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“1 Day at the TAJ”

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Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai
Ranked #29 of 437 Hotels in Chennai (Madras)
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 May 2014

It was one of the most memorable... The whole day a had lot it, The evening was the best which finished with an excellent dinner..A day to remember for life..
It was very serene..
The parking alone could have been better if there was an area to be improved

Room Tip: Every room is unique in its own way
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Paulnirmal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 May 2014

This is a large, stylish and immaculately kept hotel which provides top class accommodation in a historic building which offers comfort, a good night's sleep, a pleasant poolside to relax and a couple of good restaurants to choose from

The historic "heritage" hotel Vivanta by Taj - Connemara in Chennai was built in 1854 as the Imperial Hotel, and went through several makeovers including Art Deco in 1937. As an Architect who specialised in 4 and 5 Star Hotel design, I was particularly enthralled by the upgrade made by the Shri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa in 1974. You can still see his strong imprint from the relaxed pool and garden areas to much of the internal detailing. A must see for lovers of good modern architecture mixed with art deco.

Reasonably accessible from the airport and also well placed to set out to tour by car the city of Chennai, it was a perfect choice for a two day stop over before we set out on our 17 day tour of Southern India.

Internally its decor is sophisticated and immaculately kept. The rooms, we upgraded to the deluxe room which was huge, very comfortable and quiet. The bathrooms are again well proportioned and well set out. Air-conditioning was efficient.

We ate quite late in the general restaurant due to our late arrival from the airport. We chose the self service buffet which was good, but often quite hot and spicy. We perhaps would have been better going for the served food from the menu. The second night ww walked through the poolside area to the upmarket specialist restaurant. The service was superb and the food even better. When we pointed out that the serviette had a slight tear, they moved heaven and earth to make up for this very minor quibble, with the friendly manager coming out to apologise and offer free drinks. Quite superb and one of our gastronomic events of our stay in Southern India. We chose to eat inside, which was wise as when we left, we noticed this sitting in the beautiful landscaped terrace were busily swatting away mosquitos between mouthfuls.

As it has had several reincarnations, the corridors can be confusing but you soon find you way around and our room overlooking the pool from an upper floor was approached by galleries around an internal beautifully landscaped courtyard (a Bawa touch?). The interior refurbishment was done some time ago and does at times show its age but was absolutely fine for us as it is so well maintained.

It is larger than hotels we normally choose but we would certainly go there again without question not least to return to the speciality restaurant.

Room Tip: Well worth upgrading and choosing a room overlooking the pool and garden
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank FoodieArch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmovivanta, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai, responded to this reviewResponded 27 May 2014

Dear Guest,

Greetings from Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai!

It was really nice reading your detailed review of our hotel in which you have touched upon the heritage, architectural aspects and your culinary experiences at the property.

We also take note of your very valuable comments on the your initial impression of the buffet food spice levels and detailing with the restaurant linen. God they say is in the details and your observations only help us close those gaps that exist between a good experience and a flawless one. Thank you very much indeed for the same.

I am also happy to hear about your experience interacting with the restaurant managers who have stepped up to the occasion in the true Taj style.

Do stay with us again and stay connected. I would personally love to show you around a few more of the heritage aspects of the hotel across the property on your next visit.

Kind Regards,

Samrat Datta
General Manager

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Reviewed 14 May 2014

It's a nice heritage hotel. Some parts of it feel a bit old and in need of an upgrade. The breakfast is really good and the service is great. The halls are dotted with old photographs which are fascinating to look at. There is also a board just outside the lobby noting the history of the hotel. Overall, a pretty good hotel and the location is good too. The room was decent. I only stayed a night on this trip so didn't really matter much.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled on business
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Thank SVMet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmovivanta, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai, responded to this reviewResponded 16 May 2014

Dear Guest,

Greetings from Vivanta by Taj Connemara, Chennai!

We thank you for your valuable comments on Tripadvisor. Its very heart warming to read your kind comments on the overall service levels of the hotel. We also take note of your comments on the challenges related to the age and infrastructure of a heritage hotel like ours.

Its our constant endeavor to ensure that we are meeting the unique upkeep requirements that a hotel like ours could have. We are continuously upgrading and restoring various parts of the hotel throughout the year. We would most certainly ensure that no efforts are spared to overcome the deficiencies you would have observed.

Thank you once again and do let us have another opportunity to be of service on your next trip to Chennai!

Kind Regards,

Samrat Datta
General Manager

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Reviewed 13 May 2014

I found the Connemara pretty average for a Taj property. Hotel needs maintenance! Some staff were very motivated by the tip and it seemed a bit annoying. Too many bell boys try to do one job which makes it uncomfortable to tip the person who really did all the work.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled on business
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Thank Hanami1915
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmovivanta, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai, responded to this reviewResponded 16 May 2014

Dear Guest,

Greetings from Vivanta by Taj - Connemara!

We thank you for your valuable comments on Tripadvisor. Every feedback matters to us as they help in taking us one step closer to meeting and exceeding guest expectations.

We have taken a note of your comments on the inadequacies of service levels at some places where you have experienced over enthusiasm or too many employees trying to assist with one requirement. We will most certainly address these as training objectives in the relevant departments.

I would like to assure you that the hotel's experienced staff always try to go one step beyond guest needs to make experiences more memorable and services more anticipative. However, despite the intent; the enthusiasm levels could agreeably be a bit intrusive.

We have also taken a note of your comments on the overall upkeep of the property. It is our constant endeavor to ensure that a heritage hotel like ours stays in great shape at all points of time. We would definitely strive harder towards that objective to make up for deficiencies that may have been felt. Kindly accept my sincere apologies for the same.

Your feedback is important to us and we would do all it takes to ensure that it is used to make services sharper. We thank you once again and look forward to welcoming you back at Chennai soon.

Kind Regards,

Samrat Datta
General Manager

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Reviewed 4 May 2014

My original business trip was scheduled for a month long stay at the Taj, but I changed hotels two weeks after arriving at the Taj Connemara. I will never return to this hotel. My stay began on Dec. 30, 2013 and was not 5 star standards.

First night and second day, the shower would not drain and flooded the bathroom, the toilet would not flush. On the first day I called to have the issues fixed, someone came to my room when I was leaving for work, but on the second day (New Year's Eve) the issues remained. The hotel manager was not accomodating (at first) in having me change rooms. My first 3 calls were ignored. Later the same day when I did speak to the manager, he told me a room change was not possible as the hotel was booked for New Year's Eve. However, after my insistence of a room change during the same conversation, I was able to immediately change rooms. I am not sure why, if rooms were available and they could not fix the issues, why I was told I could not change rooms.

3rd day .... My laundry came back dirty (pressed as if the items had been cleaned) and I was charged for cleaning services. I called housekeeping to have my dirty clothes sent back to the cleaner a second time.

My cleaned clothes were returned and had holes in them. Co-workers later told me they, too, had their cleaned clothes returned with holes, during their past visits. Many items, not one or two, came back with holes.

I had my laundry collected before 10 AM, to be returned the same evening by 6 PM, per the hotel brochure. Three days later my laundry was still not returned and I had to call to inquire why. The hotel had my clothes, they simply had not delivered them, as they told me.

4th day ... Upon my check-in the front hotel staff told me and my business partner I had a complimentary breakfast, then when escorting me to my room, they walked me to the dinning area to show me where I could have the complimentary breakfast. On my fourth day, I decided to have my "complimentary" breakfast. After leaving the table I was chased down and in front of 25+ guests yelled at for not paying my bill. I then learned I did not have a complimentary breakfast. Very embarassing. The hotel informed me I did not have a complimentary breakfast, but they would now offer me one. In the days remaining I never returned for breakfast. I didn't want to risk another similar yelling incident again.

5th day ... First visit at the pool and my guests and I were told to leave as we were not hotel guests. When I explained I was a guest, we were allowed to stay, but we received no service. I invited friends to join me for dinner at the Raintree. Pre-dinner we went to the pool area, where we were the only pool guests. My friends and I sat pool side and their 8 year old daughter got into the pool to enjoy a swim. The pool attendant saw us arrive. After the 8 year old got into the pool, the attendant approached the child and told her to get out of the pool, he never approached the adults to ask if any of us were guests. The parents and I spoke with the attendant, he told us that we were not allowed to use the pool as we had come from the street and were not guests of the hotel. I had to explain I was a paying hotel guest. We remained at the pool, where the child swam, but then received no services. The pool attendant stood 10 feet away and stared us down the entire hour of our stay.

There was a bit more, but I never fully recovered from being yelled at in front of others over the complimentary breakfast bit. I was disappointed to learn that with a reservation, I had to give 36 hours notice to leave without having to pay for my reserved room days.

The Raintree restaraunt is nice and the customer service was outstanding.

The hotel is hot and humid. Upon check-in I was told I was not allowed to touch the airconditiong unit, i.e. I could not lower the temparature for comfort, because the building is old. As a result the room and the hotel are hot and humid. Not touching the thermostat is also stated in the hotel room directory.

The hotel has a wall of approx 20ft high glass doors, approx 100 feet long. The doors are usually left fully open during day hours and sometimes during evening hours. This presents two problems, one the hotel becomes heated and warmed (just below the first floor of rooms) and the opened doors allow for many mosquitoes to enter the hotel and guest rooms. The hotel is swarming with mosquitoes unlike any other places in Chennai I visited. It is horrible. I have scars on my feet from the excessive bites I received from this hotel.

The hotel lobby bathrooms are old and run down, more so than the guest rooms. The fixtures need to be replaced, the toilets and sinks are old, cracking, dirty. One lobby bathroom did not have a towel dispenser (no towels) for guests. The hotel entrance is not inviting. It is cluttered and is not well designed. There is lack of security, too, upon my return arrival from work each day, no one asked to scan my bags before entering the hotel. Easily enough, you can also bypass the main entrance to enter the buildings without being noticed, too.

The guest rooms are tired and worn. The room was lovely, but was in need of maintenance.The wood flooring was severly warping (uneven), not all light fixtures worked. The bathtub and faucet was not the cleanest. Not all outlets in the room worked, a challenge during computer work days. The room did not come with a clock (not business friendly).

The walls are paper thin. When you can hear a full conversation (normal room voices) then the walls are too thin.

There is warm (not hot) water for showering.

Housekeeping was good about servicing my room each day. My only issue was with the laundry, holes in clothes and being returned dirty is not acceptable.

The pool is small and crowded for so few rooms. It was in need of maintenance while I visited.

The hotel has 3 restaurants, a bar, and room service. The bar was never opened before 6 PM, odd. I only visited two restaurants, the main restauraunt the verandah, which is opened 24 hours, where breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets are served and the Raintree.

Service in the Venrandah is poor. One day, no one visited my table, despite waitstaff frequently visiting the table 3 feet away from mine. On other days, I would have to get up to request service (like beverages and silverware) for the buffet dinning. There were two people who were consistent and offered good service, but they were typically not available when I dined in the verandah.

Upon check-in, the hotel should inquire as to their business guests working hours, so the hotel can accomodate the business guests. I don't want calls and visits during sleeping hours or if this presents an issue for laundry delivery, as what happned with me and why my laundry was not delivered to my room for 3 days.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled on business
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1  Thank 935teresa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmovivanta, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai, responded to this reviewResponded 8 May 2014

Dear Guest,

Greetings from Vivanta by Taj - Connemara!

Thank you for your valuable comments on Tripadvisor. We at The Taj always see detailed guest observations as opportunities for improvement as these form the stepping stones for our success which lies in meeting your expectations.

I understand that some of my managerial colleagues had already interacted with you earlier on your feedback. I would like to reiterate my sincere apologies on behalf of all of us once again for your experiences that ranged from room upkeep to laundry or from breakfast services to the pool.

I would like to assure you that each of your individual observations have been taken note of by the concerned department managers personally and no efforts have been spared in ensuring that none of these moments reoccur for any of our discerning guests as you.

I would request you not to hold this against us. Do consider us the next time you travel to Chennai. The hotel product and services are on a constant cycle of small and large improvements. I am sure we will send you back with nothing but pleasant memories of your stay.

With kind regards,

Samrat Datta
General Manager

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Reviewed 2 May 2014 via mobile

This heritage hotel exceeded my expectations. The garden side rooms were simply beautiful with polished wood furnishings and classic leather chairs. The service and food was top notch.

It is located near both modern and traditional shopping centres. Don't miss the old shop of curiosities around the corner.

Stayed: November 2013, travelled on business
Thank Aa_Kenny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmovivanta, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai, responded to this reviewResponded 4 May 2014

Dear Guest,

Greetings from Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai!

We thank you for your time spent in sharing your valuable feedback on Tripadvisor.com.

Your kind words of praise for the classical heritage appeal of the hotel complimented by the warmth of our highly experienced staff goes to assure us that we are on the right path of product and service offerings.

Please do continue your patronage to Taj Hotels, Resorts & Palaces and be assured of many a memorable experiences with us.

With kind regards,

Samrat Datta
General Manager

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Reviewed 1 May 2014

This is the only sort of heritage Hotel in Chennai. Nice but a bit overpriced. The Food & Beverage Department has serious managerial issues. The Breakfast Buffet is posted to be ready at 7AM. This was confirmed verbally. The first day absolutely nothing was on the buffet by 7:05 and next day at 7:30 only 20% was ready. They offer to make anything you want but it will take at least 20min. Not nice if you have to get out in time and highly unprofessional particularly for a Taj Group hotel. The bar list is very nice e but only a fraction of the liquor/drinks are a actually available.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank pfjust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gmovivanta, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai, responded to this reviewResponded 4 May 2014

Dear Guest,

Greetings from Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai!

We thank you for writing your feedback on tripadvisor.com. Your observations about the hotel's services help us address those gaps which come in the way of offering great services to our guests and we are grateful for the same.

We take note of the specific observations you had with regards to the timeliness of breakfast set up on both days of your visit to The Verandah. Rest assured, I have addressed it in a suitable manner with the Food & Beverage team and all necessary steps are being taken to ensure that such experiences do not reoccur. In the meanwhile the beverage lists are also being given their due share of attention overcoming the small difficulties we experienced in recent days involving availability of certain labels in the city.

I regret that you had to go through the inconveniences and request you to let us have another opportunity to be of service. I am sure that the legend of Connemara and the genuine warmth of its hospitable staff will be able to offer one of many Taj experiences with us.

With kind regards,

Samrat Datta
General Manager

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Additional Information about Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai

Address: Binny Road, Chennai (Madras) 600002, India
Region: India > Tamil Nadu > Chennai District > Chennai (Madras) > Nungambakkam
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Chennai (Madras)
#9 Family Hotel in Chennai (Madras)
#13 Romantic Hotel in Chennai (Madras)
#17 Business Hotel in Chennai (Madras)
#18 Spa Hotel in Chennai (Madras)
#27 Luxury Hotel in Chennai (Madras)
Price Range: £77 - £387 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai 5*
Number of rooms: 150
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai is the city's only heritage hotel, built in 1854 as the Imperial Hotel, renamed Albany in 1886, finally re-established as The Connemara in 1890. It was an Art Deco look that the Connemara sported when it ‘reopened’ in 1937. And the legendary architect Geoffrey Bawa added his touch to the tower block and linking pool in 1974. Today, it is infused with the spirited style of Vivanta by Taj. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vivanta By Taj - Connemara, Chennai Hotel Chennai (Madras)
Hotel Taj Connemara Chennai

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