Arrival/Check-in: Embracing the goal of Hilton Hotels and Resorts to be “a global brand with a local heart,” the cool marble lobby is partitioned by a curved filigree screen which introduces traditional aspects of Indian art. Every clerk and doorman greets guests with “Good day,” and the efficient check-in staff dispenses magnetic room keys that open doors reliably without requiring repeated returns to the lobby for recharging. Duty Manager Kaarthik Kumar at the desk confirmed my return air ticket and printed out my boarding pass. (30/30)
Guest Quarters: Like each of the 204 guestrooms, mine was comfortably fitted with a slice of mirrored wall, a mahogany desk, upholstered armchair and ottoman. There are 40-inch LCD TV sets, four hypo-allergenic pillows, walk-in rain showers, Crabtree & Evelyn “La Source” amenities and multi-international power points at desk height for Internet connections. It took a few tries to decipher the automatic light switches, but natural light floods in through floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the neighborhood. On the eighth and ninth executive floors, private check-in and check-out service is offered. Breakfast, cocktails with hors d’oeuvres and other refreshments are complimentary there. (28/30)
Services/Amenities: A convenient third-floor business center supplements the in-room electronics. Guests have use of spa facilities and a fitness room equipped with Precor stationary bikes, treadmills and gym gear. The roof features a breezy outdoor 15-foot by 80-foot infinity swimming pool designed so bathers can gaze at the cityscape while swimming laps. The terrace’s balmy palm trees just clear the 10-story height limit dictated by the nearby airports.
While my room service lunch was delivered in an efficient 20 minutes, I could have chosen from five restaurants offering snacks, lounge food and international dining. The rooftop Q Bar and Grill serves light fare poolside in an open-air lounge with cozy upholstered gazebo seating. There are selections of cheeses and fine wines in the Vintage Bank, a third-floor lounge fitted out with masculine “steamer trunk” tables. Ayla showcases local Kadaloram cuisine, and Est in the lobby provides sandwiches, fresh pastries, chocolates prepared on site and salads (including a delicious Greek salad with goat cheese and grape leaves). The hotel’s major food venue is an all-day buffet in sunny Vasco’s with skyline views and four live kitchens serving Indian, Oriental and international dishes. (39/40)
The Experience: Barely 15 minutes from the international airport and nearby technology parks, the new Hilton Chennai is a convenient alternative for people visiting this bustling southeast India city that is emerging as one of the country’s major business centers. The excellent service and comfortable décor offer a soothing refuge from the cacophony of traffic and pedestrians in the congested streets. While technically the Hilton brand ranks mid-level among the Hilton Worldwide range, this particular Hilton is a luxury option for visitors to Chennai.
Total Score: 97/100
124/1 J.N. Salai, Ekkaduthangal
Chennai, India 600 032
tel 91 44 222 55555
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