Taj Connemara Hotel in Chennai, India

Home > Taj Connemara Hotel Review
by Santorini Dave • Updated: October 9, 2019

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Review of Taj Connemara in Chennai, India.

Taj Connemara – Exquisite, historic, convenient, and iconic – what’s not to love?

There is just so much to adore about this gorgeous 160-year-old hotel. In a city of charmless high-rises, the Connemara – with its whitewashed walls, marble lobby, and spiral staircase – exudes colonial elegance. Everything is so regal, especially the Raj-style bar/lounge, and the flourishing gardens are extensive and rare among rivals. Also, the outdoor pool is sublime: surrounded by palms and other thriving plants, it offers a tropical island vibe. Meandering corridors packed with photos and prints of old India lead to rooms and suites in separate buildings: the Heritage Block around a courtyard garden, and the more modern wing overlooking the pool and gardens. All types of accommodations are wonderfully furnished and oh-so-colonial. If not staying, it’s still absolutely worth visiting from anywhere else in the city.

Taj Connemara – The Location

  • Address: Along Binny Road in the inner southern suburbs, just south of the river from Egmore.
  • Area: Faces a road that isn’t too busy, and about 200m from the main city thoroughfare, Anna Salai (Mount Road). A few facilities in the immediate area, and 600m from a world-class mall and the metro.
  • How to Get There: There are efficient pre-paid taxi counters at the domestic and international airports; the trip takes about 35-45 minutes (16km). (Uber and Ola seem to be off-limits there.) The hotel is linked by metro to the airport, Central and Egmore train terminals, and CMBT (Koyambedu) bus station. See Local Transport below for more information.

Taj Connemara – The Basics

  • Guests: Almost entirely upmarket tourists. Business people are more likely to stay at the sister hotel, Taj Club House, about 300m away.
  • Views: Rooms are on only 3 or 4 levels. The few facing the front offer street views (and are soundproofed), but most face the pool and lovely gardens (and are, therefore, quieter).
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Not expected (or provided) at this sort of historic hotel in Chennai.

  • Wi-Fi: Free throughout for all guests.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +91 (0)44 6600 0000
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: tajhotels.com

Taj Connemara – Amenities

  • Pool: Gorgeous and surrounded by lush gardens which ensure a tropical resort feel. Flanked by a café, gym, and spa.
  • Spa: In a separate whitewashed building facing the pool, the Jiva Spa offers a superb array of treatments and therapies: arguably the finest in the city. Yoga and meditation also available.
  • Fitness Center: There isn’t one at this historic hotel but guests can use the gym at the sister hotel, Taj Club House, 300m away. That gym is huge and open 24 hours, and personal trainers are available.
  • Other Facilities: Business services. Money-changing. Travel desk. Heritage walk through the hotel for guests.

Taj Connemara – Food and Drink

  • Restaurants & Bars: The Verandah – Lovely setting with tables inside and next to the pool. Lunchtime buffets and live music on Sundays. It’s as adorably colonial as the rest of the hotel. Open 24 hours. • Raintree – Easy to miss at the back of the gardens. Some tables outside in the delightful shady courtyard. Award-wining cuisine, but dinner only. • The Lady Connemara Bar & Lounge – Chennai’s most appealing bar exudes a colonial charm. Separate lounge area and fascinating décor. If staying elsewhere, come for a drink or signature afternoon tea (but book in advance).
  • Breakfast: Not normally included, but this depends on the type of room and how it was booked.
  • Room Service: Available 24/7.

Taj Connemara – Rooms

  • Room Types: Heritage Rooms (King or Twin Beds) • Luxury Rooms (King or Twin Beds) • Luxury Grande Rooms King Bed • Colonial Rooms with Private Sit-Out • Executive Suites
  • Smoking Rooms: Some rooms allow smoking. Check when booking.
  • Best Room: With a modern layout incorporating the hotel’s overall elegance, history, and ambiance, the Colonial Rooms feature pastel colors, antique furniture, and ‘private sit-outs’ (i.e. porches).
  • For Families: All but the Heritage Rooms can accommodate families of 4. The Executive Suites feature separate living areas which can be converted to second bedrooms.

Taj Connemara – Local Transport

  • Walking: The main road isn’t as busy as others. Sidewalks and a few shops make walking reasonably pleasant.
  • Public Transport: The metro offers services to both airport terminals, the major train and bus stations, and the city center. The nearest metro station – LIC – is about 600m from the hotel. 7-minute walk.
  • Taxis & Auto-rickshaws: The black-and-yellow taxis at the airport are nowhere to be seen in the city. Instead, they have been replaced by the app-based Uber and Ola. Plenty of auto-rickshaws around but the drivers won’t use meters, so they usually cost more than Uber or Ola.

Taj Connemara – What’s Nearby?

Restaurants & Bars

  • The sister hotel, Taj Club House, is about 300m away. Head down the road (away from the river), cross at the lights, and walk along Club House Road. This modern hotel offers a number of classy options including: Beyond Indus (swish décor and traditional cuisine from across India with modern influences), Club House (open 24 hours for contemporary Asian cuisine, including buffets and live music on most nights), Kefi (on the rooftop, featuring Mediterranean cuisine and stylish Greek-themed décor), and Blend (bar/lounge, which turns into a nightclub on weekends). 4-minute walk.
  • Most guests will probably head to the fantastic Express Avenue mall (see below). It offers familiar outlets, such as Subway, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks, as well as numerous atractive cafés and restaurants, such as Chili’s American Grill and Cafe Coffee Day. And the food court is huge. 8-minute walk (600m).

Shops

  • The hotel is an easy walk (600m) from the world-class Express Avenue mall. Huge range of bistros and boutiques over 5 levels, as well as one of India’s largest games arcades and a cinema complex that shows western films, too. Head down the main road (away from the river). Turn right, and then left at the next junction and walk down Pattullos Road. 8-minute walk.

Taj Connemara – The Hotel

The hotel is historic and iconic.

Within a chain of luxury hotels across India, the Connemara is truly historic and iconic.

The hotel maintains the colonial history and ambience.

The design, layout, and color ensure that the colonial history and ambience of the hotel remains.

The hotel has enviable gardens.

Gardens like these at the Connemara are uncommon – and often non-existent – among rival hotels.

The opulent lobby is a bit too casual.

The lobby is opulent, as expected, but surprisingly casual and laidback.

The Heritage Block features a garden courtyard.

The hotel is separated into two wings. Within the Heritage Block is a garden courtyard.

The hotel proudly promotes its history via photos all over.

With corridors lined with photos of the hotel and old India, the Connemara promotes its history with pride.

The new wing rooms overlook the pool and gardens.

Many rooms in the modern wing overlook the pool and gardens.

The gardens feature plenty of greenery and lounge chairs.

The gardens around the pool are lush. There are plenty of lounge chairs among the gardens and facing the pool.

The Jiva Spa is very impressive.

In a separate whitewashed building facing the pool is the impressive Jiva Spa.

The Verandah café is located by the pool.

Alongside the hotel pool is The Verandah café.

The Verandah café has mostly indoor seating.

Most tables at The Verandah café are inside.

The Verandah café's lunch buffets are very popular.

The lunchtime buffets at The Verandah café are renowned across the city.

The lovely Raintree restaurant is located at the back of the hotel.

Particularly lovely is the Raintree restaurant, easy to miss at the back of the hotel gardens.

Raintree restaurant offers outdoor seating and dinners only.

Only open for dinner, tables at the Raintree restaurant are also dotted among the gardens.

The Lady Connemara Bar & Lounge is definitely worth a visit.

Worth a visit – even if not staying at the hotel – is The Lady Connemara Bar & Lounge.

The bar and lounge features an excellent colonial decor.

The adorable bar and lounge at the Connemara offers so many reminders of its colonial heritage.

The Heritage Block houses older rooms.

Some older rooms at the Connemara are in the Heritage Block.

Some ground-floor rooms feature private porches.

A few rooms at ground level feature private porches.

Corridors feature marble floors and plush carpets.

Corridors of marble floors and plush carpets lead to the rooms and suites in the 2 wings.

Some of the soundproofed rooms overlook the carpark and main road.

Some rooms face the carpark and main road at a distance of about 50m, but are not affected by traffic noise because of soundproofing.

The hotel layout is unobtrusive.

On only a few levels, the hotel is unobtrusive and doesn’t unnecessarily dominate the landscape.

The hotel is located close to Chennai's main thoroughfare, Anna Salai.

There are a few (but not many) facilities along the road in front, but the hotel is only about 200m from the main thoroughfare through Chennai, Anna Salai (Mount Road).

The Club House café at Taj Club House hotel close by is very pleasant.

About 300m away is the sister hotel, Taj Club House. This business-oriented hotel offers several places to eat, including the Club House café.

The Kefi restaurant on the Taj Club House rooftop is very stylish.

On the rooftop of the Taj Club House hotel is the very stylish Kefi restaurant.

Beyond Indus restaurant at the Taj Club House is also very elegant.

Also at the Taj Club House hotel, 300m from the Connemara, is the elegant Beyond Indus restaurant.

The world-class Express Avenue mall is within walking distance.

An easy 600m walk from the Connemara is the world-class Express Avenue mall.

The large mall offers several places to eat, drink, and shop.

The mall provides 200+ places to eat, drink, and shop across five levels.

The mall also houses a Starbucks outlet.

Among the numerous cafés at the mall are familiar outlets such as Starbucks.

The mall's food court is enormous.

The food court on the upper floor of the Express Avenue mall is enormous.

The mall's food court features several delectable food counters.

There is so much to choose from in the food court at the mall, only 600m from the hotel.

The games arcade is one of the largest in the country.

The Express Avenue mall boasts one of the largest games arcades in India.

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