If you’ve visited Mumbai, chances are, you will have seen The Taj, as it’s colloquially known. Opened in 1902, this iconic hotel has been a feature of the Coloba skyline for the past 115 years. So much so, that it’s structure has been trademarked (much like the Eiffel Tower or Sydney Opera House). It was built in a beautiful mash-up of styles from around the globe, taking the best of what the world had to offer and bringing it to Mumbai.
This is what it’s founder Jamshedji Tata aimed to do when opening his hotel. It was the first building in Mumbai to use electricity, and brought together British butlers, German elevators, American fans and Turkish baths to offer up an experience that would be unparalleled anywhere else on the globe. Of course, that meant that royalty and as many stars as a night sky have walked through the corridors here, which made it all the more special that this was our first stop in India. To stay somewhere with such history is an honour.
After getting over the fact that the suite next door to my room had previously housed Queen Elizabeth, John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Obamas (not all at once), I settled in and started to admire the view. Hundreds of boats bobbing up and down on the Arabian Sea next to the Gateway of India – not a bad place to start a week long adventure in this massive country!
The service I experienced couldn’t have been any more attentive, but it didn’t take me long to understand that was very much the Indian way of doing things. We dined at the hotel’s illustrious restaurants (their Chinese restaurant Golden Dragon has been a Mumbai favourite since the ‘70s) and had cocktails at what was the cities first licensed bar.
It’s a total slice of luxury in what is India’s busiest city. Sitting by the pool at the back you can forget you’re surrounded by over 16 million other people! More from outside the palace walls in my next post…