With the rain drumming a mellow trill, and the Winchester skies serenading the darkening expanse of the Bay of Bengal in a hue grant that stretches from indigo to slate, I am not entirely sure whether I should colour the moodiness on canvas, compose a sonnet or break into song. I decide to play millennial instead and feverishly populate my Instagram page with camera phone madness.
Such is the spectacle of the Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort & Spa, especially at first blush, and inevitably, on a day when the rain gods are cavorting endlessly in a wet dream sequence. The East Coast road as most Chennai regulars will endorse is a picturesque expanse so, as far as location goes, the Sheraton Grand has already won its first epaulette.
With the Bay as its backyard, from the minute you enter the lobby, you have unhindered visual access to water views that stretch beyond the water pools in the lobby all way to the endless seascape. The design narrative is minimalist to dramatise nature’s palette to its fullest advantage with eccru tinted with rich wood accents that champion local motifs and crafts. Sheraton’s first resort property in India has put its 10 languorous acres to good use with 125 spacious and comfortable rooms and suites, landscaped gardens that literally sit on miles of dark beach sands.
Hearth to heart
Food is the unabashed guilty pleasure that wins hearts and loses wasitlines in one fell swoop, especially the a la carte offerings that really sing on the palate. Sample the delicately spiced Kanava kal varval or squid marinated just so with south Indian spices or the delectable Vaval meen melagu varval or deep fried pomfret with black pepper or, the sweetest crabs cooked with onions and peppers, pickled prawns and meaty rava fried mackerel are just some of the simple pleasures.
Fresh catch, easily available, captures the briny roe of the sea with subtle nuances of spices cooked to stunning perfection with popular but lost recipes from Thanjavur and Coimbatore. According to executive chef Mukesh Sharma: The idea is to surprise and delight with tastes that offer the comfort of familiarity but are far from predictable. A sneaky chettinad chicken pizza for those who like to take risks or quinoa dosas for the wellness geek, the choices are lip-smacking good like the invincible Narthangai elai adaia dosa made with green moong dal and kaffir lime.
Food is an abiding obsession and served with the right balance of Mariott-trained efficiency and Southern hospitality, whether at Reef, the all-day dining restaurant or Pelican Deck a flamboyant al fresco open-air grill. Pintail Lounge is the in-house lounge bar, that is cosy and rustic but rustles up made-to weather cocktails and comforting small bites.