When the historic floods struck Chennai on 2 nd December 2015, the Grand Chennai by GRT Hotels was inundated. The disaster caused damage to the basement, plant and machinery and other parts of the hotel. However, in the days of grief and intense property loss, the primary focus of the group remained safety. Safety of its people, safety of its guests, and safety of the citizens of Chennai.
So while the hotel had to close its doors to manage the damage, it kept its next door Convention Centre running to cook tens of thousands of meals for four days, for people who didn’t have access to food and water.
It was a time of many emotions, but it was also the time when kindness, team spirit, and a willingness to survive shone through at its brightest.
It was against this background that the management made the decision to transform the hotel and renovate it completely. The teams at Grand Chennai went into overdrive. We were going to stay strong, committed, and reopen in a couple of months.
Architects, design consultants, branding teams and engineers worked day and night to restructure, reorganise, refurbish and make a truly ‘Grand’ comeback.
The GRT Group of Hotels and Resorts has always made an endeavour to stay with the times – whether it’s the newest cooking techniques, or the latest fitness trend. So we transformed the look and feel of the property and made it contemporary, quirky, edgy. How does one do that, exactly?/p>
Think colour palettes, chandeliers, open spaces, beautiful floors, unique eclectic art, and modern furniture design. The restaurants underwent changes too. High Time became Steam & Whistles, Copper Point became J. Hind, and Anytime became Bazaar. The rooms turned modern, themed and spacious. Every floor got its own Tamil Nadu themed installation and art. New service policies were introduced, along with more garden space and greenery.
In the spirit of new beginnings, we also introduced a brand new logo. We think it’s very cool!
So what was it like watching the entire hotel come apart? Shabin Sarvotham, Sr. General Manager says it wasn’t easy. It was like watching your home being torn down. But the team stuck together and getting to see the hotel transform into something so alluring was an experience they will never forget.
Keeping Wastage Down
In the entire process, the team worked with the intension of reusing any materials they could, with an aim to reduce waste. 60% of the furniture was reconditioned for a whole new chic look and recyclers were involved for other building materials.
The property has added additional pump sets and sluice gates, drip irrigation for the gardens, and enhanced its composting efforts for all organic kitchen waste.
Reactions and Recognitions
How have guests reacted to the all-new look? They are awe-struck, the General Manager elaborates. In just a few months, the hotel has already won awards and been recognised by IATA (International Air Transport Association) and the TNPCB (Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board).
Awards include ‘Best Boutique Hotel’ by the Times Group, ‘Hotel With A Heart’ from Ritz Magazine, and a nomination for the coveted Outlook Traveller Award.
The Grand Chennai by GRT Hotels reopened in March 2016. Reservations can be made on 044 – 2815 0500.