On my recent trip to Chennai, I may have discovered one of the best accommodation deals in the city. I had originally booked through AirBnB, the website that allows property owners to rent out rooms or entire homes as holiday accommodation.
Springhaven has two properties; one in the southern Chennai district of Adyar, and another in the central district of Balaji Nagar (where I stayed).
The hosts are brothers Siddharth and Srikanth and their family, who do their very best to make guests feel right at home. I arrived late but was greeted by Srikanth and his wife, who offered me food, drinks and a wifi password – just what I needed after a long flight!
The Balaji Nagar building is a three-storey construction, with guest accommodation on the first and second floors. My first-floor room opened directly on to a communal dining and lounge area, but of course locked from the inside, so it was effectively like a private hotel room.
The room was spacious but basic when compared with luxury hotel rooms, but that’s not a fair comparison, because it was more like a well-appointed bedroom in a typical upper-middle class Chennai home. There was air-conditioning, satellite television and two very comfy single beds. I also had an attached ensuite – no sharing here!
However I will perhaps best remember the stay for the kind hospitality shown by the hosts. A full breakfast is included each morning, perfectly prepared by the resident cooks, and the choice of breakfast was fairly varied; ‘Western-style’ (omelette with toast and jam) or ‘Indian-style’ (a range of delights including, but not limited to, dosa, idlys and freshly brewed local coffee.
Excellent vegetarian meals were also available at other times of the day – I enjoyed dhal, okra, rice and chapati one night – and there was always tea, coffee or lassi available. Filtered, safe-to-drink water is provided at no cost, and was one of the small touches that made Springhaven a home away from home.
Siddharth and Srikanth and their family are a wealth of knowledge about Chennai and the local region, and are very very obliging. They’re chatty, friendly, easy to get along with, and both interesting and interested. It’s like staying with friends – and I’m already planning my return trip.
This was my first experience booking through AirBnB, and I was a bit worried that I would be stuck in a guesthouse where I was virtually a prisoner of my overprotective host. To this end, and most importantly, Siddharth and Srikanth are not overbearing, making Springhaven a place where you can really relax and feel at home. Which, says Srikanth, is exactly the concept they are aiming for.
Springhaven Balaji Nagar
No. 23 Balaji Nagar 2nd Street
Prices vary depending on booking method; through AirBnB in early 2015 I paid approximately US$40/night including breakfast and unlimited wifi access.
+91 99620 89414