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    The US Secretary of State visits Chennai to show solidarity to the Government of Tamil Nadu

    Published on July 21, 2011

    by NR INDRAN

    Taj Coromandel, Chennai has undergone a recent refurbishment that now creates a rejuvenated luxury experience, presenting a perfect fusion of rich, South Indian design and classic European elegance. Along with its repertoire of renovated features, it presents a perfect blend of contemporary comfort and stylish sophistication. With The Chambers – the city’s exclusive power statement; the newly-updated Luxury Rooms and Lobby, the Hotel has unarguably become Chennai’s most-preferred address offering the finest accommodation for discerning heads of state travelling to India.

    The Hotel in the recent past has played host to various personalities and Heads of State, from across the globe. President Jimmy Carter, His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, President Bill Clinton, His Excellency Festus Gontebanye Mogae, iconic Actor Jackie Chan, His Excellency Sergei Stanishev, Prime Minister of Bulgaria and Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn among many, have all chosen to stay here.

    It’s no surprise that US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton chose to stay at Taj Coromandel as well. The Hotel has been enthusiastically preparing for the US Secretary of State’s visit.

    Welcome Experience

    The Hotel accorded a resplendent traditional red carpet welcome for the US Secretary of State at the newly-renovated Hotel lobby, which was decorated with a grand poo kolam, which read ‘vanakkam’. The ceremonious lighting of the kuttuvilakku was followed by the Taj tradition of aarti and teeka to welcome the US Secretary of State in true South Indian spirit. The highlight of this welcome experience was the beautifully-choreographed Bharatnatyam dance performance by three dancers in front of the stunning life-size bronze Nataraja, accompanied by musicians. The US Secretary of State was so overwhelmed by the rhythmic crescendo of the thillana that she enthusiastically posed for a photograph with the performers. Enthralled by the entire welcome experience, the US Secretary of State exclaimed, “No one organizes a welcome better than the Taj!”

    Suite Experience

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton resided at the ‘Royal Suite’, a unique expression of splendor and sophistication, and the most-preferred luxurious residential option for visiting dignitaries and Royalty. Host to Queen Elizabeth II on her visit to Chennai, the Royal Suite is outstandingly-crafted for the affluent global explorers; luxury encompasses every element of a guest’s stay, with personalized and warm service. The décor of this Suite gracefully blends the classic with the contemporary, and features a private terrace sit-out offering a breathtaking view of the city. This luxuriously-appointed suite includes a living room, two spacious bathrooms, and offers special experiences like a Jacuzzi, an additional guest bathroom, a separate dining area, a dressing room with 3-way mirrors and a pantry.

    The hotel designated two highly-attentive and personalized lady butlers and a specialist masseuse from Jiva Spa, and curated bespoke experiences for this special occasion. The suite was prepared with personalized towels, bed linen and natural handmade soap bars, much to the liking of the US Secretary of State. To give the entire experience a south Indian touch, the terrace sit-out was beautifully decorated with terracotta figurines, wooden antique lady musicians, Tanjore dolls, urlis with while lotuses and tall palm leaves in terracotta urns.

    Details of F&B offerings of the Hotel

    The Hotel’s restaurants have proven to be the dining destinations of choice for fine-dining connoisseurs of the city, offering a contemporary culinary portfolio. Anise offersan eclectic selection of world cuisine in a contemporary and informal setting. Authentic Italian cuisine is offered at Prego while its wine cellar Enoteca, features an extensively stocked collection accommodating 324 labels. The legendary Southern Spice features cuisines from all four southern states, while the stylish and contemporary bar Chipstead houses a stunning range of classic malts, and wondrous wines.

    During her stay at the Hotel, Taj Coromandel offered the US Secretary of State authentic cuisine from Golden Dragon – the city’s eternal favourite Cantonese and Sichuan restaurant. The elaborate sit-down dinner prepared by Master Chinese Chef William Ho at Golden Dragon included Har Gao, Shumai, Chicken Bao, Mantao, Vegetable Spring Rolls, Prawn Wantons, Vegetable Dumplings, Tenderloin Cabbage Roll, Peking Duck, Sweet and Sour Pork, Fish with Black Bean Chilli, Stir Fried Greens, Vegetable Fried Rice, Vegetable Rice Noodles and Nest of Dragon.

    The sampler south Indian breakfast menu was served on a silver banana leaf platter, included fluffy mini idlis, hot vadas, masala and rava dosas, pongal and other specialties of the south, paired with sambar and different kinds of chutneys. Besides this extravagant menu, the Hotel also had a variety of yoghurts, teas, coffees and more on offer.

    Departure Experience

    The departure was as dramatic and grand as the welcome, as the US Secretary of State was bid adieu with a high-energy symphony by the talavaadya ensemble (percussions), who showcased the vibrant percussion instruments native to the south. The eight musical instruments including the ghatam, mridangam, tavil and kanjira were accompanied by a konakul (vocal percussions) artiste, who added a unique element to the festive spirit in the Hotel. The traditional flower rangoli which read ‘Au Revoir’ caught the US Secretary of State’s attention, who simply said, “Wow.”

    In this fitting farewell, the staff of the Hotel joined hands to thank the US Secretary of State for choosing Taj Coromandel as her preferred place of stay in Chennai – a testimony to being the city’s bedrock of fine living and hospitality, and the only city Hotel to be amongst the elite Leading Hotels of World…

    On her departure, the US Secretary of State signed the Visitor’s Book: “Thanks to the gracious hospitality and warm welcome of the Taj Coromandel and its attentive staff. You have made our first trip to Chennai even more memorable.”

    You can contact the Author at  [email protected]