As luxury hotels go, it doesn’t get much more iconic than the Grande Old Dame of Mumbai, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Located in the centre of Colaba, the most popular tourist location in Mumbai, this hotel has staked its claim as one of the world’s premier luxury hotels.
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It’s not just about facilities, which of course match and even go beyond expectations of a luxury hotel – but it’s about the hotel’s story and history, too.
The Taj Mahal Palace hotel opened its doors in 1903 and has since had a long list of notable guests stay within its walls including Barack Obama, Jackie O, Mick Jagger, Oprah Winfrey, and many more. Be sure to check out the photographic display of guests showcased inside the hotel.
In 2008, the Taj Mahal Palace hotel took over global news screens as victim of a terrorist attack, details of which have subsequently been made into a movie; ‘Hotel Mumbai’, but it took the Taj just one month to reopen the less damaged parts of the hotel and it was only a few months more before the hotel reopened in it’s entirety and usual service was resumed.
The term, ‘usual service’ is a disservice to the Taj, however, as hotel service doesn’t get better than this. From the traditional Indian welcome at the door, to the bellboys transportation of your luggage as you leave, any stay here comes with impeccable service from beginning to end. No job is too big, or too small, for the wonderfully friendly and helpful staff here.
The hotel has two sections; the old wing and the new tower. If opportunity and budget allow, stay within the central old wing as this is where the history of the hotel really comes alive.
Guests staying in the new wing won’t miss out however, as entrance to and from the new tower is via the central building, and hotel facilities in both sections of the property are available to all guests – no matter where you decide to stay.
If you’re looking for something really special (and we mean, really special), then splash out on a suite. The Taj Mahal Palace has 44 suites – all wonderfully unique in design and theme.
Perhaps you’ll choose the Peacock Suite, or the Ravi Shankar suite. Word has it that the latter was where the legendary Indian musician taught guitar to George Harrison. Oh, if these walls could talk…
No matter where you stay in the hotel, be sure to indulge in their facilities. The outdoor swimming pool sits at the back of the hotel and is a wonderful place to while away a day sipping chai.
Mumbai has many fabulous restaurants to visit, and some of the city’s best are located within the hotel itself. You won’t have to leave the hotel to dine in style; choose from Indian fine dining at Masala Craft, Chinese at Golden Dragon, and Japanese at Wasabi by Morimoto.
And don’t miss afternoon tea in style at Sea Palace – ask for a window seat for views over the Gateway of India and Arabian Sea. Come evening, pay a visit to Harbour Bar and ask for the signature cocktail. It comes with a fascinating story of the bar’s history, as told to you by your waiter.
Of course, if you want to head out into the busy Mumbai streets then you’re in the right place too. The hotel’s location in the centre of Colaba, a lively, historic part of town, means there is plenty to see and do outside of the hotel walls too.
Head to Leopold Cafe (yes, that restaurant mentioned in Shantaram), located just a couple of streets away. Or pay a visit to Bademiya for a spicy chicken roll. Bademiya is probably Mumbai’s most famous street food vendor.
The wonderful thing about the Taj Mahal hotel is the combination of atmosphere, history, service, and location. Standing pride of place in Colaba this hotel offers the best of everything in Mumbai.
You’ll be able to see the real Mumbai within just seconds of leaving its lobby, yet its convenient location in the centre of it all offers a quick retreat to a sanctuary at the end of a busy day exploring.