Background Hilton was slow to expand in India, having previously had an alliance with Trident Hotels, but has begun to pick up pace and has four hotels open, in New Delhi, Mumbai and now Chennai. This new-build 204-room property officially opened in April and there are plans to add another 150 rooms, more function space and a spa, though this won’t be for another three years.
What’s it like? The ten-storey property’s design was the work of a US partnership (Wilson Associates) with a Singaporean agency (Di Leonardo), so while it incorporates Indian elements – such as the colourful strips of material above the beds and patterns around the bathroom mirrors – it is recognisably a Hilton. The lobby has a marble floor with a swirling Asian pattern, latticework screens and a coloured glass sculpture hanging from the roof.
Where is it? In Guindy, southwest of the city, in the direction of the airport and also among the new business districts, with Olympia and Tamarai Tech Parks nearby. Depending on traffic, it could take up to an hour to reach certain parts of Chennai, such as Mylapore.
Room facilities There are only a few categories, the most common of which is the Hilton Guest room, which is a good size and has a bathroom with a window through to the bedroom. A key card is needed to access the floors, and it will only work for your own level. All rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and the soundproofing is excellent. Each has a 40-inch LCD TV that you can link your laptop to, wired and wireless internet (Rs 663/£9 for 24 hours), tea and coffee-making facilities (though my kettle fused the lights), a laptop safe and an MP3 player/alarm clock. Bathrooms are spacious with a tub and walk-in rainshower. Executive rooms are the same size as the Guest rooms but have access to the Executive lounge, which offers a breakfast buffet, soft drinks through the day and alcoholic drinks in the evening.
Restaurants and bars Vintage Bank is a Raj-style bar specialising in cheese and wine. It serves all types of drinks and the ceiling is designed like the boughs of a tree. Est, on the ground floor, is a casual café, and Vasco’s on the third floor is an all-day restaurant with live kitchens. Ayla serves Kadaloram (coastal) cuisine, and Q bar is on the rooftop next to the pool.
Business and meeting facilities On the first floor, there is a 440 sqm ballroom that holds 280 people for a banquet and several smaller rooms.
Leisure facilities There is a 25-metre pool on the top floor, along with a decent-sized gym with views across the city.
Verdict The Hilton will be a great success, aided not only by its well thought-out rooms and public areas but also its high level of service and good position close to the IT centre of Chennai.
How many rooms? There are 204, including 126 Hilton Guest rooms, 60 Executive rooms, 16 Junior suites and two Executive suites.
Room highlights While there are few wows, rooms are functional and well designed with good soundproofing.
Price Internet rates for a midweek stay in October started from Rs 7,650 (£104).
Contact Hilton Chennai, 124/1 JN Salai, Ekkaduthangal; tel +91 442 2255 555; hilton.co.uk