My trip to India included stops in Chennai, Mumbai, and Delhi. I really enjoyed every hotel I chose. Read on to hear about my experience at the Sheraton Chola Chennai!
Your first couple days in India can be very jarring, for lack of a better word. Seeing the lack of infrastructure, the poverty, the population growth, etc, can be a very overwhelming thing. It’s nice to have a hotel that can help guide you through it all and provide some insulation from everything going on, to help you adjust. The Sheraton Chola Chennai did just that!
When I first arrived, I was surprised to have to go through a metal detector just to enter the hotel. In fact, I had to put my luggage on a security scanner belt as well. I soon realized that every hotel in India makes you do this. By the time I had gone through security, I had probably already been greeted by three people. The bellhop, security guards, and door opener (yeah I think that’s an official title) all welcomed me to the hotel. Rather than having a traditional front desk counter, the Sheraton Chola just has two wooden desks. The women who work there wear extremely beautiful saris, and the woman who checked me in was extremely friendly, always referring to me as Mr. Hanson. She checked me in, and then she walked me to my room and asked me if it was satisfactory. Let me say that it was the most satisfactory room I had in all of India! I don’t really have any status with Starwood so I don’t believe this was an upgrade. I think all of their rooms are actually this huge.
When you enter the room, there’s immediately a desk and workspace area. The desk is quite comfortable, and as you continue into the room, you enter the living room, complete with 42″ HDTV. There is a cabinet with a stack of bottled waters. You then turn through the double doors on your right into the bedroom. The bedroom has a huge bed, another 42″ HDTV, and an entrance to the bathroom.
It had one of those shower heads that comes directly from the ceiling. My in-room accommodations truly were second to none! The view out the window wasn’t the prettiest, but I guess that is to be expected by a hotel in the heart of Chennai.
The Sheraton Chola Chennai has a couple restaurant selections, but by far, their best food there is at Peshwari. This is a chain that the ITC Group puts in their hotels. The price is by no means a bargain, but the quality of the Indian food there is really fantastic (North Indian cuisine). Peshwari was my first meal in India, and it definitely ranks among the best. Even if you’re not staying at the Sheraton Chola, it’s worth going there for dinner. I had dinner at a few other hotels in Chennai while I was there, and I found them all second to Peshwari.
It took me a little while to get used to Chennai, but in the end, I really fell in love with the place. There are no skyscrapers there, a la Mumbai or Delhi. The city is dirty, but hey – it’s India. Since it’s on the water, you get a great breeze to help keep the temperature down a bit. And speaking of the water, the beach there is the second largest beach in the world, second only to a beach in Brazil. But let’s be clear. The beach ain’t the prettiest… It’s a bit dirty, and it’s swarmed with people. However, apparently if you leave the city limits a bit, the beach is fantastic.
The Sheraton Chola Chennai is a really great hotel. Staff members quickly learn your name, you’re greeted everywhere you go, and it’s just a very classy place. Also, the rooms are huge! I really recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Chennai. And as a side note, I did stay one night at the Courtyard Marriott later in the week. That hotel sucks, and that’s coming from a Platinum Marriott Rewards member. Avoid that place.