CHENNAI: You know there’s a celebration happening when the culinary team at a five-star hotel preps 101 desserts for the evening. And this was, all but the icing on a very elaborate cake (metaphorically speaking) if you were one of the guests at the Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park’s launch party on Friday evening.
And while the name may sound unfamiliar, the hotel establishment that has been around since the early 80s, is no stranger to Chennai. After 30 years, the ITC Sheraton Park & Towers can be spotted at the same address by the signal on TTK Road, except that it now it boasts a new name, courtesy its collaboration with the IHG group, and with it a fresh vision.
The owner of the hotel Bharat Goyal surprises us when he says, “When my father and I bought this hotel in 1985, it was actually owned by the same group we are collaborating with now.” He adds with a smile, “So we’ve in fact come a full circle.”
As a sand artist takes us through the various restaurants within the hotel, drawing a traditional desi girl for Dakshin, which is today a landmark for its South Indian cuisine and a shiny disco ball for Dublin — we can’t but feel a wave of nostalgia in the room.
So we request Mr Goyal to rewind the sands of time for a moment, which he does more than willingly. “My earliest memory of the hotel was actually when we opened The Gatsby, the city’s first discotheque at the time,” he shares with a laugh. As for the old name, ‘Adyar Gate hotel’ which auto drivers continue to associate with the hotel till this day, he tells us with a smile, “That was in the name a very, very long time ago, and I suppose it just stuck!”
Three decades later, Goyal still makes it a point to head over to the hotel every morning and walks its corridors just like he would when he was a newbie hotelier who made a shift from the garment business! “I just want to get this place back to its glory days,” he says fondly, when we ask him what he looks forward to with the new management.
And with everything from a new high tea lounge opened to an 8,500 sq foot spa soon to be ready, it looks like there’s plenty of ‘new’ in store as the hotel begins a new era. The highlight among these included a slideshow of the Intercontinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort that will be unveiled in a few weeks.
One of the highlights of the evening that drew several happy tasters was a table slathered in white chocolate cement. On top of this, the chefs showcased a rainbow of textured chocolate variants, ranging from green rocks to white sand and the occasional drizzle of red liquid chocolate. The centrepiece was a scoop of ice cream dipped in liquid nitrogen, and promptly named a protozoa for it’s now lack of shape! And this reporter was lucky enough to have the first crack at it.