Our biggest USP has always been the location: 40 acres of tree-shaded gardens right on a pristine kilometre-long beach…
Our biggest USP at Taj Fisherman’s Cove has always been the location: 40 acres of tree-shaded gardens right on a pristine kilometre-long beach just beyond the outskirts of Chennai and not far from Mahabalipuram. Some of the cottages and villas have direct access on to the sand, and all our restaurants have views of either the sea or the pool. Long before this was a hotel, there was a fort here that was built by the Dutch, and you can still find traces of it – bits of brick wall, that sort of thing – which we’ve been careful to preserve.
Well-heeled Chennaiites, as well as our guests, love our three dining venues. There’s Seagull for all-day dining, which offers different cuisines from around the world and is also where breakfast is served. Bay View specialises in seafood prepared in a range of styles representing all the coastal regions of India, where you sit under thatched gazebos by the sand. The third option is Upper Deck, which is only open in the evening. Personally, it’s my favourite because of its ambience – it’s on a little cliff by the beach with panoramic views of the Bay of Bengal and has a handpicked menu of dishes from different European countries and cities.
Another special place is the Watch Tower. It wasn’t part of the old fort or anything – it was made when Taj took over the resort. It’s a small elevated gazebo right on the beach that’s just big enough for a table for two, and it’s the venue for our private dining experience. It’s perfect for celebrating special events such as a birthday or anniversary, or for proposals. When it’s not being used for that, I like to sit there and just watch the waves and listen to them. It’s my favourite spot in the hotel at the moment.
For those who don’t want to do much, there’s a large swimming pool, the Jiva Spa with treatment rooms looking over the bay, and quiet paths lined with bougainvillea where all you can hear is the birds singing and the air smells of jasmine. Otherwise, we have quite a lot of activities: table tennis, lawn tennis, badminton, volleyball, football, spaces for beach cricket… Actually, the most popular sport is cycling; there are smooth paths throughout the grounds and no traffic, so it’s a good way to get a little gentle exercise and work off some of that excellent food.
As well as the setting and the atmosphere and the food, our guests often comment on the great service. The majority of our staff are local, including some from the fishing villages on either side of us. It’s part of the company’s ethos that wherever you’re working, you try to benefit all the people in the immediate area, so that’s what we do. We gain from it, too. You come to understand the culture and everything else better when the people who are working with you are local.