The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India

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Updated: October 8, 2019

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Review of The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India.

The Taj Mahal Palace – Iconic, historic, and majestic: there’s so much to adore.

Revered across the city, this hotel was the site of a major terrorist attack in 2008, but recovered fully to become even better less than two years later. Both wings occupy an entire block facing the harbor in an inner-city suburb which is packed with tourist facilities. Rooms in the 115-year-old building exude so much history and charm, and feature bay windows, elegant furniture, and marble bathrooms. Those in the towering newer wing are more modern but equally refined, and many directly face the sea and the famous Gateway of India monument. All the usual five-star amenities are offered, from the resort-style pool and gardens to the arcades of swanky boutiques. Among a poor choice across Mumbai, it’s also perfect for families. This is one place worthy of a splurge; otherwise, maybe, book a signature High Tea in the afternoon.

The Taj Mahal Palace – The Location

  • Address: There is no real address. Everyone in Mumbai knows it. The main entrance is within the lofty new tower on the corner facing the esplanade. Also, access on foot through the older wing.
  • Area: In a fabulous southern section of the city called Apollo Bunder. Packed with places to eat, drink, and shop. Directly over the road from the sea.
  • How to Get There: From the airport, get a taxi at a pre-paid counter (28km, 1-hour drive; longer during peak times). The iconic CSMT train station is 12 minutes (3km) away.
  • Handy to: Gateway of India. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.

The Taj Mahal Palace – The Basics

  • Guests: Equally divided among business people, government officials, and affluent tourists.
  • Kids Club: Kids at Taj offers a few engaging activities, but there’s no dedicated room with toys or games.
  • Views: Rooms and suites in the newer wing face the sea and Gateway of India or the city streets to the back. Many in the older wing face inwards and overlook the pool and gardens, while a few face the sea but at a lower level, and hence views are more likely to be obstructed.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Not expected (or provided) at this historic inner-city hotel.
  • Extras: Some guests have access to the Palace Lounge and butler service. Heritage Walk through the hotel for guests.
  • Wi-Fi: Available free throughout for all guests.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +91 (0)22 6665 3333
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: tajhotels.com

The Taj Mahal Palace – Amenities

  • Pool: Gorgeous, and surrounded by sections of the older wing. With plenty of shade and sunbeds, it resembles a tropical island resort.
  • Spa: The Jiva Spa is extremely sumptuous and spacious. Offers more than just massages, including signature therapies and traditional treatments. Yoga and meditation also available.
  • Fitness Center: Open 24/7, it’s superbly equipped.
  • For Families: Baby-sitting.
  • Other Facilities: Travel desk. Moneychanger. Laundry. Business Center (open 24 hours). Art Gallery. Arcades of boutiques.

The Taj Mahal Palace – Food and Drink

  • Restaurants: Masala Kraft – Traditional Indian cuisine with a modern twist. Specially-created spices, fascinating old photos, and highly attentive staff. • Wasabi by Morimoto – Renowned contemporary Japanese food. Imported chefs and ingredients make the menu very authentic. • Souk – Stylish rooftop setting for Mediterranean dishes. Popular for Sunday brunch. • Golden Dragon – For award-winning Chinese fare created in the open-plan kitchen. • Shamiana – Open 24/7 for all sorts of Western and Asian food. Casual; more like a coffee shop. • La Patisserie – One of the city’s finest for coffees, cheeses, cakes, and wines. • Aquarius – Alongside the pool for light meals and tropical drinks. For hotel guests only. • Sea Lounge – Exquisite setting overlooking the harbor. Book for the signature High Teas in the afternoon.
  • Bar: Harbour Bar – Very stylish, offering cigars, cocktails, whiskeys, tapas, and snacks, and overlooking the esplanade and sea.
  • Breakfast: Not normally included, but this depends on the room and how it was booked.
  • Room Service: Available 24 hours.

The Taj Mahal Palace – Rooms

  • Room Types: Luxury Rooms • Luxury Grande Rooms (with City Views or Sea Views) • Taj Club Rooms (with City Views or Sea Views) • Executive Suites 1 Bedroom City View • Luxury Suites 1 Bedroom City View • Grande Luxury Suites 1 Bedroom Sea View • Signature Suites • Tata Suite (1-only)
  • Smoking Rooms: Some floors in the newer wings have smoking rooms.
  • Best Room: The 1-only Tata Suite is three times the size of the next largest suite. Almost a museum of old art and furniture, it also offers unparalleled elegance.
  • For Families: Many rooms and suites can easily fit an extra single bed each, while some standard rooms have connecting doors.

The Taj Mahal Palace – Local Transport

  • Walking: Fascinating area for walking, with so many cafés, bars, and shops nearby – often upmarket and in colonial-era buildings. Comparatively quiet and shady streets, and extended footpath along the esplanade which the hotel faces.
  • Public Transport: Nothing of any use to tourists. The Mumbai Metro probably won’t reach this far until about 2025.
  • Taxis & Auto-rickshaws: Plenty of taxis. Use the black-and-yellow ones and insist on using the meter. Rides can also be booked using Uber and Ola apps. No auto-rickshaws in this area.

The Taj Mahal Palace – What’s Nearby?

Restaurants & Bars

    Fabulous choices within 350m in all directions.

  • Le15 Café – Light meals (mostly Western) and world-class coffee and pastries. Up Lansdowne Street from the corner with the tower, away from the sea. 2-minute walk (130m).
  • Leopold Café +91 (0)22 2282 8185 – 150-year-old institution featuring adorable décor, fascinating photos, and clunky fans. Very popular, but slightly overpriced. Entrance easy to miss among market stalls along the main road. One block behind the hotel. 2-minute walk (180m).
  • Indigo Delicatessen – Chic bistro with wooden tables. Ever-changing menu includes sandwiches, ribs, and pizzas, as well as take-away breads and cheeses. One block from the tower, away from the Gateway to India monument. 2-minute walk (190m).
  • Pizza Express +91 (0)22 6656 2633 – Opposite Indigo Delicatessen. Renowned across the city, so it’s always busy. Lovely setting on two levels. 3-minute walk (220m).
  • The Table – Award-winning and very swish, with extended communal tables on the ground floor and more intimate seating upstairs. Haute cuisine and no curries. Just past the Indigo Delicatessen. 3-minute walk (220m).

Shops & Markets

  • As a popular tourist area, there are plenty of shops in the neighborhood. The best range is along the backstreet behind the hotel and along arcades inside the Taj. Tailors and jewelers are a specialty. Sidewalks along Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, one block behind the old wing, are full of market stalls. Especially busy around Leopold Café (see above).

Attractions

  • Directly opposite the hotel, the majestic Gateway of India was built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of the English king. More iconic than interesting, there’s little to see, but the harborside setting is pleasant and the people-watching, fascinating. Boat tours also available. Free entry, and open 24/7. 4-minute walk (350m).

The Taj Mahal Palace – The Hotel

Century-old Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai.

This majestic hotel was first built in 1903 and has recovered fully from the terrorist attacks of 2008.

New wing of the Taj Mahal hotel.

The iconic hotel is divided into two wings. The newer wing towers over everything within eyesight.

Renaissance design is prominent through the hotel.

The Islamic and Renaissance designs are maintained throughout most of the hotel.

Staircases in the old wing are regal.

The rooms and other facilities in the older wing are accessible via plush staircases (and elevators, of course).

Old furniture, photos, and art adorn the corridors.

Every bit of space within the older wing is packed with antique furniture and old photos and art.

Traditional design at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai.

The traditional design of the 115-year-old hotel is apparent throughout, even alongside modern amenities like the pool.

Newer wing lobby has an old-fashioned charm.

The lobby in the newer wing still maintains a lovely old-fashioned feel, although rooms upstairs in the tower are more modern.

Boutiques at the Taj Mahal hotel.

In the two wings, and between both, are an incredible number of boutiques.

Clothes and jewelry boutiques at the Taj Mahal hotel.

The spacious boutiques along the arcades within the hotel mostly sell clothes and jewelry.

La Patisserie at the Taj Mahal hotel is very popular.

At the end of one arcade of boutiques within the hotel, La Patisserie is popular among expats and guests.

The bar at The Wasabi by Morimoto Japanese restaurant.

The Wasabi by Morimoto Japanese restaurant at the Taj features a bar on an upper floor.

Masala Kraft bistro at the Taj Mahal hotel.

Masala Kraft is another classy bistro at the Taj. It offers contemporary Indian cuisine.

Old photos on the walls of Masala Kraft bistro.

The walls of the Masala Kraft bistro are lined with fascinating old photos of the hotel and Bombay (as Mumbai was known).

Colonial-style Harbour Bar at the Taj Mahal hotel.

The Harbour Bar seems to have barely changed since the Raj days of colonial India.

Sea Lounge is popular for afternoon teas.

On the first floor of the old wing, the adorable Sea Lounge offers ocean views and sumptuous afternoon teas.

Aquarius café by the Taj Mahal hotel pool.

The Aquarius café alongside the hotel pool provides a shady terraced setting.

Private tables at the Aquarius café.

Some tables at the Aquarius are particularly private and ideal for a romantic meal.

Swimming Pool at the Taj Mahal hotel.

The pool is as impressive as expected, and located within the grounds of the older wing.

The Taj Mahal Palace provides a wonderful combination of old and new.

Pool deck at the Taj Mahal hotel.

The pool and gardens are the sort expected at a tropical island resort.

Luxurious Jivs Spa at the Taj Mahal hotel.

Extremely luxurious, the Jiva Spa also offers yoga and meditation.

Gateway of India is right opposite the hotel.

The hotel faces the Gateway of India monument, which overlooks the harbor within the inner city.

People-watching at the Gateway of India.

There isn’t much to see and do at the Gateway of India, but watching the other visitors is half the fun.

The neighborhood is peaceful.

This older part of the inner city provides more shade and less traffic than most places in Mumbai.

Le15 Café is popular for its coffees and pastries.

Within a short walk of the hotel, the delightful Le15 Café is renowned among locals for its coffees and pastries.

The historic Leopold Café is also very popular.

The popular Leopold Café is one of few local places exuding any sense of history.

The elegant and classy The Table is close by.

One of the classiest places in the area is The Table, just one block from the hotel.

The swish Indigo Delicatessen is nearby.

Indigo Delicatessen is a swish bistro that also sells takeaway wines, cheeses, and breads.

Pizza Express is located opposite Indigo Delicatessen.

Renowned as one of the finest in the city, Pizza Express is across the road from the Indigo Delicatessen.

Clothes and jewelry shops behind the Taj Mahal hotel.

The streets behind the hotel are lined with shops, mostly selling clothes and jewelry.

The street market behind the hotel is very popular.

More authentic, and certainly more crowded, is the market that packs the footpaths along Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, one block behind the hotel’s old wing.

Metered black-and-yellow taxis are common in the city.

Always use the black-and-yellow taxis. These have meters – and drivers use them without too much fuss.

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