Review Raintree, Chennai: A journey into the stories of Chennai

Chennai is a city of many flavors, but to me its the art and culture here which truly define this amazing land...

Recently when I was invited by Raintree, St Mary's Road for a review, I immediately agreed because I was really excited to go back to the city I had visited often, but never as a traveler. However, a bigger surprise waited for me as I started my journey of discovering the city from within the hotel itself. The hotel is beautifully designed to give a lovely introduction to the city's past and its heritage, enough to inspire and excite any traveler who comes and stays.

The Stories

For me the stay was even more interesting as I kept discovering stories across the hotel. Some of these also inspired me to make my own travel plans. Sharing some of these interesting stories here..

The Wall

The most impressive of the stories was The Wall at The Colony (read more about it later). The beautiful wall depicts how life was in old Chennai or Chennaipatnam. Back in the days, Mylapore was the buzzing centre of the city (and it still is) and life was pretty vibrant there. The artist has brought out the small details of life through an unusual collage in the wall. It's worth checking it out in detail, it would help you build an immediate connection with the city's past.

Review Hotel Raintree St Mary's Road Chennai
The Wall installation by Anamika

The work is a celebration, a visual treat of he rich cultural flavor this part of the country has. Especially very distinct, intense and spicy in nature. It's a compilation of some distinct materials representing Mylapore and Chennai, also, inspired from our tradional south Indian 'Spice Box' - 'Anjarai Petti'.

Every material has a distinct visual character, which stirs up the viewer, connecting them to their own unbound personal experiences in time and space.- Anamika

Story of Sustainability

Usually when I visit a hotel I do not exactly pay special attention to how sustainable the hotel is. However, with Raintree it was very different. The first thing you see is the absence of flowers in the entire hotel, except the lobby. What you see instead are plants, plenty of plants. This was such a wonderful respite to me as I am quite against the aimless wastage of flowers simply for decoration. Not just this, even the parting gift from the hotel to me was a sweet smelling Jasmine. It was rather fun to carry it back with me in the flight, everyone who passed me by at the airport smiled at me :)

Review Hotel Raintree St Mary's Road Chennai
Flowers are replaced by plants on tables...these look marvelous!
However, it's not just plants but many other things which add to a rather impressive sustainability footprint. Amongst those, I was quite impressed by the organic waste composting plant that the hotel runs by itself which also helps them in generating their own manure. Not many of you might know, but as a designer my career started with the designing of a mechanical composter for home use.

Story of Design

The hotel was recently renovated, but it was more of a complete redesign of the feel of the space. The key idea was to unite spaces giving the hotel a more residential feel. The spaces meander, often organically. Beautiful art works spring up on corners, surprisingly and delighting you.

It is rough luxury, elegant and casual, timeless and homely.

My overall experience

I can describe my overall experience in one simple word - overwhelming. I had my best ever stay in Chennai and much of it is because of the wonderful hospitality at the hotel. The staff is a delight to interact with, and spaces are wonderful to simply walk around, the food is rich and varied and most importantly, it feels like a home away from home.

Review Hotel Raintree St Mary's Road Chennai
An Elegant experience...

My room

I walked into my room and I was completely taken by the elegance that the space exuded. The simple and minimal interiors are truly classy. One of the things that truly made me a fan of hotel hospitality were the neatly folded towels on my bed with my initials embroidered on them. I already knew that I was their special guest, but gestures like these made me feel extra-special.

Review Hotel Raintree St Mary's Road Chennai
My beautiful room!
Review Hotel Raintree St Mary's Road Chennai
View from my room

Food at the Raintree

The hotel has three main restaurants with a completely different ambiance to each.


My day started with the most recent addition to the hotel - The Colony. As the name suggests, the restaurant is inspired from the colonial times and to understand its essence we will have to  This restaurant is best enjoyed in the morning, especially for breakfast.

Review Hotel Raintree St Mary's Road Chennai
Chef preparing food at Colony

Review Hotel Raintree St Mary's Road Chennai
Seating at Colony
The food is multi cuisine, however, since I was in Chennai only for the weekend, I decided to sample everything Chennai. I had a few different types of dosas and loved them all. I decided to top it up with the pan cakes, though I was a little disappointed by them. My recommendation is to try South Indian food here and you are likely to be more than half when everything.

Chap Chai

This place is very theme and cuisine based - South East Asian. The restaurant is best enjoyed for lunch and do not be very surprised to actually bump into one of Chennai's socialites as it has become a popular place with them. 

Review Hotel Raintree St Mary's Road Chennai
Chai Chai - Thai food
During my stay here, I focused completely on South Indian food so skipped a meal here. However, I am sure next time I am in town I shall surely check it out. The interiors are amazing and to me that's quite an important part of a good meal.

Above Sea Level

This one is by far the most exotic of them all and I couldn't resist a fabulous meal of grilled Salmon here. I had the most beautiful table reserved for me for the dinner, and it was a perfect setting to say goodbye to my hosts as well as to the Chennai - a city I fell in love with during this trip.

Review Hotel Raintree St Mary's Road Chennai above sea level
Above Sea Level - the Pool

Raintree, Anna Salai

Raintree has two Five Star properties in Chennai, and the third one is coming up soon. I also visited Raintree Anna Salai for a short tour and had a rather amazing Chettinad thali with some very tasty fish at Madras - the restaurant (I never knew there could be a non-veg South Indian thali). The head chef himself sat with me during the meal and walked me through the cuisine and so many good stories.

Review Hotel Raintree Anna Salai Chennai
Raintree, Anna Salai

This property is actually bigger and busier and has some pretty interesting places to eat as well. Madras was great but I also liked the roof top restaurant there. And in case you are in mood for some shopping, there is a fancy Indian store also.

Practical Information

About the hotel

Nestled within the bustling city capital of Chennai in India’s southernmost state of Tamil Nadu, The Raintree Hotels are a full-service luxury destination with a socially conscious attitude. As India’s cultural hub, Chennai proudly showcases a unique blend of diversity, creativity and tradition. For business travelers, The Raintree Hotels are conveniently located near the business hub of Chennai.


120, St. Mary's Road
Chennai 600 018

Review Hotel Raintree St Mary's Road Chennai buddha
Buddha at the entrance


  1. Oh my god, the pool! Absolutely a delightful place. Thank you for sharing this Siddhartha. Next time on my way to Pondicherry, I know where to stay :)

  2. Lovely review Siddhartha. You have captured the essence of the hotel. Chap Chay is one of my favourite restaurants in the city.

  3. Thanks Madhu! I do wish I could have met up with you also...always great to learn about the city from a local :)

  4. Hari OM
    What a fabulous place... I do like the table grass! YAM xx

  5. Neat write up, have visited the place, the pub but not eaten at the restaurants here.. been hearing rave reviews about Chap Chay and the newly opened Coffee shop... Look fwd to visiting the space

  6. It's been ages since I visited Chennai. Detailed review and any story behind the name 'Chap Chay' ? :-)

  7. For me also, it was a trip after a long time! As for Chap Chay...I think it's some food :)

  8. The pub is closing down now...but you must try the restaurants also. Each has a unique ambiance...

  9. Great review. You could have buzzed me when you were here

  10. You live in Chennai?? I always thought you were based out of Bangalore! I reached out to Madhu and Aarti, but had no clue about you! Next time for sure :)

  11. Must say the place looks good. I have had the opportunity to be involved with this hotel earlier, but have not visited it over the last 5 years.The pictures are very nicely done.Do you know why it was named the Raintree?The idea came from all the Raintrees on St Marys Road...!!Cheers


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