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    Airport transfers in a vintage car, high tea, some bubbly to sweeten the deal – as if you need an excuse to celebrate what may be the country’s oldest heritage hotel

    W HILE a protein-rich morning repast and high tea with scones and marmalade, both Madras Week additions at Vivanta by Taj-Connemara, might be good reasons to drop by, there is more. Celebrating its 125th year in November, the charming 19th century address off Mount Road is one of the oldest functioning heritage hotels in the country. And it comes with its share of history, tall tales and famous folk. Over a media breakfast that includes Ahmar Siddiqui, general manager of the hotel, city historian S Muthiah starts at the very beginning, when the British moved from the Fort to live on the Great Choultry Plain, near Anna Salai. There is the story about Scotsman John Binny occupying a garden house there, in 1800, andabout the Mudaliars involved in turning it into a hotel. In 1891, Eugene Oakshott of Spencer’s bought the Connemara Hotel (named after Robert Bourke, or Lord Connemara, the Governor of Madras from 1886 to 1890), and years later, it was leased to the Taj Group in 1984. Which brings us to the present day, to a hotel that is packed with Anglo Indians during Christmas. And popular with tourists from the UK right through the year. Over the next week, you are welcome to pick up a glass of Moet and get a tour. And while your beverage may not be as distinct as the Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel (which is celebrating many avatars as workshops, desserts and package deals during Singapore’s 50th year of Independence), The Madras Chronicle Wall is quite something. Alternatively, check into one of the 15 heritage rooms, all over 700 sq ft, with Victorian arches and vintage fittings. Or wait for the airport transfers and city tours in a vintage car, coming up later this year. Heritage rooms at approx Rs 22,000 per night. Details: 66000000
    Team Indulge

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