Classic Colonial, Art Deco and features from architect Geoffrey Bawa’s “Tropical Modernism” style. The hotel has more than 140 rooms and suites in the Tower and Heritage wings with four poster beds, vintage prints and objets d’art.
The renovation also showcases some of the hotel’s original features like wooden carvings from the 16th and 17th century temples of Mahabalipuram. People who stay can experiences over four acres of landscaped greens and enclosed atrium gardens.
The hotel has both informal and formal dining options to resemble a 19th century club including The Lady Connemara Bar & Lounge—the city’s first licensed bar. At the all-day-diner Verandah, guests can eat Anglo-Indian dishes and regional Madras specialties. The Raintree serves Chettinad fare in an alfresco ambiance.
Chennai was recently declared as a Creative City by UNESCO. The hotel says the location is strong in cuisine, architecture, culture and musical heritage, and that its staff can curate experiences like heritage tours.
Taj was established in the early 20th century. The Indian Hotels Company Limited’s iconic brand comprises hotels around the world including India, North America, United Kingdom, Africa, Middle East, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan and Nepal.