Commanding breathtaking views across the Bay of Bengal, The Leela Palace Chennai boasts a prime waterfront location and is the city’s only modern-day palace to face the sea. A wonderful place to watch the sun rise, the beach is a natural extension of the riverbank, the point at which the River Adyar estuary flows into the sea. Ten minutes away is Marina Beach, India’s longest urban strand of golden-sugar sands. The beach is famous for local crowds, festivals and cultural events, food stalls, souvenir shopping, historical attractions, beach cricket, kite-surfing, giant chess and horse-riding – the latter being the best way to experience this legendary 13-kilometre-long beach (swimming prohibited due to strong undercurrents).
Culture & History
Beyond the hotel, there's a wealth of culture to explore, including historic cities, temples and a basilica reputedly built over the tomb of Thomas (Doubting Thomas), one of Christ's twelve disciples. Chennai's recorded history began in Colonial times, with the British East India Company arriving in the 17th century. It established Fort St George in 1644, which subsequently defended the burgeoning surrounding city from French attack, enabling Chennai to become a major naval port by the 18th century. Do visit the ramparts of this fascinating monument, which includes a museum showcasing relics from the city's Colonial past and St Mary's Church, considered the oldest Anglican Church in all of Asia, housing the oldest British tombstones in India in its courtyard. Renowned as being the birthplace of the modern Indian army, the fort is a must-visit for lovers of Colonial British and military history.
The brand-new 1,300m2 ESPA Spa (opening soon) is a luxurious two-storey concoction of traditional heritage elegance and modern design, with décor featuring natural wood, hand-carved stone and sumptuous soft furnishings. The luxurious, calming space comprises nine treatment rooms and a couple’s spa suite, along with relaxation rooms, saunas and steam rooms for men and women. Signature treatments perfectly meld scientifically researched European wellness techniques with Ayurvedic therapies designed to harmonise mind, body and spirit. Who could resist the ninety-minute Stress Buster Treatment, combining skin brushing, exfoliation and a hot stone massage, followed by a head massage and gently stretching? Total bliss. Additionally, you’ll find a state-of-the-art fitness studio and gym, along with a large outdoor swimming pool.