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“Fabulous building. That alone is worth 5 stars.”
Review of Broadlands Hotel

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Broadlands Hotel
Ranked #79 of 395 Hotels in Chennai (Madras)
Level Contributor
15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Fabulous building. That alone is worth 5 stars.”
Reviewed 8 July 2013 via mobile

Filthy, hot, noisy (muezzin at 3am) and uncomfortable.

However.... I first came here 16 years ago and it hasn't changed at all. Wonderful, wonderful building full of pot plants, balconies, mature trees, courtyards, walkways and twisting staircases. This is old India. Highly, highly recommended if you like heritage and dirt. (It's therefore my favourite hotel in Chennai)

I agree with the previous reviewer though. Child friendly? Absolutely no way!!!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Almcg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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75 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
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English first
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2013

I read the reviews here before visiting, both the good and the bad, and the simple truth in my mind is that they are all correct!

This place DOES feel at times like it is falling apart. It is grimy, there is bird crap covering some of the outdoor staircases, some of the shared bathrooms are dingy, and they charge hourly for wi-fi...

BUT... yeah the place has character, but it more than that. People do come back here time and again. The social vibe of the place is great, mixing such experienced returnees with newbies.

Chennai was my very first experience of India. Broadlands was not the luxurious comfortable splurge that many friends suggested would be the best way to ease myself into the country. But with pleasant courtyards, a higgledy piggledy layout with staircases and alcoves everywhere (meaning you feel like you just have to explore) and a spartan but sunny roof area overlooking the nearby Mosque, it did the trick.

Broadlands does feel like a traveler oasis within the city. It may be showing its age, but there is something about the place that grabbed me and made me feel most comfortable. It is far from the best guesthouse / hotel I have seen in India so far (I have been in the country a month now), but if I was ever to return to Chennai I cannot imagine staying anywhere else.

Room Tip: The rooms on the ground floor seem dingier, try to get a room upstairs.
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mark A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 October 2012

3 of us found this place by mistake!
it is one of my favourite places to stay in india.
its old school! you feel like you've gone back in time.
the showers are slightly doggy! but apart from that i couldn't fault it.
it reminds me of eat pray love.
i have been twice and would love to go back.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank lucy p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangkok
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 October 2012

I thought Broadlands was awesome, the staff are awesome, helpful, friendly, very informative and it's a safe place to be. It's convient and situated in a busy area filled with life and exciting little things!
It's old and it's charm lingers thru the hall ways and creeps up on you the day you leave, it's a beautiful place. India is not for princesses. So if u have an attitude then this is not for you.

Room Tip: Take a sleeping bag or bed sheet! :p
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Deanmadeira
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Storrs, CT
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 February 2012

The guide said it best: You either love it or hate it. I loved it. And judging from the other reviewers the character that they and I loved best was the laid back nature of this place. The manager is a nice guy who is very helpful. He helped us get last minute train tickets to Kerala the day before the journey. The price was extremely reasonable - ~only Rs 400 and I take it its even less in the off season.

We met a lot of travelers who came back to this place every time they were in Chennai - some coming back for over 20 years. Many stay months at a time.

The architecture and layout of the guest house is very authentic and isnt like any of cookie cutter multinational chains like Hilton, Holiday Inns etc that are opening up everywhere.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Josh K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Armidale, Australia
Level Contributor
133 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 February 2012

1994. 2004, and now 2012: has Broad Lands changed? Certainly Chennai has changed - so much I shudder to think of returning there, though I still love Pycrofts Rd. and A2B restaurant. Chennai has become a traffic madness, yet Broad Lands is as cool and detached as it ever was. If it weren't for Bharatanatyam and flights to South East Asia, I doubt anyone sane would now go to old Madras. But if you have to go, and you still hold a lingering love of the old days of India, when dirt was not an issue, just a fact, then stick with Broad Lands.

I have to say, the staff have gone downhill. They used to be friendly and laid-back. Now they are engrossed with their own dramas and frankly useless. Even getting the usual pleasant refreshing services has become a matter of chance or hours late. But do they care I say this? Not in the least! Just like old India, they don't give a twig what you think. They don't own a computer, let alone surf this Web site.

The place is filthy - please all new Indian travellers, stay away ... you will be horrified at the dirt on the windowsills and mould in the bathrooms. There was a time when travelling in India was simply living with dirt - no pedestal toilets, no toilet paper, no TripAdvisor response to hold above the quivering guest house owner like a baton lest they treat you wrong, no luxurious AC rooms with Italian marble floors, no hot water, no bed sheets, no one who took the slightest interest in your complaints or suffering. But India for the tourist has changed, as we all know, and if you love the new tourist scene, give Broad Lands the swerve - it's not for you. They tell me the place next door is heaps better.

Broad Lands doesn't care, because its clients just keep coming. Maybe one day they will find themselves left behind, but for now, there are plenty of travellers who relish in this unique and fascinating place. Where else can you have a giant Neem tree growing in your courtyard?

To business: rooms 44 and 43 are the pick, as all Broad Lands old-timers know. But just keep in mind the temperature. Sure these are superb rooms, but they are on top, meaning they get the heat from the sun. Down below, it is significantly cooler. But if it's not heat peak season, these two rooms are the prize.

We stayed in 44 this time: windows on all sides (except the bathroom side is best kept closed), and all on it's own. 43 is also superb and probably better air-flow, except it takes the full brunt of the Muslims over the back. I say this because while we were there the typical short prayer session stretched from 9:30 pm to midnight, during which you had to suffer the most insane violent and extremely loud ranting I have ever heard (during which the children in the front carpet area periodically broke out in bursts of laughter - India is weird). I kid you not - I have never heard anything like it anywhere. But that was just a twelve day Mohamed's birthday special event apparently, so not to be generally expected.

Mind you, it was a relief to return to after a day trip to Kanchi - traffic noise and intensity is far worse than a few ranting Muslims just doing their purposeful prayers. I found myself quite fond of our local Muslim ranter after suffering the brunt of modern Indian commercial secular road madness. Honestly, and I know I've said this for the last 40 years and it hasn't made a spit of difference, but India can't go on just adding more people, cars, motorbikes and noise - something will rupture long before capitalist nirvana arrives.

This is why I love Broad Lands, with all it's dirt and lazy cleaning ladies. My wife, however, I think has had enough - so there you go.

I say, stick with Broad Lands and Triplicane High Road, if you do have to suffer the insanity of modern Chennai. But don't leave without seeing a quality professional performance of Bharatanatyam dance - you will never regret that!!

PS1 - don't pre-wrap parcels for the Triplicane Post, they'll just pull them apart and do it themselves all over.

PS2 - the best tailor has left Broad Lands street location, and is now in a small lane off Pycrofts Rd. I forget their name, but ask around and you'll find them.

PS3 - if you do a day trip to Kanchi, remember the temples close between 12 noon and 4pm. Best time is to leave at 5:30 am and return in the afternoon, else you won't see much and spend most of your time in traffic.

Room Tip: 44 and 43 when it's not full summer.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Michael1052
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Derry
Level Contributor
54 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 January 2012

Ahh, Broadlands, returning after 5 years and the place is just the same, leafy, full of motorbikes probably the price also. It is funny reading the mixed reviews here, they differ violently but everybody is right! It is run-down, peeling paint, dark etc. But I love the mellow vibe, the staff are super-relaxed and there is a great sense of calm stepping into Broadland's cool courtyard after a mad day out in Chennai. Although I can imagine arriving exhausted at night and being horrified like the fellow below. But I reckon the current Lonely Planet runs a pretty fair description of the place and it's not one I would have chosen to bring children to. Cheap, full of character, rough round the edges, avoid if you're a clean freak, but I really love it.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ShakkaKhan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Broadlands Hotel

Property: Broadlands Hotel
Address: 18 Vallabha Agraharam Street | Triplicane, Chennai (Madras) 600005, India
Region: India > Tamil Nadu > Chennai District > Chennai (Madras)
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #79 of 395 Hotels in Chennai (Madras)
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 50

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