Chennai, one of the most prominent cities in south India, is witnessing more luxurious times now. The recently launched The Westin Chennai Velachery raises the bar quite well!
By: Soumya Jain
Posted on: May 3, 2013
Everyone knew there is money in Chennai. But luxury? That is growing surprisingly very fast in the region. Like their counterparts in the north, Chennai knows the finer nuances of luxury, probably better.
After Mumbai, Chanel has opened its second beauty store in Chennai, even before New Delhi. Most of the make-up brands have a presence there. Luxury car manufacturers already have an extensive growth plan in the city. Fashion brands like Canali, Bottega Veneta and more are opening stores everyday. As Chennai expands its borders, new spacious malls come up which promise to present all indulgences a man can afford.
Amongst all this excitement opened The Westin Chennai Velachery. Located only about nine kilometers from the airport, it is quite a short drive away, if the traffic doesn’t play spoil sport. Flaunting a stunning façade, the hotel has global elements which the brand advocates in all its locations. However, artworks created by local craftsmen lend that authentic feel to the property as well. The expansive lobby and reception area, like all Westins, has a sleek design, created to instantly calm the guests (which is quite essential since Chennai is a sweltering destination) and enable easy movement. The most beautiful part, which I personally loved, was the petite water and green area which the reception overlooked. Sitting in the lobby, next to that verdant area, with a coffee and a book is a peaceful experience in itself.
Moving on to our rooms, its spaciousness and utmost attention to detail delighted the luxury hunter in me. The much acclaimed Heavenly Bed of Westin was certainly true to its fame. Usually, sleeping becomes a problem when you are away from home, but at The Westin Chennai Velachery, you can sleep well without missing the comfort of home!
The white tea aloe bath amenities were placed in an intelligently designed washroom. The most delightful part was that the bathtub was placed in such a way, that you can open the glass wall separating the washroom from the main room, soak in and relax as you get the perfect view of the LCD. If you are visiting the city for business, then The Westin Chennai Velachery has all the equipment placed within a hand’s reach - phone, internet, stationary, et al. With in room dining available 24 hours a day, the room itself is a destination…
Listen to your appetite
Food and beverage has always been a strong selling point at Westin. Be assured that whichever Westin you may be at, their recipes and food are going to be incredible. Believing on the theme of ‘super foods’, healthy eating rules at The Westin Chennai Velachery too! Seasonal Tastes, their multi-cuisine, all-day restaurant, pleases with a varied menu at different times of the day. The breakfast buffet, especially, was large with quite a variety of choice. The highlight is, of course, authentic dishes from south India. The healthy, well-made idli, vada and sambar shared space with Pongal, a traditional light south Indian rice dish, which won all our hearts!
The Westin Chennai Velachery has thoroughly researched the south Indian cuisine. A special lunch turned out to be a hedonistic culinary journey with lesser known south Indian recipes coming to the fore! Starting with the very refreshing Neer Moru (tempered buttermilk with ginger and curry leaf), our banana leaf plate was furnished with starters like Carrot Kosemalli (shredded carrot and lentil salad with coconut), Kaikari Kosambari (mixed vegetable salad tempered with mustard seeds and finished with lemon) and Kondakadalai Sundal (steamed Bengal gram salad with coconut and curry leaf), among other things. The Carrot Kosemalli especially proved to be divine for me.
We paired fluffy appams and steamed rice with Kaikari Kuruma (mixed vegetables stewed with coconut, spices and poppy seeds – absolutely delicious), Arachchuvitta Murungaikaai Sambhar (drumsticks stewed in coconut and gravy thickened with lentils), and an especially well-made and comforting Thakkali Rasam (essence of tomato, coriander and black pepper). The Paalkatti Milagu Podimaas (crumbled cottage cheese and pepper sauté), seeming more north Indian, instantly suited my taste palate, as I finished it till the last bit. Non-vegetarians appreciated the Mutton Masala (braised lamb sautéed with onion, garlic and tomato) and Yera Varuval (crisp fried spicy prawns marinated with south Indian spices) quite highly! Finishing it with Elaneer Payasam (a sweetened drink of milk and tender coconut), the lunch was quite a gourmet meal we hadn’t expected!
The Willows Cricket Bar & Lounge provided the unique touch to this property which no other Westin property has. Opening the door, which has cricket bats as handles, the left wall at the entrance was adorned with colourful caps which actually gave quite an artistic touch. Even more delightful were the movable cricket balls which made the front of the bar counter. With most of the good brands and cocktail recipes available at Willows, we recommend trying your taste buds on their signature creation, Vela Sherry, a vodka based cocktail made with watermelon, strawberries and honey among other ingredients. Women, I am sure, will appreciate it! Willows serves agreeably presented finger food, quite literally. So dig into mini bowls of well-cooked biryani or noodles. Pick up mouth-watering mini-idlis or scoop up a mini-helping of Waldorf salad! Each helping was delicious and proof of Westin Chennai’s culinary expertise.
The hotel also features their signature Pan-Asian restaurant Eest. On being asked why their fun Italian concept Prego doesn’t feature here, Mr Shrikant Wakharkar, the courteous General Manager of The Westin Chennai Velachery said that locals have specific tastes here. And as per their research, Pan-Asian is more in demand in Chennai as compared to Italian. The Westin Chennai Velachery is also in the process of opening an open-air grills restaurant which will be open for dinner only.
On the go
Heavenly Spa at The Westin Chennai Velachery doesn’t disappoint either! Adjoining the pool and the gym, the spa has their signature therapies ready to help patrons unwind after a hectic work time or stressed vacation feet! If you don’t have your workout gear for the gym, Westin will swiftly pull it out for your convenience. No need to carry that extra baggage anymore! And incorporating nature more in its system, The Westin Chennai Velachery, like it siblings, ensures that the environment is taken care of as well. Little gestures, like intimating that bed linen won’t be changed unless specified, or only towels dropped on the floor will be replaced, makes you a participant in preserving the Earth. Westin, in fact, promises that in the coming decade, the hotel will achieve 30 per cent reduction in energy waste and 20 per cent in water waste.
The staff, also, ensured the ultimate in comfort, in conjunction with the materialistic benefits that the hotel any way provides. Always on their feet, they discern what you want before you ask them! The Westin hotel was on almost full capacity due to its launch event. But still the staff was ever-smiling, never tensed, and always nimble with their hands and toes, assuring the quickest and perfect service!
The Westin works on six pillars of well-being – Sleep Well; Eat Well; Work Well; Play Well; Move Well; and Feel Well. The Westin Chennai Velachery completely conforms and implements this strategy to ensure the best for guests! Chennai gets its dose of complete wellness…
Coordinates: 154, Velachery Main Road, Velachery, Chennai 600042, Tamil Nadu, India