From the first moments of entering the ITC Grand Chola in Chennai, India we knew it was going to be something impressive. It is a veritable palace and not one for lofty royals or a museum, but a place designed to showcase the lofty standards of Indian hospitality.
The hotel is massive and several types of accommodations. Different levels come with different perks, butler service, evening cocktails and for this reason we opted for a package that included some of the extra perks. One of the biggest challenges to running a hotel so big is of course the possibility of it feeling impersonal. A risk in any hotel but especially a palace which took five years and an entire marble quarry in Italy to construct.
Checkin was a hasty and impersonal in our experience, this continued when we figured out that wifi was not included even in the better room rate, we had to track down our butler for a greeting and there was some confusion about what was included in complimentary room service perks. Needless to say it was a bumpy start and some simple appeals to management went nowhere because the hotel has a very hierarchical decision making process.
We reached out to the ITC brand on their social media platform to express our frustration at the difficulty we had getting answers and that’s when everything changed for the better. ITC runs an active social media platform and they immediately sprang into action. We were inundated with calls from management, the butler service, head chefs and hospitality personnel. It was a complete turnaround altogether. The management went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and familiar with the hotel and our benefits. In the end we were not asking for anything major, just confused and lost in a big hotel and the benefits that came with our booking were not readily explained.
The ITC Grand Chola will always stand out in my mind for the amazing comeback it achieved after a less than desirable start. We came with great expectations of the ITC fame for hospitality and in the end we were not disappointed. The rooms are spacious and luxurious. You really feel like you are in a palace with the rich upholstery and the relaxing comforts. The pride of the hotel are its many restaurants which feature some of the city’s top rated venues, Pan Asian and Ottimo were especially excellent.
We can say the gym staff were excellent, well informed trainers who made time to assist with whatever routines we were following. Chefs took time out to address dietary needs and preferences. The spa is a labyrinth of luxury and comfort. All of the hotel’s public spaces are grandiose with ornate stone, artwork, sculpture and chandeliers. Our butler was the most accomplished gentlemen who took it upon himself to see that all our needs were taken care of.
Overall the ITC Grand Chola is itself a work of art, a collection of refined experiences and lavish comforts. The size and population of the hotel might not appeal to all and it may bring some risks of being impersonal, but the hospitality we experienced when we pointed out its deficiency was given abundantly and with particular Indian fervor.