6.25 acres, overseeing the Bay of Bengal, the majestic 11 storeyed Leela Palace, Chennai, welcomes one. Free from the hassles of roadside traffic and located in a cozy corner, a tranquil and serene feeling sets in as one enters. The grand architecture is modeled on the traditional Chettinad style.
The Leela Palace history
Captain C P Krishnan Nair, Chairman-Emeritus and Founder-Chairman of Leela Palace Hotels and Resorts, ventured into the hospitality sector in his late sixties. Captain Nair started his career with a textile business and introduced the famous “bleeding Madras” fabric. The traffic that snarled around the Mumbai airport gave the inspiration to Mrs. Leela Nair to build a hotel at the land they owned near the airport and thus Leela Palace Hotel took shape. With nine properties across the country, Leela Palace Hotels enjoy a prime spot in the premier hotels category. The close family involvement is reflected in the warmth that they provide.
Nair had a special affinity for Chennai. During his student days at Madras, he was fond of long strolls in the beach. Perhaps this explains the emergence of the first beach-facing hotel in Chennai. Land was acquired for Rs 700 million from M A M Ramaswamy and the hotel was built at a cost of Rs 8000 million.
326 rooms, 7 dining options…
Pascal Dupuis, the General Manager, recalls vivid memories of being a part of this hotel. “I had seen it right from the brick and mortar stage and the hotel has grown right in front of my eyes,” exclaimed Dupuis. The hotel has built up space of 831,000 sq ft with 326 rooms, 7 dining options and two ballrooms apart from the various in-house facilities.
Usri Sen, Manager-PR & Marketing Communication, attributed the homely feel and exquisite interiors to the Nair family. “The entire family was involved throughout the construction phase. The Nairs pay close attention to the minutest
details. ,” said Sen.
As one toured around the hotel, the tall structures, Tanjore paintings and the bold colours provide a strong south Indian flavor. With sea breeze sweeping our face, along with the view of the huge pond at one end and the beach at the other end, the hotel offers a retreat within the city.
Chennai has seen a spurt in the hotels sector. New star hotels have increased room capacity in quick timeand room rates have fallen. With each hotel having a style of its own, the city is treated to various cultures and cuisines and pushes the rather conservative Chennaite to become more cosmopolitan.