CHENNAI: White sandy beaches, mist-filled mountains, tropical seas, rustic woods... travel dreams seem improbable in 2020. But as the hospitality industry revives itself, Vaishali Vijaykumar brings us hope and happiness in this list of hotels and resorts that promise us a rejuvenating break within city limits, because staycations are the new vacations.
The Westin Chennai Velachery
As the lockdown rules loosened, this ten-storey, fivestar hotel, located on Velachery Main Road reopened on August 1. A month after feeling the pulse of the city, they launched their staycation package on September 1 for the outdoors-deprived souls. What sets this property apart from others? Their halo campaign Staycay with Marriott, and the Honeymoon Escape, which caters to all the newly-weds. Fret not, trom QR code-enabled menus in the restaurants to the in-room dining menu, safety tops their list. “The most commonly asked question is about the safety and hygiene protocols undertaken by us. There is a lot of scope for staycations, for the next few months,” says Lakshmanan Ramanathan, manager. If you are a newly-wed planning for this getaway, note that their Honeymoon Escape package offers two-way transfers, in-room express check-in, inroom flower amenities, chocolate cake or fruit basket, upgrade to the club room with access to executive lounge, specially curated set-menu dinner, a sumptuous breakfast, and offers on spa services.
Price starts from Rs 9,999+taxes per night
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park
In view of the travel restrictions in the current crisis, the hotel introduced its staycation offer on September 1 for patrons to pamper themselves for a day or two, or three. Besides assuring a comfortable stay, the package includes three meals included for up to two people and a complimentary early check-in and late check-out option. From contactless check-in and check-out services to clutter-free rooms with minimal contact services, the hotel staff promises a safe stay. “Our guests have been primarily keen in getting to know our cleanliness protocols. We’ve also received a considerable number of queries about our F&B offerings such as the IPL promotions at The Westminster and our On The Rocks Retro Brunch. I believe that staycation offers are going to be the way forward at least for the next few months as guests seem to want an all-encompassing offer at a considerable price point,” shares Anand Nair, general manager. For details, call: 24994101
Price starts from Rs 5,800 plus taxes per night.
Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort and Spa
Spread across 10 acres, the sprawling Sheraton Grand Chennai Resorts and Spa is cosily nestled between the Covelong Surfing Beach and Madras Crocodile Bank Trust. About an hour’s drive from the city, and barely 13 minutes away from Mahabalipuram, the resort has earned a favourite spot in the heart of its patrons for its multi-cuisine restaurants, exquisite interior decor and a scenic beach view. To up the game during the pandemic, the resort has been offering various getaway packages for families, romantic holidays for couples, day outings and other celebrations. Early check-in and checkout, complimentary dinners at restaurants, outdoor activities, walk by the beach, high-tea by the bay are a few appealing options the itinerary promises. “Our staycation offers are very lucrative. We hope to keep them experiential and we have designed activities/ unique experiences catering to different clientele. Most importantly, safety protocols as per Marriott International is followed to ensure appropriate hygiene measures,” says Devika James, director of sales.
Price starts at Rs 10,080 plus taxes per night.
The Royal Palms
Located on the East Coast Road, The Royal Palm resort is tucked away by the beachside in a serene setting. And on their well-manicured and landscaped garden resides a 9,000 sq ft villa equipped with four bedrooms with attached bathrooms and balcony, living room, dining room, kitchen, and a swimming pool for kids and adults. It was in August when the lockdown fatigue had families enquiring at the resort about staycation packages that the resort restarted their promotions. With safety protocols in place and their kitchens open for guests to cook using their own ingredients, the property is now open for some rest and rewind. “We have had people who have hired professionals to come and sanitise our property just before they arrive. Their enquiries usually are about how many people can be accommodated, extra beds, extra hours, if the pool is safe for use, can we provide them with a cook, or if they can bring their own cook. Clients are also keen to know if the beach is accessible and open to use,” shares Khushbu Sanghi, the owner. Being a private property, the entire beach house is available on rent for a group of friends and family of up to 20 people. No other guests will be allowed on the day of bookings.
Bulk booking: Rs 30,000 plus taxes on weekdays and Rs 35,000 plus taxes on weekends for a night
InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort
What’s more refreshing in these trying times than endless views of the pristine coastline of Mahabalipuram? A resort that in addition to all this offers the idyll for lockdown-weary souls. Reopening their doors on September 1, with can’t-say-no-tothese- staycation packages, this resort has something for every kind of staycationer. “The staycation packages cater to three sets of guests — families, weekday retreat seekers or special celebrations and day-cation vacationers. The packages curated for each has a unique inclusion and itinerary designed keeping in mind the government guidelines and protocols,” assures Anand Nair, general manager. The Family Date @ InterContinental offers a suite of activities like Baker’s Den, shell garland-making, open-air private movie screening, sand art and origami art private session with their kids’ concierge. Sealounging @ InterContinental is a weekday retreat for friends and couples. The itinerary includes breakfast in the room, immuno- booster mono-portioned lunch and dinner at the newly introduced Sandpit Hideout at KoKoMMo. Day-Cation @ Inter- Continental has an itinerary curated for guests who like to spend a day by the beach. The offerings include a day package with a room from 11 am to 6 pm, tailor-made set lunch for two, one-time use of a private nonalcoholic bar and one round of evening refreshments at KoKoMMo.
Family Date package is priced at Rs 7,800 (all-inclusive). Sealounging package is priced at Rs 11,999 (all-inclusive) Day-cation package starts at Rs 5,000 (all-inclusive, Monday – Friday)
www. intercontinental. com
The Blue House
Catamaran rides, home-cooked meals with fresh produce, campfire, barbeque by the beach...name it and you’ll have all that’s required for a mini-vacation at The Blue House resorts on the East Coast Road. The property promises a nirvana break at its one and a half acre property that houses two large cottages — with seven bedrooms to accommodate 20 guests — and a private beach for families. “Everybody’s concern is cleanliness. We’ve increased our staff count from four to eight, expenses have doubled up, and we also send videos of the sanitsation process to potential clients so they are convinced,” asserts, Rafica Nishtar, owner of the resort. If you need to stay connected to your office emails, the resort has a work area with unlimited WiFi access. The resort is also open to hosting small functions with limited guests and food.
Price for family cottages (adult:11 and children:4) starts from Rs 29,500 on weekdays and Rs 32,500 plus taxes on weekends
A 15-minute drive from the airport, the property is located in Guindy, central to all major locations in the city. Soon after the lockdown relaxations were announced, Hilton Chennai reworked its parameters that are more likely to influence the decision-making process of travellers. Keeping in mind the need for a break from pandemic-induced weariness, they brought in their Dream Away offer in July, and the Great Small Breaks staycation more recently. The latter offers guests Hilton’s signature services along with other perks ranging from culinary, wellness and destination experiences to Food and Beverage credits, room upgrades and free cancellation till 24 hours prior to arrival. From AI-enabled temperature scanning to guest-accessible disinfectant dispensers, the hotel has implemented detailed and elevated hygiene practices. “With Hilton Cleanstay, our guests can check for short breaks and enjoy warm genuine hospitality in a luxurious, clean setting, with round-the-clock services such as in-room dining, personalised free-style fitness classes, rooftop candle-lit dinners, premium WiFi, and more,” notes Ruban Das, general manager
Price starts from Rs 4,550+taxes per night
Dream, drive, discover, delight — the Taj group’s Urban Getaways encourages families to unwind and stay connected with nature by offering engaging packages in all its properties. Their Bizcation package allows guests to discover the best of both worlds, while they work in a serene and luxurious setting accompanied with unparalleled service. Precautionary measures and stringent protocols are followed. “With people still being wary of shared spaces and unwilling to travel long distance for holidays, staycationing will be the preferred way to take a break. The response has been overwhelming as people are looking to get away from their homes to overcome the lockdown fatigue. Our patrons have greatly appreciated the revamped and heightened safety protocols and the multiple staycation offers. Apart from this, we have also received an encouraging response for our food delivery services with Qmin,” shares Saleem Yousuff, senior vice president — operations, South, IHCL.
Price from Rs 5,500 + taxes
Unlimited WiFi, outdoor activities, scrumptious complimentary meals, spa services, sea view rooms... sounds too good to be true? Well, delivering this staycation goodness is Fabulous Staycations by GRT Hotels at their properties — Grand Chennai by GRT Hotel, Radisson Blu - Chennai International Airport and Radisson Resort Temple Bay in Mamallapuram. “We have activated staycation, daycation, workation (work from hotel) packages for all hotels after the lockdown rules were relaxed. Packages are rich with value add-ons like free meals, free upgrades, free stay for kids, free sightseeing and more in an all-inclusive attractive pricing. Each package differs a little on what the hotel has to offer,” explains Pooja, head of marketing for GRT Hotels and Resorts. Keeping the safety norms in mind, guests can request for contactless room check-in along with the convenience of digital payment. The package varies for each hotel under the group.
Price from Rs 5,750 +taxes per night
The Leela Palace
On September 10, the hotel introduced staycation offers that you can’t refuse. Think upgraded deluxe sea view rooms, deluxe city view rooms, complimentary meals, relaxing spa... All of this comes with Suraksha — their comprehensive programme designed in coherence with Bureau Veritas India to ensure a holistic approach to elevate health, safety and hygiene protocol s wi th s tringent measures. The process entails the use of electrostatic sprayers, a hospital-grade disinfectant for sanitising all rooms and areas of the hotel, sanitisation of guest cars and luggage, thermal screening of all guests, contactless check-in and check-out via QR Codes and touch-less menus. “Some of the commonly asked questions are facilities for kids and teens, extended time for restaurants and late check-out options,” asserts Ranjith Reddy, director of sales and marketing. For details, call: 044-33661234
Price starts at Rs 7,999 + taxes per night