Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Madras Club

As far as clubs go in Chennai, Madras Club is definitely the nicest. Its true that they are very old fashioned and have oh-so-many rules, but ask any member and they will say that its completely worth it.



We recently went through a year of screening, informal interviews and formal interviews to be invited to be a temporary member of the Club. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Its what makes the Club so exclusive. You definitely won't meet the riff-raff here.

The nicest part of the Club is the great playground. And you'll realize that its so great after having lived in Chennai for a year and realizing that there is NO OTHER PLACE where kids can play outside. I am also told that they have the best bar in the city. Since I haven't done a survey of bars, I'm just going to take their word for it. And of course there's the swimming pool, the gym, the bakery and the lovely grounds overlooking the Adyar River.

17 comments:

David Lean said...

Never hard of this place before, i have only come across Gymkhana, cosmo etc. where is this one? seems like a good one. i am an expat from US, currently managing a manaufacturing firm. i am really interested in becoming a member of this club.

Arundathi said...

David: Madras Club is actually pretty low-key which is why maybe you haven't heard of it. Its a bit of a process to get membership, but definitely worth it as I've mentioned in the blog. Its located in the Boat Club area, though not to be confused with the Madras Boat Club which is totally different. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I have lived in a couple of places in Chennai a long time back. I have also lived in Withypool in the Boat Club area that was just mentioned by you. Your blog is awesome ... brings back so many memories..Landmark, Lifestyle, Spencer Plaza, Saravanna Bhavan, Nalli's , Kumaran Silks to name a few.... I loved Chennai & was heartbroken when I had to move:-(

Arundathi said...

Withypool? Thats an awesome property - seen it several times! That must've been fun!

Anonymous said...

I lved in Madras with my parents in the late 60's, walking distance to the Madras club. My Dad was with AMOCO, they built the Madras Fertilizer Plant. As well, AMOCO built the pool at the club as part of a deal to allow AMOCO employees access. The scretary of the club was Mr Malvenan, an old British Colonialist. It was a wonderful palce to be in the 1960's

Arundathi said...

Anonymous:
They just renovated the pool - after 40 years! I'm impressed - AMOCO must've done an incredible job. The new pool is fantastic too. I will try and post some photos.

Also see http://arundathi-rediscovery.blogspot.com/2008/01/happy-new-club.html

Anonymous said...

Thanks I'd be excited to see some recent photos. We are trying to visit there in the next year or two, perhaps we can buy you dinner at the club

Anonymous said...

Hello all have you guys heard about the fraud at the madras Club read this which was posted on askLaila.com



Hello Madras Club Association,

I am writing this with great sadness to know and hear that there is financial fraud in the backdrops of our precious club and that no action is being taken on it. I during my visits to the Bar have heard complaints of mistreatment of bar waiters by our Bar manager Dennis Rice. I have overlooked such things but recently through one of our family friends I have learn t that Dennis has not only been mistreating the waiters but also has been involved in gaining massive commissions from our Parry's vendors through blackmails and Bribery. I have also learn t about the fact that he takes away very expensive Booze from the Bar for personal use. This is very unacceptable to the fact that we went under a loss last year and nothing has been done to look into such this. This should be looked very seriously - in my opinion Bar manager has to be changed or else legal action should be taken against the management of the Club for not looking into these issues which take away the harmony, fun and frolic that we have always shared at the premises of The Madras Club.

Anonymous said...

Stringent rules? Will I be allowed to invite guests there? What's the dress code? And how far away from the Taj Cromodel? Someone please help

Arundathi said...



@ Anonymous - About the comment on fraud at the Mds Club, there have been rumors, but I dont know if anyone has proof yet.

@ Anonymous - Yes, there are stringent rules. If you are a member, yes you can invite guests. Dress code is formal attire. And its about 15-20 minutes drive from Taj Coromandel. Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response......You mean to say that if I am a member's guest staying at the Club, I cannot invite another person for dinner or drinks? Also, when you say dress code is formal, I hope it does not mean a jacket and a tie!!

Arundathi said...


Anon - you could have guests over if you are staying there, I hear.
Also formals is collared shirt and closed shoes and trousers, not jeans. If you are staying there, you can get more information from the reception.

Rupa said...

I am a member of Bengal Club and frequent Madras Club as reciprocal member.
Its a very nice club to stay .Rooms are good,big and airy and done up in an aesthetic way.
While staying in the guest rooms one can use all the facilities of the club including use of swimming pool,gymnasium,jogging track,library and other facilities.Rooms are internet connected but for a charge.
You can entertain guests if you are staying in the club.
If you are not a reciprocal member or a member you can find out whether any of your friends are member of the club who can book for you.
They have only 12 rooms and a cottage .
The service is not as it was five years back but I still believe that it is the best place to live if you are in Chennai.

Ananya said...

Hi Arundhati,
Enjoyed reading your take on the city and it's life. There is something so distinctly Madras- that one has to live here to enjoy its many flavours. After living abroad for 12 years, just back in the city and was wondering what the procedure for applying to the Madras Club was. It would be good to be able to use the pool and garden etc.

Anonymous said...

Aren't the members of the Madras Club themselves riff raff?

Melanie said...

Mr Malvenan! What great memories. I spent many many long days at the pool in the Madras Club in the late sixties / early seventies, whilst my parents worked there (relocated from Britain - my mother took on the posting as headmistress of Harrington House, and my father was an engineering professor). Would love to hear from other expat children from the Madras Club at that time.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I had the Madras Club experience once, ever since I wanted to register for membership. I understood its very difficult to get thru, so didn't try. Could you brief me thru the process. I once read the membership costs 5lakhs n one may pay 2.5lakhs n wait. So how long this wait might get? Only the ones inside could tell!!