Monday, January 10, 2011

Here and there

This is a hotel caught in some kind of a time warp. The property itself was developed by R. Velayuthan, whose claim to fame was that he was married to KR Vijaya, a popular actress of the 1970s. Velayuthan invested his wife's earnings into building this hotel, which opened in the late 1970s. Riding on the crest of her popularity, Hotel Sudarshan, as it was then called, became quite a popular hangout, more so with the 'filmi' crowds visiting Chennai.

As with several similar ventures, the promoters were unable to sustain the business and within a decade, Hotel Sudarshan was in the doldrums. Velayuthan managed to find a buyer, the Narangs, who brought it into the fold of their Ambassador brand in 1986. The Narangs for some reason don't seem to be paying as much attention to this property as they should, banking on a regular clientele to support them.

And that clientele does. Not just because the rooms here are far larger than most others in the city. Not just because the service is a little more personalized than that at other hotels. But more so because, as this site for a wedding a couple of weeks ago says, there is an association with things past, an association that will probably take a couple of generations to change!


mehulkamdar said...

Thank you for this post. After being born and growing up in George Town (on Broadway) I moved next door to the Sudarshan Hotel when my parents lived at Montieth Court for a few years. The whole locality was a quiet and peaceful place and my friends and I would take a walk in the evenings past the hotel to the Rajarathinam Stadium and there on towards Pantheon Road and back, stopping sometimes at the Connemara Library. Many years later, my sister's wedding took place at the hotel and by then it had been renamed the Ambassador Pallava. As you point out, many people have fond memories of the place. Hopefully the owners will take care to maintain the hotel better in the future if they have left it unattended in recent years.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing the link - but unfortunately it seems to be down? Does anybody here at have a mirror or another source?


Joel said...

Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email address to contact you about some broken links on your site. Please email me back and I would be happy to point them out to you.

Joel Houston

Shantaram said...

@Mehul: Thanks for stopping by, and the comments. Yes, sure look forward to the hotel recapturing its glory days!