Grand by GRT Hotels, Chennai
We all listened with rapt attention. Our eyes and ears focussed on catching every nuance and every word of what the COO of GRT Hotels, Mr.Vikram Cotah was telling. He was telling the story of Grand by GRT Hotels, Chennai, India the flagship hotel of GRT Hotels and Resorts.
I have always been intrigued by the intricacies and complexities of a Hotel ever since I read Arthur Hailey’s novel of the same name. Our travels across the world and exposure to different hotels have only fuelled my interest in hotels and the stories behind them. No wonder that I hung on every word that was being said. It was remarkable that the hotel had risen like the phoenix after being inundated under 24 feet of water during the Chennai floods in 2015.
Within a period of just 3 months, the hotel had a glitzy makeover and had thrown its doors open to its guests to experience its hospitality again.
As we looked around, we marvelled at the creativity and innovation that had been put into play in quick time to create magic with the interiors. The hotel with its boutique ambience and elegant contemporary design with a quirky tinge was a colourful testimony to the hard work, breadth of vision and ingenuity of the team behind it.
This story of Grand by GRT Hotels was fascinating, but as we moved around the hotel, we found that every corner of the hotel had a story to tell from the different corners of the world, whether it be from the bazaars of the world or from the nooks and crannies of the amazing mosaic that is India.
Here is a peek at the unique world of Grand by GRT Hotels.
As soon as you leave the busy Chennai roads and enter into the Grand by GRT Hotels through a glass facade, you seem to have entered a different world.
A huge lobby greets you, a chandelier that has been designed keeping in mind the bells that hang in Indian temples graces the centre of the roof.
The lobby itself stretches and transforms itself into an all day dining area known as Bazaar which is inspired by the different bazaars of the world. Comfortable and tastefully designed seating places dot the lobby.
A large atrium dominates the centre and lends an elegant charm combined with a vintage and romantic aura. Two aesthetically designed glass elevators that glide up and down complete the pretty picture.
The Grand by GRT Hotels has 133 rooms and caters to a diverse range of needs. From the convenience and comfort of Business Class rooms to the lavish luxury of exclusive themed suites, the hotel has it all covered. The rooms come with complimentary Buffet Breakfast, complimentary and unlimited Wi-Fi, Coffee/Tea maker, toiletries, Safe Locker, Hair Dryer, etc..
What is indeed interesting to note is that each floor is designed with a different theme in mind and this immediately springs to your attention as soon as you emerge from the elevator. For instance, one of the floors is themed on the Tamil Film Industry and the sight of the posters of some of the legends of Tamil Cinema greet you as soon as you step out from the elevator. Kollywood trivia line the walls to make a fascinating display, banners of the big names like Gemini and AVM occupy a prime position on the walls.
A clapper used for mahurat shots and a tin box with film reels add to the enigmatic and glitzy Kollywood aura that pervades the floor.
The rooms on the floor also echo the Kollywood motif in some way or the other. On another floor the Tamil language theme has been employed to interesting effect, the alphabets of the Tamil language adorn the wall and a blackboard hangs invitingly for those who want to scribble a letter or two.
Yet another floor is themed on the traditional jewellery of the region, a fascinating attraction here is the painting of a Bharat Natyam dancer adorned in traditional attire and bedecked with jewellery, the face of the dancer has been substituted with a mirror and one can try taking a picture with one’s face morphed on the body of the Bharat Natyam dancer.
A walk through the corridors and floors of the Grand by GRT Hotels is like a fascinating voyage of exciting discoveries as there is something unexpected, something unique and something innovative in every nook and corner.
The J.Hind Experience
J.Hind which is the short form for Jugalbandhi Hindustani is a place where one can dine amidst the stunning settings of contemporary Indian art sourced from across the country.
The motifs of Krsna Mehta of India Circus bathe the restaurant in kaleidoscopic hues and one is swept away in a blaze of colours that evoke the colourful diversity of India.
The chairs, the curtains, the wall hangings and everything that makes up the restaurant is a piece of art in its own right.
Given such a setting the food obviously needs to match up to the vibrancy and that is what it does.
We experienced a dinner that brought alive in multi-dimensions the flavours and aromas from across India, all brewed together by the magic wand of the Chef and his retinue.
What is of paramount importance to note here is that food at J.Hind soars from the routine to the romantic with a twist here and a turn there. Some of the magic is created right in front of your eyes.
They indulge in a lot of drama. Simple slices of pineapple acquire a magic of their own when tinged with a hint of curry leaves and other spices. A traditional pudding assumes an exotic avatar as it is served in a coconut shell adorned with edible flower petals. The food is served with smiles and conversations and ingredients of theatre keep your interests aroused and you wait expectantly for the surprise the next course is going to unveil. J.Hind is the place where you just do not eat your food, you experience it holistically, as your excitement builds up to a crescendo, course by delicious course.
The great Bazaars of the world are fascinating melting pots of culture. From the exotic bazaars of Istanbul to the night markets of Hong Kong and from Delhi’s Chandni Chowk to the Souks of Dubai, the bazaars of the world are a mesmerising potpourri of experiences for the senses and beyond. Of course, food as in street food is an integral part of these bazaars.
The Bazaar in The Grand by GRT Hotels is an all day dining area that curates the experiences of these great bazaars to thematically bring alive their vitality within its premises. The decor of the place is sure to give you a sense of Deja Vu if you have been to any of the great bazaars of the world. Various street food from different corners of the world feature in the restaurant’s menu.
A cart laden with Kebabs, a chef expertly whirring a cotton candy machine to whip up a pink and soft cotton candy, a softee ice-cream machine, all integrate seamlessly with the lively and bustling atmosphere of the Bazaar to present a different eating experience altogether.
Steam & Whistles
Bringing alive the ethos of the pub culture of San Francisco of the 1920’s is the quaint and vintage bar intriguingly named as Steam & Whistles. An antique display case completed the effect and one can be forgiven for getting lost in the labyrinths of time after a drink or two here.
Adding an aura of mystery and intrigue is the bar named simply as the code. Before you make a beeline for it, make sure you know the code of the day, or else you cannot enter! The code offers three levels for revelry, ideal for corporate teams looking for a place to let their hair down and have an unforgettable evening.
Some more Pampering
The Grand by GRT Hotels has a lovely swimming pool at the basement level where one can drive away the blues and cool off after a hectic schdeule. The Bodhi Spa is another haven of relaxation for the body, mind and soul. If you are the kind who never wants to miss your workout, there is a well-equipped fitness centre to keep you fit and healthy.
Our stay at the Grand by GRT Hotels was nothing short of an epic experience. We realized that this is not just a hotel, it is much more. It is the gateway to a mind-boggling array of experiences ranging from art, heritage, culture, to the best in experiential and immersive dining in a quirky and contemporary ambience. The experiences are different but all of them firmly stand on solid base of hospitality with a big H! Click here to check out GRT Hotels site.
We were hosted by Grand by GRT Hotels, Chennai. However, the opinions stated here are our own and based on personal experience.
Check out our experiences at other GRT properties:
An Affair to Remember with GRT- A Photo Blog
6 Reasons why a stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel GRT, Chennai is an unforgettable experience
Paradise unveiled at The Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay by GRT Hotels, Mamallapuram
Silk, Stone and Spirituality in the Temple Town of Kanchipuram, India
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