Taj Connemara

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Vivanta by Taj—Connemara
Hotel chain Taj Hotels
General information
Location Chennai, India
Address 2, Binny Road, off Anna Salai
Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600 002
Coordinates 13°03′46″N 80°15′41″E / 13.062809°N 80.261508°E / 13.062809; 80.261508Coordinates: 13°03′46″N 80°15′41″E / 13.062809°N 80.261508°E / 13.062809; 80.261508
Opening 1854 (as the Imperial Hotel)
Management Taj Hotels
Other information
Number of rooms 150
Number of suites 5

Vivanta by Taj—Connemara, Chennai is a five-star hotel in Chennai, India. It is a heritage hotel in Chennai.[1] Classified under the Taj Group's business hotels section, the hotel is considered the oldest hotel in the city.[2]


Taj Connemara was originally built as the Imperial Hotel in 1854 under the proprietorship of Triplicane Rathinavelu Mudaliar, renamed Albany in 1886 when it was leased to two other Mudaliar brothers, and re-established as The Connemara in 1890,[3] named after the then Madras Governor during 1881-1886, Robert Bourke, baron of Connemara, a county in Ireland,[4] later becoming a Spencer's hotel. In 1891, Eugene Oakshott, owner of Spencer's, then a little shop near Anna Circle, bought the hotel and its nine acres to build a showroom. Oakshott wanted to give Spencer's a facelift, so he decided to build one of Asia's biggest departmental store. In the 1930s, James Stiven, director of Spencer's, modernised the hotel starting in 1934, and the modernisation was completed in 1937.[5] It sported an art deco look when it was reopened in 1937.[6][7] The tower block and linking pool was designed by architect Geoffrey Bawa in 1974. In 1984, the Taj Group of Hotels acquired the hotel.[8]

In 2008, historian S. Muthiah wrote a book on the heritage of the hotel, A Tradition of Madras that is Chennai—The Taj Connemara,[2] which reproduces an advertisement from 1880 that states the hotel, called The Imperial Hotel then, promises "extensive premises… cool and fitted with every convenience" and wines from the "celebrated house of Messrs. McDowell & Co."[8] The book gives a rare collection of photographs of old Madras roads, buildings, interiors of the hotels and the hotel's tariff since 1939.[5] According to Muthiah, the British rated Connemara as one of the best hotels in the world.[9]

In September 2010, the hotel was rebranded and renamed as Vivanta by Taj—Connemara, Chennai.[10]


Taj Connemara is located on the eastern banks of River Cooum on Binny Road, off Anna Salai, abutting the Spencer Plaza, one of the most prominent landmarks of Chennai.


Taj Connemara has a total of 150 rooms, which include 141 double rooms and 9 suites. The hotel has 5 meeting rooms which include a ball room that can accommodate up to 400 people in a theatre style and up to 600 people for cocktails. The conference room of the hotel can accommodate up to 30 people in a theatre style. The restaurants in the hotel include The Verandah—a 24-hour coffee shop serving Indian, Continental, Chinese and Thai food, Distil—serving exotic cocktails, spirits, wines, beer and light snacks in a colonial ambiance, Raintree—an ethnic, open-air restaurant serving Chettinad cuisine from Tamil Nadu with South Indian cultural performances every night, and Grill at the Lounge—serving Continental lunches and dinner, including a special executive lunch.[11]


In 2004, the Taj Group renovated a total of 65 rooms in the hotel.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Deluxe - India Hotels" (PDF). Worldwide Tours. Retrieved 6 Oct 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Taj Connemara proud symbol of our tradition". The Hindu (Chennai: The Hindu). 26 August 2008. Retrieved 3 Dec 2011. 
  3. ^ Kataria, Dayanad. "Inaugural Session" (PDF). Seminar on Conservation of Heritage Buildings/Precincts in Chennai Metropolitan Area. Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority. Retrieved 6 Oct 2012. 
  4. ^ Chacko, Philip (January 2011). "Jewel in the Chennai crown". Tata. Retrieved 6 Oct 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Haripriya, V. (25 August 2008). "Tracing its roots". Ergo 360°. Retrieved 3 Dec 2011. 
  6. ^ Sitalakshmi, K. R. (5 August 2006). "Art Deco buildings in Chennai". The Hindu (Chennai: The Hindu). Retrieved 6 Oct 2012. 
  7. ^ "Do Chennai's art deco buildings have a future?". Madras Musings XIX (6). 1–15 July 2009. Retrieved 23 Sep 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Ramanathan, Malathi (5 September 2008). "Not just smiles and style". Business Line (Chennai: The Hindu). Retrieved 3 Dec 2011. 
  9. ^ "Chidambaram’s bid to save Chennai's heritage". NDTV Travels Beta (Indo-Asian News Service). 25 August 2008. Retrieved 3 Dec 2011. 
  10. ^ "19 Taj Hotels migrate to a new brand" (PDF). Introducing a brand new signature in hospitality: Vivanta Hotels & Resorts by Taj. Taj Hotels. Retrieved 6 Oct 2012. 
  11. ^ "Taj Connemara". The Finest Hotels of the World. Retrieved 12 Nov 2011. 
  12. ^ "Taj gives a facelift to Connemara". The Times of India (Chennai: The Times Group). 9 February 2004. Retrieved 3 Dec 2011. 

External links[edit]