Whoever said good things came at a price, got it all wrong. French group Accor’s economy brand, Ibis, has opened its doors on the OMR, offering world-class amenities at affordable rates, and the IT companies in SIPCOT and travellers enroute to/from Pondicherry stand to reap the benefits. Located just behind Novotel (the group’s midscale brand), Ibis encourages you to count your dollars with placards like the ones at the lobby-level restaurant and bar, that point out a `100 saving if you take away to your room, instead of ordering room service. Spice It, their 24-hour restaurant, and The Hub, their bar, share space with a web corner at the lobby level that offers free internet, but for 15-minute sessions only. The upper ground floor sports a gym with all the basics in place (treadmills, weights, etc—there are no instructors or swimming pool at Ibis) and also houses three meeting rooms, with a pre-event area for buffets.
Ibis offers just one category of room, with a choice of twin bed or queen bed, and complimentary WiFi at 512kbps. Cozy at 17.8 sq mts, the rooms come with the view of a neighbouring mango groove and basic amenities like a TV, mini-fridge (no mini-bar here) and writing desk. A highlight is their unique UBRs (unified bathroom) imported from China. The completely moulded units, we hear, are no longer in production, and the Ibis in Chennai is among the last hotels in the world to have them. The only sour point is that to press your clothes, you will have to go to the common ironing station on your floor. But considering it offers a great view of the ECR backwaters and The Bay of Bengal, it’s worth the walk.
Rooms from `3,750 plus tax onwards, with an introductory 25 per cent off. Lunch and dinner buffets at Rs.499 plus tax per head, breakfast (complimentary for room guests) at Rs.299 plus tax. Details: 67444777
— Ryan Peppin