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“A massive disappointment on several counts- has really lost its way.”

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Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai
Ranked #29 of 437 Hotels in Chennai (Madras)
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 21, 2012

This so called heritage hotel has finally been stripped of any vestiges of history, charm and service.
My grandparents got engaged here in the 1940s and I last visited in 2001 when it still had a little something about it.
Now it has really lost its way.
Arrival is charmless - the once grand arrival guest were granted by beautifully dressed staff is now a pseudo military exercise.
Granted security at any large city hotel after the Mumbai attacks especially one in the Taj Group does understandably mean security but teh way the Connnemara has done it has ruined it.
The door way is really awkward and the silly security guard uniforms serve no purpose - Bring back the beautiful bearers in turbans.
Once inside, if you arrive of an evening, the glistening foyer which is beautiful will be filled with the beats from the worst of club music coming from the adjacent bar. Why ruin that foyer which is the best looking part of the hotel with tacky noise pollution.
The room we had was clean and comfy but was pokey and came with the constant hum of air conidtioners on the roof of the Verandah restaurant - all rooms anywhere near the the verandah will have this noise.
I really don't want a massive transfer sticker of a giant mosquito staring at me from the window warning me not open it. The bathrooms were clean-ish - no fault of the housekeeping staff who did a great job - just that the fittings getting a bit long in the tooth.
The once traditional barbers where many an international cricketer went for a hot towel shave has been replaced by a cheap looking hairdressing salon that wouldn't look out of place at the wrong end of a British high street - no style.
Also gone is the live Bharatanatyam dancing which made the restaurant in the garden a must.
I mystified by reports here that people consider this place 'heritage' apart form the shell which isn't much to look at most is 1990s modern.
The pool used to be beautiful but now it looks tired and the gardens not so beautifully kept.
We only ate at the Connemara for a couple of breakfasts but they have an embarrasing thing going on with the service which I try to recount here without being rude to the staff who were only trying to do there best.
Guest who are mid way through a mouthful of breakfast dont want to explain to interested staff where they have come from, where they are visiting, what they do for a living. It's fine out on the street or in cheaper digs but not when you are trying to eat and relax in a smart top end hotel.
At one breakfast our meal was interupted three times by seperate staff who wanted to chat. None of the domestic guest got the same quizzing. We spoke to a local businessman friend about this and he described it as 'over hospitalising' which is spot on. Training needed.
The real killer for the Connemara is that is you spend five minutes looking at other hotels in Chennai you will find much, much better for the same money or less.
On this latest visit we had a second booking at the Connemara on our way back via Chennai - we cancelled it in favour of staying at the Raintree on Anna Salai - price was the same, included free wifi and airport transfer and the food was a mile above the connemara offering- see seprate review for this first class hotel. Also looking good for similar money is the Hyatt - super modern but fabulous.
Meanwhile Taj group need to take a serious look at what they are doing with the historic Connemara spot. I hope they can turn it around.

Room Tip: Ask for away from any air con units. that means if you are pool side away from the verandah area.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank gadflyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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656 - 662 of 990 reviews

Reviewed November 18, 2012

I was here for a conference and all of my colleagues stayed at the Meridian.... and all of them, upon seeing my hotel compared to theirs, were sore that they didn't stay here as well. (And the Vivanta was cheaper, too!)

To start off, it's not the Taj. If you are used to staying at the Taj hotels, this will fall short- but if you're like me, and find all the extra attention and fawning over you a little too much- but still like the amenities and service- this is a perfect place. I initially chose this hotel over the Meridian because the photos of the pool were better. (Sounds silly.. turns out, it was the right decision.) The pool is lovely- hidden away from traffic noise (if you've been to India, you realize this is nearly impossible to do anywhere...) the temperature was perfect, and the pool staff is great too. I had my computer and a number of binders, and the attendant asked if I'd like a "do-not-disturb" sign so that they didn't keep asking me if I wanted drinks, food, etc. (I wish all 5-star hotels in India would consider this service.)
The spa was great as well. I had a massage and it was wonderful.
The room was really nice. It faced the pool, so no traffic noise, again. I liked the little tucked-away desk area and the high ceilings. It was old, and the bathroom was nothing great- but it was pretty and fit my needs. I liked the two large Armours - the room just looked really regal and elegant.
Additionally, I had dinner at the Raintree- which was incredible- one of the best restaurants in Chennai- not busy at all- and the chef came out to talk with us. Really nice experience.

Room Tip: Stay on the pool side to have a quieter room.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
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Thank Jamies_oyster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2012 via mobile

My favorite hotel in chennai especially given the garish nature of the some of the GRT properties. Rooms are big. The coffee shop has an excellent breakfast. And the lovely restoration work done on the hotel premises, makes this worth your stay. Try the alfresco sitting at Raintree, their signature restaurant under a huge raintree, if it is still around. Should be magical.

  • Stayed: September 2012
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1  Thank Subrus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2012

Probably one of the reasons I feel it is the worst is because I was given a room which is not renovated (the entire hotel is) and hence felt like living in a room with outdated equipment and design. Unbelievable that a five star hotel can have roofs that chip!!!! The entire ambience of the hotel is outstanding especially considering the long history it has, but the rooms were terribly disappointing.

As you can expect from the Taj group every other service is excellent and outstanding. They have an elegantly designed lobby, variety of restaurants, courteous staff and the best of all, what drew me to the hotel is an amazing traditional South Indian restaurant in the form of Raintree. I just wish they had better rooms, that is what differentiated between a 4 star rating and 2 star on tripadvisor!

Just a small advise to the hotel people, don't give out rooms if they are not ready. I understand that the renovated rooms might be better, but by giving this outdated room you have lost a customer for ever! Instead it is always better to keep such rooms vacant till they are ready.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank Scorpionxylo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2012

Stayed here for a single night on a business trip - Efficient check-in, always smiling staff, courteous bell boys, wonderful rooms and amazing breakfast. This is what Taj has delivered to me every single time and Connemara is no exception.

I arrived pretty late and asked for a pre-billing to ensure quick check-out in the morning. I was served a piping hot thali in the room within 15 minutes. By the time I could finish my dinner, my shoes were polished, the bill was cleared and credit card swiped/settled.

They were prompt enough to wake me up at the right time and packed my breakfast. All this done at 6:30 AM. One tends to value Taj after these kind of experiences - Highly recommended !!!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
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Thank Parijat_17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2012

I first visited this property in the 1970's and started to stay there from the 1980's. It is my favourite hotel in Chennai and always has been. The place has real character, a great location, large comfortable rooms and a style and class that is not easy to fond in Chennai. The Vivanta hotels by Taj are considered the second rung but, in this case, I do understand why. In recent times I have stayed in other Chennai properties and the Connemara is as good as any and in certain ways better than the lot. Again this is based on its character. I have stayed in a lot of Taj Hotels especially in India but also in the UK, Bali and other parts of South-east Asia. The Connemara is certainly one of my favourites. by the way - it;s a great location too...

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank npk123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2012

due to late arrival of my flight and getting taxi late from airport, i reachec around midnight. I requested them for pool side room, so they instantly upgrade me, since i had booked some another type of room. Also they promptly accepted my late checkout request. overall staff is very friendly. breakfast was very good with a personnal table service. overall a great experience.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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2  Thank Sandeep S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, Chennai

Address: Binny Road, Chennai (Madras) 600002, India
Location: India > Tamil Nadu > Chennai District > Chennai (Madras) > Nungambakkam
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center 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: $109 - $545 (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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