Life & Style

At the new Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort, you get rooms with a ‘crocodile view’

On ECR stands the only resort that offers you ‘crocodile view’ rooms, thanks to its scaly neighbours

This is ideal weather for cocktails and crocodiles. Well, to be fair, any weather is great for cocktails and crocodiles, especially when you’re by the sea.

If you’ve been zipping up and down East Coast Road lately, you have probably seen the new Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort & Spa. Sprawling across 10 acres of land, right by the beach, it’s plush, and like all the luxury properties that have opened in the city over the past decade, it revels in its Chennai location. (Their rather laboured tagline claims the property derives inspiration from the ‘the 4S‘s – Sun, Sand, Sea and Southern India.’)

At the new Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort, you get rooms with a ‘crocodile view’

However they have one advantage over every other hotel property in the country. This is the only resort where you can check into a Crocodile Park View Room. The resort is right next door to the ever-popular Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpatology, which is one of the largest reptile zoos in the world, spread over eight- and-a-half acres of land and home to over 2,500 reptiles. From these rooms, 19 in total, you can peer over the walls of Crocodile Bank and watch huge, beady-eyed crocodiles luxuriating in the sunshine. And no, you don’t have to worry about Jurassic Park-style escapees. The Trust, which has been around since the 1970s, is meticulous about safety measures.

At the new Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort, you get rooms with a ‘crocodile view’

For a truly unforgettable view, check out the hotel’s recently launched Pelican Deck, a rooftop restaurant adjacent to the property’s infinity pool. From here, you can see the ocean in front of the property, and also watch the hotel’s magnificently scaly neighbours nap. Add pelicans and a glass of red wine, and you have to admit it’s a pretty impressive view. Especially since you don’t have to clamber on a jeep and be splattered with safari mud to drink it all in.

At the new Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort, you get rooms with a ‘crocodile view’

Pelican Deck is an open-air grill and barbecue restaurant, specialising in nose-to-tail eating with a Mediterranean twist. The hotel also offers all-day dining at Reef. If you want to posh it up, drop by the Pintail Lounge, which promises old-world charm and single malts. And yes, it is also named after a bird who visits the property. Which, you have to admit, is a tad more glamorous than calling the bar ‘Jaws’.

Meet the captive giant

  • The Crocodile Bank’s ‘A’ list celebrity, Jaws, is reportedly the largest crocodile in captivity in India, and possibly one of the largest in the world.
  • He arrived at the Croc Bank shortly after it opened in 1976, and was originally housed with his siblings till he began to outgrow them in a astonishing fashion.
  • Now, Jaws has blossomed into a Spielberg-esque monster, according to the Crocodile Bank website, and lives alone in a fortified enclosure “due to his unusually savage disposition and devastating strength”.
  • Visitors can watch him being fed by his keepers every Sunday afternoon at 4.30 pm.

(The Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort & Spa is at 280, East Coast Road. The Pelican Deck is open from 6 pm to 11 pm. Call 33422222 for details.)

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:08:37 AM |

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