We have used some of the top rated travel specialists all over the world and, without question, Catherine Heald and Remote Lands are at the very top of the list!
Formerly known as Madras, Chennai is one of India's largest cities, home to more than 7 million people. Capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Chennai is a historic and culturally significant place. First established in 1639 as an outpost by the British East India Company, it later grew into a regional administrative center, home to a Royal Navy base and a slew of colonial buildings. Today, Chennai is a thriving city that markedly differs from the rest of India - due both to its Tamil (south Indian) and colonial heritage.
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Our co-founder Jay Tindall is a regular visitor to India, where he loves staying in the palace hotels of Rajasthan. His favourite experience? The amazing Kumbh Mela festival.
Visit Cholamandal Artists' Village, located about 12 miles south of Chennai. The village was set up in the mid-1960s by the principal of the Madras School of Arts and Crafts for artists to pool their talents and resources to learn from and influence each other. The result is this thriving, tranquil respite from the city, where many artists make their home and have their own studios. There are a few galleries that exhibit works for sale; most have reasonable price tags.
Have lunch at Saravana Bhavan, a successful franchise of south Indian vegetarian restaurants that has established outposts as far as New York, London, Singapore and elsewhere. Learn how to eat with your hands as you dig into your thali, which has roughly 14 different cups of curries, raita (yogurt) and other staples of the south Indian diet.
When you are finished, meet with the head chef and walk through the kitchen for a cooking demonstration to see how so many dishes are made for every meal.
Visit the Bronze Gallery in the Government Museum, which houses several personal collections of notable British doctors. The museum itself is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, which blends Rajput, Hindu and high-Victorian styles. On occasion, Remote Lands can arrange for guests to meet with a top curator, who can escort you to store rooms and workshops where pieces are in the process of being restored.
Southern Railway Terminus
Stop by the Southern Railway terminus in town for another example of the beautiful Indo-Saracenic architecture that is distinctive of the area.
Head to sunny South India for 12 days of luxury travel. You’ll explore Mumbai, taking in the dazzling, world-famous Bollywood, then head to the backwaters of Kerala where you’ll step aboard a luxury Kettuvallam. Interact with locals, shop in markets, and view ancient temples while staying in luxurious Taj hotels.
Take in the best of South India’s culture on this 14-day luxury journey from Mumbai to Madurai. You’ll peruse bustling markets, explore UNESCO-listed ancient ruins in Hampi, and enjoy the colonial charms of Pondicherry as you feel like royalty sleeping in some of India’s most luxurious Taj hotels.
Spend nearly an entire month - 26 days - traveling in luxury through India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. You’ll visit religiously-important and UNESCO-listed sites including temples and palaces, watch baby sea turtles hatch in Tangalle, and relax at your luxury beachside resort on the stunning Kaafu Atoll.
Designed by the architects of New York’s George Wong Designs, the Park Hyatt offers its guests a modern, international aesthetic, accented with fine Indian textiles. Built beside the governor’s residence with a pool overlooking the the Guindy National Park, the hotel contains 201 rooms, with 20 suites, across seven floors of the hotel’s 11 stories. For dinner, take a seat at The Flying Elephant. Designed to be an unforgettable dining experience, The Flying Elephant spans 6 interaactive kitchens on 3 themed levels, including a bar, dance floor, and family dining room, each serving a rotating menu of Indian delights as well as international fair. The Park Hyatt Chennai was named “The Best New Hotel of the Year” at the HICSA conference in 2013 and is approximately 20 minutes from the Chennai Airport (MAA) by car.
The Trident Chennai is located ten minutes from Chennai International Airport and conveniently close to the new business districts of Sriperumbudur, Maraimalai Nagar, Guindy and the Chennai Trade Center. Set amongst five acres of lush, tropical gardens, the elegant, low-rise hotel caters to the business community and leisure travellers with 167 rooms and suites that feature climate control, Wi-Fi, LCD TV and DVD players, and access to club rooms that serve free afternoon tea and evening cocktails. Dining options include Samudra Restaurant, which offers fine cuisine from across India, while Cinnamon provides all-day Indian and international dining, as well as a generous breakfast buffet. The Spa at Trident Chennai offers a selection of treatments designed to renew, refresh and replenish the soul. A team of trained therapists offers guests a range of treatments to choose from: traditional Indian Ayurvedic massages, aromatherapy and Western techniques. There is also a well-equipped fitness centre, business facilities, and an outdoor swimming pool.