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Known as the ‘Capital of the South’, Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu. After lagging behind for some years it has finally caught up with its megalopolis rivals and is now something of a cosmopolitan business hub boasting the big name hotels, restaurants and bars that soon follow. Formerly known as Madras, it was once a primary trading post of the East India Trading Company. Today it is an intoxicating blend of chai stalls, bustling traffic with cows meandering alongside, sprawling shopping malls, five star hotels and clubs that are open until the small hours. The Hotel Guru's pick of the best places to stay in Chennai combine the best in modern and traditional.
A walk along the winding streets of George Town is an exciting experience. Built in 1644 and the historic heart of the city, it is home to St. George’s Fort which now houses a museum detailing the city’s turbulent history.
The Kapaleeshwarar Temple, with incredible carved and painted gods, exhibits some impressive craftsmanship and St. Mary’s church some pioneering architecture.
If you prefer something a little more low key, relax with a leisurely stroll along the Marina Beach overlooking the Bay of Bengal.
For the best in South Indian cuisine head to Dakshin. Flute and tabla musicians accompany your food and there is an extensive wine and whisky list. The fish curries are a speciality.
With temperatures in the 30s and upwards almost all year round, the most forgiving months to visit Chennai are between December and February when you may just get away with highs in the late twenties.
What not to miss:
Visit the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, with its incredible carved and painted gods.
Walk along the winding streets of George Town and get a glimpse of city life.
Spend an afternoon at the Theosophical Society Gardens.
Take a heritage walk through Madras High Court.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Chennai all provide five star service at excellent prices.
Best places to stay in Chennai
For a spa break
- Built in 1854 the Taj Connemara oozes historic charm and character but what we love its fabulous spa and yoga classes. Great for a little bit of pampering during your stay.
For modern luxury
- Located within easy reach of Chennai’s sights The Trident boasts stylish interiors and amenities. Not to mention two excellent fusion restaurants. A great, well priced modern hotel.
For a romantic stay
- With several fine dining options, lavish rooms with private balconies and unobstructed views of the Adya River The Leela Palace Chennai is ideal for a romantic getaway.
For an apartment or villa
- If you've decided that a self catering property would be more suitable for your holiday, then we recommend you visit our online booking partner Booking.com where they have a wide selection for all tastes and budgets.
- Fly to Chennai International Airport which is located at a distance of 7 km from the main city.
- By train - Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore are the two main long distance railway stations. There are daily trains from Chennai to Bengaluru, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Cochin, Hyderabad Kolkata as well as most of the big cities of India.
- Best time to visit isNovember - February which constitutes the winter season in Chennai and is considered the best time to visit the city. The temperature during these months hovers between 20 and 25 degrees celsius.
- If you plan to hire a car, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos for the best prices.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Chennai
InterContinental Chennai 106 rooms from $115Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
Chic and contemporary five star luxury. Contrasting palettes of yellow, grey and black give rooms a quirky edge, as do the modern lines and egg shaped baths. There is a huge outdoor pool and a private stretch of beach. Dine on local, Chinese and Western dishes or indulge at the champagne lounge.Families - With babysitting services, kids club, family suites and private beach there is so much to do hereCity Style - A luxurious place to stay whilst in ChennaiGreat walks - Along the hotel's own stretch of private beachSwimming Pool - Outdoor pool
Taj Connemara 150 rooms from $85Chennai
Built in 1854 as the Imperial Hotel, it has been renamed and revamped to welcome guests with modern interiors and facilities.Rooms are luxurious and light, the pool and spa are a welcome oasis from the city and its many historical landmarks.With two restaurants and a nightclub, it really has it all.Great walks - Along the beachfront or around the historical sites, also enquire about a walking day tour.Local markets - Meandre the Chennai back streets to see the local markets and traders.Seaside - 2.4km from the beaches.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Trident Chennai 167 rooms from $104Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
Housed amidst some impressive lawns this hotel provides classic contemporary accommodation. Rooms are decorated with fresh colours, light wood and include all mod cons. Southern Indian dining can be sampled at the Samudra restaurant whilst Cinnamon is multi cuisine. 5* relaxation at your fingertips.Cooking classes - Sameena's school is popular amongst traveller's wanting to pick up the South Indian secrets.Sights nearby - Kapaleeshwarar Temple, one of the largest dedicated to Shiva, is an impressive sight.Great walks - Along Marina and Elliot's Beach - sunset is a particularly popular time.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
The Leela Palace Chennai 326 rooms from $106Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
A palatial hotel from the Leela providing opulence with unobstructed views of the Adyar River. Rooms are divine, feature fine silks, sparkling chandeliers, and are beautifully upholstered. Several fine dining options including an indulgent patisserie. A five star stay.Great walks - Theosophical Society is a car free, pedestrian area of 100 acres home to a church, mosque, Buddhist shrine and temples.Sights nearby - San Thome Temple is certainly worth visiting.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Opulent