Our Hotels Chennai Unique Experiences in Chennai | Vivanta Hotels

Experiences in Chennai

Chennai Afternoon Tea
If you’re fans of a proper British high tea, you’ll be surprised and delighted with the earthy and vibrant Chennai version. Our Chennai Afternoon Tea experience is inspired by the quaint tea kadai (teashops) lining the city’s famous Marina beach. Every afternoon, locals and visitors stroll along the promenade, indulging in horse rides and beach skating. But the real attractions are the addictive ‘tiffin snacks’ or finger foods, from a packet of sundal – cooked chickpeas tempered with mustard seeds, chillies, curry leaves and grated coconut – tossed up by a street vendor, crispy bajjis (chickpea batter fritters), vadai (lentil fritters) and char-grilled, buttered corn on the cob to fresh-off-the-boat, marinated and deep-fried prawns and lamb samosas. Bring along business associates, family and friends to revel in this local tradition in a refined environment. Talk shop and share city secrets, as our chefs whip up irresistible platters of the city’s favourite finger foods, all washed down by cardamom-flavoured frothy milky tea. Your afternoons will never be the same again.
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Pick a Pattu, Bite on a Murukku
Shopping for authentic Chennai souvenirs is always exciting. The city’s centuries-old emphasis on patronage of arts and crafts ensures that you have plenty to choose from. On top of the essential Chennai shopping list is a handwoven pattu (mulberry silk) Kanjeevaram sari, a textile of great beauty and skill, highly valued by connoisseurs and treasured as a heirloom in a South Indian bridal trousseau. If you aren’t up for the hour-long drive to the temple of Kanchipuram – where the art of weaving the saris originated 400 years ago – the Nalli Chinnasami Chetty showroom in Thiyagaraja Nagar is where ladies-in-the-know get their Kanjeevaram fix. Bibliophiles can expect to be thrilled at the discovery of 150-year old Higginbothams on Mount Road, the country’s oldest book shop. It may almost be illegal to leave the city without a couple of packets of kai murukku (crispy local pretzels) and crunchy mullu thenguzhal (rice-flour spirals).
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The Great Madras Tour
Our Concierge service crafts an itinerary that lets you explore the best of Chennai, formerly known as Madras. Must-see destinations include the understated Government Museum for a wonderful collection of 7th Century South Indian bronze artworks, the neo-Gothic style San Thome Cathedral (believed to mark the final resting place of St Thomas the Apostle, credited with bringing Christianity to India), and the Shiva Kapleeshwarar Temple which showcases the typical Dravidian style of architecture with gopuram (gateway), mandapam (pavilion) and other classical features. For an off-beat day trip, visit the Madras Crocodile Bank, home to eighteen of the world’s twenty-three crocodilian species, many of them endangered. Passionate bikers shouldn’t miss out on visiting the Royal Enfield Bullet factory in Oragadam in the city’s northern suburbs. A two-hour tour on the second and fourth Saturday of the month will allow you a glimpse into the production of this iconic Indian motorcycle. A stroll on Marina Beach is a must-do in Chennai, whether you’re a local or visitor. Schedule a date with Marina at sunrise or sunset, for an unforgettable experience.
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Thanjavur Virundhu - A Sensory Southern Odyssey
At a distance of 330 kms from Chennai, Thanjavur (Tanjore) is not just the ancient capital of the mighty Chola kingdom, but also one of India’s most underrated gastronomic destinations. The region’s cuisine has been influenced over the years by traditional Brahmin, Mukkulathor, and Maratha communities. One of South India’s most soulful gifts to the world – sambar – was said to have originated in Thanjavur when the Maratha royal army – looking for a replacement for their native, tart kokum – added tamarind to a spiced, heady broth of lentils and vegetables. The sambar and other Tanjore legends come alive in Vivanta Chennai’s exceptional Thanjavur Virundhu dining experience. Presented under the stars by the pool deck, this four-course feast is aimed at all your senses, offering a privileged peek into the traditions of South India’s most culture-rich province. Your guide and raconteur on this epic journey is our Executive Chef Jaffar Ali, whose lively, insightful stories and recipe breakdowns add another dimension to the stunning dishes presented in each course. Sip on a glass of champagne coconut-water punch infused with fresh skewered fruit chunks as Masterchef Jabaraj – a descendent of the chefs who ran the royal Thanjavur kitchens – sends forth a meal fit for royalty, including mango pachadi, kutti urulai vathakal, kathirikka poricha curry, kozhambus and seafood delights like vral (snake head fish), venginam meen (seer/Spanish mackerel), white bait and milk shark. At the end of the feast, Chef Jaffar gifts each diner a small treasure box of his secret spice mix, a charming keepsake from a most mesmerising gastronomic experience.
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Chef’s Table at Sian
If you’re looking for a plush setting to seal an important business deal, we’ve got you a winner. The Chef’s Table at Sian – our Oriental fine dining restaurant - is a refined, multi-course meal paired with a fine selection of wines. You can sample options from elaborate 8-course menus featuring Oriental grills, Cantonese delights and South East Asian classics. Interactive kitchens keep gastronomes invested in the wok-tossed delicacies and sizzling grills that skilfully invade all the senses, course after course. The occasion calls for a formality and etiquette – accentuated by the thoughtfully curated menu – which come together create a throwback to elegant teahouses with immaculate service and great conversation.
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