Taj Connemara Chennai is a heritage hotel Classified under the Taj Group’s business hotels section, the hotel is considered the oldest hotel in the city. The property of Taj Connemara was originally a house bought by John Binny from The Nawab of Arcot in 1799.The property was later bought by T. Somasundara Mudaly and built as the Imperial Hotel in 1854 under the proprietorship of Triplicane Rathinavelu Mudaliar, renamed Albany in 1886 when it was leased to two other Mudaliar brothers, and re-established as The Connemara in 1890, named after the then Madras Governor during 1881-1886.
Spencer’s leased the Connemara to the Taj Group in 1974. The tower block and linking pool was designed by architect Geoffrey Bawa in 1974, and the work was completed in 1977. The deluxe wing of the hotel was destroyed almost completely in the “Friday the Thirteenth” fire in February 1981, which broke out in the Spencer’s building. However, the main building of the hotel remained unharmed because of the high-rise wall in between the two buildings. In 1984, the Taj Group of Hotels acquired the hotel for a 100-year lease from the Spencer’s Group. The hotel saw two renovations in 1990 and 1995. The hotel was again renovated in 2004 and 2005, when the hotel was re-designed with the launch of the loud Distil bar and chic pan Asian restaurant Hip Asia, It is also when 65 rooms in the hotel were renovated. In September 2010, the hotel was rebranded and renamed as Vivanta by Taj.