The Lemon Tree Hotel Company (LTH) was founded in September 2002, and operates 27 hotels in 16 Indian cities. By 2017-18, the company aims to have 60 functional properties across 30 Indian cities. As of today, they are third in rank for the fastest growing hotel chain in India, by owned rooms. The segments they cater to are upscale — Lemon Tree Premier, midscale — Lemon Tree Hotels, and economy segment — Red Fox Hotels.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The only element that gives away its category as a midscale business hotel is the cosy sized reception area, and the horizontally short reception desk for two. Other than that, everything about the property’s decor, in tastefully picked shades of pastel yellow, blue and pearl, sets the impression of it being a luxury hotel. A lingering citric scent leaves you with a sense of freshness. As you enter the sliding doors of the lobby, pretty flower arrangements in beautiful vases greet you. Painted ceiling edges may slightly crowd the already small area, but otherwise the property has done a good job of spreading out its common spaces proportionately.
WHERE IS IT
On Mount Poonamalle High Road, and within proximity to the Chennai Trade Centre, DLF IT Park, and India’s largest orthopaedic hospital, MIOT Hospital.
The 54 rooms are broken into 12 Superior Queen rooms, 12 Superior Twin rooms, 27 Deluxe King rooms, and three Executive suites. The contemporary straight line design and colour palette of pastel yellow and pearl, broken with light coloured wooden and steel highlights, give even their smallest room of 22 sqm a capacious appearance. All rooms offer a full-sized working desk with an executive chair, bottled drinking water, a tea/coffee maker, an electronic safe, a telephone with global direct dialling and voicemail, 40-inch Sony LED TV and DVD player, minibar, orthopaedic mattress, and walk-in shower. Bathtubs are available in the suites and nine of 27 Deluxe King rooms. All bath and beauty amenities are lemon scented. The beds are cosy with crispy white bed sheets, and spring mattresses. DVDs can be borrowed from their in-house movie library. Wifi is free up to one hour daily, but if you book a room through lemontreehotels.com, the wifi rates are waived off altogether.
Lemon Tree Hotel Shimona has a dedicated floor for solo women travellers that is serviced by female staff, and a lady guard. My room on the said floor was better stocked than the others. It had an iron and ironing board, a jewellery box, a weighing scale, a yoga mat, a Japanese styled robe, a potpourri jar, body butter, and even lip balm to name a few. On request, a hair straightener, hair curler, face steamer, foot massager, nail polish remover, wet tissue, and eye mask can be borrowed.
All guests have free access to the hotel’s 24-hour fitness centre, as well as the 24-hour business centre with free high-speed internet.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
A buffet breakfast and dinner is served at their multi-cuisine Citrus Café, which is a 24/7 coffee shop, and the only restaurant on the property. They also have a dimly lit sports bar named Slounge that has a pool table, a chest board, and a PlayStation. Since Chennai is a culturally conservative city, it isn’t common to see women in watering holes. This explained why I saw only groups of men at Slounge.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
The business centre has two terminals, a printer, and free internet access. The boardroom can seat 12 people. A 250 sqm banquet hall with a capacity for 200 people, is equipped with wifi, an LCD projector and screen, TV and DVD player (on request), and a white board.
The 24-hour gym is equipped with the basic cardio and weights machine, and their Fresco spa is good for a quick massage. The property lacks a pool, but guests can use the one at the second Lemon Tree Hotel in Chennai, which is on Guindy Road.
As a business hotel, the lower level staff (chauffeurs, housekeeping, etc) could be trained in the basics of English for easy communication with guests. Apart from that, it is an excellent mid-range hotel that maintains high standards of comfort and service. The location is an added advantage for business travellers who aren’t fussy about the brand of their accommodation.
PRICE: Internet rates for a midweek stay in October started from ₹5,149 per night for a standard room.
CONTACT: Lemon Traa Hotel Shimona, Mount Poonamalle High Road, Manapakkam; tel: +91 (044) 4040 7777; lemontreehotels.com
Neha Gupta Kapoor