Sahara Star Hotel in Mumbai, India

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by Santorini Dave • Updated: October 8, 2019

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Review of Hotel Sahara Star in Mumbai, India

Sahara Star – Extraordinary resort-style hotel, yet remarkably on the edge of a mega airport.

A cross between a Bali resort (without the beach) and Vegas casino/hotel (without the gambling), the Sahara Star is truly massive. Much, much more than just a transit hotel, rooms are spread across terraced tiers facing colossal gardens not remotely possible at downtown rivals. The standard rooms are colorful and well-appointed, but not overly spacious, while some suites (named after planets) are sumptuous enough to feature jacuzzis or glass roofs. The best are those featuring balconies overlooking the incredible layout within. As expected, the amenities – from the tropical-style pool dotted with ‘islands’ to the outdoor fitness center overlooking the ‘lagoon’ – are world-class. There’s even more: a private dining room inside an aquarium! Incredibly, all of this is within a suburban area walkable to the domestic airport, and yet it’s so quiet.

Sahara Star – The Location

  • Address: Nehru Road, just off the Western Express Highway, in the northern suburb of Vile Parle East. Adjacent to the domestic airport Terminal 1B (Santa Cruz).
  • Area: Comparatively quieter and cleaner area of Mumbai packed with transit hotels and high-rise office blocks. Most domestic flights actually leave from the international terminal, so the area is rarely affected by plane noise.
  • How to Get There: Less than 10 minutes by car/taxi from the international airport Terminal 2 (which also handles most domestic flights, 5km, 15-minute drive), and even closer to Terminal 1B (Santa Cruz), which caters to some budget domestic airlines. Get a taxi at a pre-paid counter from either terminal, or arrange a pickup through the hotel. The Andheri train station and connected metro station are 15 minutes (3km) away.
  • Handy to: Domestic and International airport terminals.

Sahara Star – The Basics

  • Guests: So close to both airport terminals, it attracts not only transit passengers, but also business people who appreciate the space and gardens not found in the city center.
  • Views: Rooms facing inwards are quieter and feature balconies. These overlook the gardens, ‘lagoon’, and all the cafés/bars lined along the circular path within the grounds. Other rooms face the airport and streets, but windows are soundproofed.
  • Kitchen: The 1-only Saturn Suite and Sahara Suite feature a kitchenette each.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Some of the more expensive suites feature jacuzzis.
  • 
Wi-Fi: Available free throughout for all guests.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +91 (0)22 3989 5000
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: saharastar.com

Sahara Star – Amenities

  • Pool: Surprisingly, not within the internal gardens, but adjacent to the whole building. Narrow and dotted with ‘islands’ of palm trees, reminiscent of a tropical beach resort, but becomes crowded quickly. Bar and jacuzzi attached.
  • Spa: Juvana Spa is as massive and opulent as the entire hotel. Traditional treatments and highly-trained staff.
  • Fitness Center: Uniquely positioned along the circular path within the hotel grounds, and facing the ‘lagoon’ and gardens. Fully equipped.
  • Other Facilities: Business Center. Laundry. Travel desk. Money-changing. Boutiques.

Sahara Star – Food and Drink

  • Restaurants: The Earth Plate – Eclectic selection includes Italian, Mexican, and French cuisine. Famous for its teppanyaki ice-cream(!). Massive area, with bar attached. Open 24 hours. Where buffet breakfast is served. • Namak – Contemporary Indian in both cuisine and décor, with attentive service and impressive layout. • Manuhaar – Bright and cheerful setting, it’s renowned for authentic thalis (set meals in steel plates). • EAST – Cuisine from across Asia, including a teppanyaki station, and intriguing décor. Open until after midnight. • Mabruk – Casual setting alongside the ‘lagoon’ within the extraordinary gardens. Award-winning Lebanese cuisine, and live music on most nights. Outside bar. Dinner only. • The Bakery Shop – Extensive selection of tasty treats, including pies and pastries.
  • Bars: The Lagoon Lounge – Remarkable setting next to the manmade ‘lagoon’. Coffees, beers, and light meals. • Diwine – Chic lounge (and shop) claiming to offer the largest wine collection in Mumbai.
  • Breakfast: Not normally included, but this may depend on the type of room and how it was booked.
  • Room Service: Available 24/7.

Sahara Star – Rooms

  • Room Types: Mercury City Facing Rooms • Earth Rooms • Mercury Lagoon Facing Rooms • Venus Premier Rooms • Venus Premier Suites • Uranus Suites • Neptune Suites • Saturn Suite (1 only) • Sahara Suite (1 only)
  • Smoking Rooms: Some rooms allow smoking. Check when booking.
  • Best Room: The signature 1-only Sahara Suite is indescribable: spread over 3 floors, with a private elevator, it offers more luxury than most could even dream about.
  • For Families: Some of the more expensive suites feature two bedrooms, while many standard rooms have connecting doors.

Sahara Star – Local Transport

  • Walking: Comparatively pleasant area for walking, but little of interest nearby for tourists. The hotel gates face a lane packed with stalls and other facilities for local workers. Crowded, but a fascinating slice of city life.
  • Public Transport: Nothing of any use to tourists. The nearest Mumbai Metro station is Western Express Highway (3km, 15-minute drive), but has limited connectivity till about 2025 when several other routes open.
  • Taxis & Auto-rickshaws: The usual black-and-yellow taxis are oddly rare in the immediate area. Plenty of auto-rickshaws along the road, and they usually use their meters too. Rides can also be booked using Uber and Ola apps.

Sahara Star – What’s Nearby?

Restaurants & Bars

    Not a great variety – mostly stalls selling street food. The only other options are in nearby transit hotels. The premier selection is at The Orchid (250m away, 3-minute walk). From the main gates of the Sahara Star, veer left and look for the turnoff. The Orchid offers:

  • Boulevard – 24-hour casual dining in the atrium with an unusual décor of canvas and carpets.
  • Mostly Grills – Mouth-watering kebabs and a colorful setting on the rooftop. Dinner only.
  • South of Vindhyas – Traditional vegetarian cuisine in a stylish setting with fascinating murals.
  • The Gourmet Shop – Coffee shop for tasty breads, cakes, and other pastries.
  • Merlin’s Karaoke Bar – Also live music, and extended happy hours. Open until 3am.

Shops

  • A few shops for locals along the lane that faces the hotel gates, but nothing much else.

Sahara Star – The Hotel

The Sahara Star hotel is located close to the airport.

The air traffic control tower on the left of this photo indicates how close the hotel is to the airport, but rooms are effectively soundproofed.

The hotel has a lot of chic sculptures.

The hotel is full of pizzazz, evidenced by the flamboyant sculptures and chic design of mostly black, white, and grey.

The hotel has a Las Vegas casino vibe.

The Sahara Star resembles a Las Vegas casino/hotel, or even a soccer stadium, especially when illuminated at night.

The lobby has a minimalist design.

The lobby is fashionable, but the minimalist design is not reflected throughout the hotel.

The city hotel has a tropical vibe.

The hotel exudes a genuine tropical vibe, much more reminiscent of a resort in Bali than a hotel in Mumbai.

Mabruk restaurant seating in the garden.

Among the gardens are some intimate tables, part of the Mabruk restaurant.

Bar at Mabruk restaurant.

Mabruk also offers an outdoor bar close to the ‘lagoon’.

Manuhaar is a great restaurant at the Sahara Star hotel.

Yet another place for a meal within the hotel grounds is Manuhaar.

Wooden walkway to The Lagoon Lounge.

A wooden walkway leads through the amazing gardens to The Lagoon Lounge.

The Bakery Shop sells good pastries.

The Bakery Shop offers an extensive selection of pastries, and is popular for a coffee or tea.

Plush exterior sitting areas around the hotel.

There are several other places to relax with a drink throughout the Sahara Star.

The Earth Plate at the Sahara Star is open round the clock.

One of many restaurants at the hotel, The Earth Plate is open 24 hours.

The Earth Plate serves good breakfast.

The Earth Plate serves a substantial breakfast.

Colorful bar at the Part of The Earth Plate bistro.

Part of The Earth Plate bistro, the colorful bar provides a range of signature cocktails and imported spirits.

Huge collection of wines at Diwine.

Diwine is a world-class lounge (and shop), which claims to offer the city’s largest collection of wines.

The Juvana Spa is connected via the internal path.

The Juvana Spa is also accessible along the internal path that circles the ‘lagoon’ and gardens.

Fitness center at the Sahara Star.

The fitness center also faces the ‘lagoon’ and gardens.

The pool is on the outside of the building.

The pool is adjacent to the main building, not within the internal gardens. A bar is attached.

Tropical island resort-style pool.

The hotel pool is the sort expected at a tropical island resort, but could get crowded quickly.

Sunbeds on the pool deck.

There are some sunbeds at the hotel pool, but probably not enough.

Rooms face the lagoon and garden.

Rooms and suites are layered along six levels, and most face the ‘lagoon’ and gardens.

Modern and comfortable standard rooms.

The standard rooms are, perhaps, not as spacious as hoped, but are certainly comfortable and modern.

The desk offers excellent views of the lagoon and gardens.

A lovely desk faces the full length window. Most rooms and suites look directly across the ‘lagoon’ and gardens, with no other buildings blocking the excellent views.

Small balcony outside each room.

Each room and suite facing inwards features a small but serviceable balcony.

Contemporary bathrooms with bathtubs.

Bathrooms feature a contemporary design, with bathtubs, and are separated by internal windows with blinds.

The Boulevard bistro at The Orchid hotel.

Facilities in the general area are for local workers, not tourists, so the best places to eat outside the Sahara Star are at The Orchid hotel, only 250m away. The Boulevard bistro is open 24 hours.

Classy and vegetarian South of Vindhyas restaurant at The Orchid.

Also at The Orchid, South of Vindhyas is a classy vegetarian restaurant serving authentic Indian cuisine.

The Gourmet Shop in The Orchid's lobby.

Next to the reception desk at The Orchid is The Gourmet Shop, a likable café.

The neighborhood is quiet, clean, and shady.

Streets around the hotel are comparatively quiet, clean, and shady, but there aren’t a lot of facilities nearby of interest to tourists.

Street food outside the hotel gates.

Facing the hotel gates is a lane packed with stalls selling street food.

Auto-rickshaws outside the hotel.

There are plenty of auto-rickshaws and white taxis outside the hotel.

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