Chennai has a large inventory of business-orientated hotels, providing reliable comfort and standardized service; the option that stands head and shoulders above the rest is the lovely Taj Connemara, the only hotel that has an old-world charm along with five-star service and efficiency and offering better value than it's glitzy big brother, Taj Coromandal (though the latter, being the most expensive hotel in town, is good for spotting local celebs). The Courtyard Marriot is also a solid choice, though the lack of pool is a drawback, and Raintree has the edge in terms of atmosphere and eco-credentials. Those on a budget should look no further than Lemon Tree, or Chennai's first B&B, Footprint. If you have no interest in the city and want to immerse yourself directly in a festive vacation atmosphere, you can also head straight down the coast to Fisherman's Cove, one of Tamil Nadu's most charming resorts, located right on the beach, and a mere 50 minutes' drive (28km/17 miles) from Chennai airport (and about 20km/12 miles from Mahabalipurum).
Note that if you're just in transit, a few good hotels are located near the airport, the best of which is the low-rise Trident (tel. 044/2234-4747; www.tridenthotels.com). It's 3 minutes away from the airport (airport transfers are free); the CBD is about 20 minutes away. Staffers have all benefited from the Oberoi school of training, so service levels are among the best in the city, with facilities very much aimed at the business traveler. Mindful of their core market, rooms are also soundproofed, with blackout blinds to further cocoon the potentially jet-lagged traveler. The pool area is great; you'd never know you were in a semi-industrial area (until aircrafts take off, of course). If the rates strike you as steep (from Rs 10,500 double), you should see what neighbor Radisson GRT (www.radisson.com) is offering; at press time it was pretty identical, but rates for both hotels change daily and can be heavily discounted depending on availability; rooms at Radisson have undergone a makeover and are looking more plush (if a little over-furnished) than the Trident, and it has one of Chennai's most celebrated restaurants, but when it comes to service (and pool) the Trident has the edge.
Note: Many of the city's upmarket hotels offer significant discounts on published rates depending on occupancy; so do check online and use the rates below only as guidelines. Note also that there is a luxury tax of 12.5% on all hotel rooms (10.3% on services like Wi-Fi or airport transfers); quoted rates rarely include this.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.