Weekend indulgence at The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai

I have been a member of the Taj Innercircle programme (http://tap.tajhotels.com/reward-programmes/taj-advantage-plus/taplogin.html) since the past decade and every year, Laveena and I make it a point to cash in with our free night stay coupon...

as it makes the already rich and rewarding programme, even more worth it. Indeed it helps being a travel writer and knowing some high up people at the hotel, as the networking results in room upgrades and with the upgrade comes the palace lounge access available to all Taj club and suite guests.

Last weekend, Laveena and I returned to our favourite city hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai. It was the long weekend and while many of our friends darted off to some exotic overseas location, we decided to skip the drive to the airport, the check in, the wait for our flight and the flying itself and instead chose to have a luxury holiday in our home city. Since I had an Amex Platinum Taj reward voucher, we booked for two nights and were upgraded to a fabulous suite for the weekend by Genevieve D'Cunha, who heads the Innercircle programme and is a very dear friend.

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wasabi - mumbai india, hotel taj, taj mahal, indulgence at the taj mahal, mumbaiThe first evening, Laveena and I visited the Palace lounge for cocktails. After interacting with a few guests and engaging in pleasant conversation, we headed to Wasabi and treated ourselves to Chef Morimoto’s signature dishes, the finest Chilean Sea Bass and our favourite Black Cod. At 10 pm, we walked to the lounge for cognac and chocolates and met with a couple from North Carolina who shared with us stories of their experience in our crazily chaotic yet fascinating maximum city of Mumbai. Ed and Ellena had done the ‘Slum Dog Millionaire’ tour, earlier in the day and they said that they absolutely loved it. They said they were mesmerised by the vibrant colours, the cacophony of strange sounds (we guessed that these would have to be the blaring car horns) and the mystical smells of Mumbai, home to over 20 million people.

taj sea lounge breakfast, hotel taj, taj mahal, indulgence at the taj mahal, mumbaiThe next morning, breakfast at the Sea lounge was fantastic. The restaurant manager Pradeep, recommended we skip the orange juice and instead settle for a beetroot, carrot, lime and ginger mix to help revitalise our bodies. He also recommended we try the kheema (minced mutton) with soft pau (bread lightly fried in a buttered pan), with green chillies and onions.taj lounge gateway, hotel taj, taj mahal, indulgence at the taj mahal, mumbaiNot a conventional breakfast, but with the Gateway of India serving as a backdrop and the bobbing sails of boats in the harbour, we relished and savoured every bite of our breakfast which was accompanied with freshly brewed medium roast whole bean coffee. When returning to our room, we found ourselves in the elevator with Maestro Zubin Mehta and his lovely wife Nancy. Hetaj mumbai jiva spa, hotel taj, taj mahal, indulgence at the taj mahal, mumbaihad just checked in and we decided not to bother him for a photograph. We wished him a happy 80th birthday and said that we looked forward to his concert on Wednesday. Later that day we had a couples aroma massage at the Jiva spa. After a swim and a hot shower, we were treated to a 90 minute massage, the expert hands of our therapists, kneading away at our fatigued muscles with just the right amount of tender pressure; their hands softened with the fragrance of oils which smelled of lavender and jasmine.

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house of braganza taj, hotel taj, taj mahal, indulgence at the taj mahal, mumbaiI couldn’t help but think how special it felt to admire the city we were born in, through the eyes of a tourist. So many facts we take for granted, we begin to marvel at when we role play and pretend to be visitors in Mumbai. The Taj history tour we did at 5, was a fascinating walk through the corridors of the past. We were told that the seven islands that came to constitute Mumbai, for centuries were home to communities of fishing colonies.  Mumbai was ceded to the Portuguese and subsequently to the British East India Company when in 1661 King Charles II married Catherine of Braganza. Catherine was born into the House of Braganza, the most senior noble house of Portugal, which became Portugal's royal house after Catherine's father, John, 8th Duke of Braganza, was proclaimed King John IV after deposing the House of Habsburg in 1640. As part of Catherine’s dowry, Charles received the ports of Tangier and seven islands of Bombay. seven island of mumbai, hotel taj, taj mahal, indulgence at the taj mahal, mumbaiDuring the mid-18th century, Bombay was reshaped by the Hornby Vellard project, which undertook reclamation of the area between the seven islands from the sea. Along with construction of major roads and railways, the reclamation project, completed in 1845, transformed Bombay into a major seaport on the Arabian Sea.

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The Taj Mahal palace hotel was a project dreamed up by Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata. J. N. Tata assigned two architects Sitaram Khanderao Vaidya and D. N. Mirza to design the original plans for the Taj Palace. But due to the untimely death of Vaidya the project was assigned to and completed by W. A. Chambers, the man who had designed the Watson Hotel in Mumbai. These architects had worked with F. W. Steven who had designed the Victoria Terminus station, today known as Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus. Similarities are visible as the station architecture is said to have influenced their work. The hotel first opened its doors to guests on 16 December 1903. We were told on the tour that it was a common misconception that the layout of the Taj Mahal Palace was reversed erroneously by the architect and as a result of this blunder, he committed suicide. However this is not true, as The Taj was deliberately designed in such a way that most of the rooms enjoyed a sea view and a well maintained garden was placed at the entrance. taj hotel swimming pool, hotel taj, taj mahal, indulgence at the taj mahal, mumbaiIt was also logical to make the entry and exit gates to the hotel within the city so that it could be easily accessible. The entrance was then reversed to the front side due to growing traffic problems. Originally, the area where the horse carriages parked to drop off guests, is now converted into a swimming pool.

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chef swapnil vankar, hotel taj, taj mahal, indulgence at the taj mahal, mumbaiLunch the next afternoon was at the Golden Dragon. Sous Chef Swapnil Vankar cooked up our favourite stir fried prawns with ginger and scallions, sliced lamb in black bean chilli, dry cooked haricot beans with a touch of soya and the stir fried burnt garlic and chicken rice. Mr. Shrenik Shah, a reader of my blog was also at lunch and walked up to our table and introduced himself. He said, he enjoyed our travels and recognised us from our pictures. Since travel writing is a hobby, it is always encouraging to receive comments from those who follow my blog. I promised Mr. Shah that I would be writing again soon.

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Laveena and I returned to our room and briefly napped in the afternoon. Before indulging in the hi-tea at the palace lounge, we spent some time on the swing in the foyer by the pool, admiring the stunning architecture of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. There is so much we take for granted at this hotel, so many of us know so well. While on the swing we noticed the mustard coloured ceiling with intricate white art like design panels within a rectangular border. Fans with leaf like arms and pretty brass and glass lamps with candle lights decoratedthe ceiling. The foyer was surprisingly empty and we enjoyed this moment of quiet and solitude, in a hotel we have both grown to love so much. With a wide choice of restaurants, Mumbai’s 1st licensed bar (The Harbour Bar) and views which will leave you spell bound, a weekend at the Taj Mahal Palace is an absolute must do and it comes with the highest 5 star recommendation from us.

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The Taj Mahal Palace (Mumbai)
• Location: Google Maps • Address: Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001 • Hotel website: The Taj Mahal Palace
Our Rating
  • Location: 9/10
  • Food and Cuisine: 9/10
  • Design: 8/10
  • Rooms: 8/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Overall experience: 8/10

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26 comments on “Weekend indulgence at The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai”

renu basu says :
21 Apr 2016 22:14 IST
Thank you Sajjid and Laveena
Shrenik shah says :
01 Sep 2016 15:08 IST
It was indeed delightful surprise to see you in person whose blogs I admire. Always looking forward to another piece
Alric says :
25 Apr 2016 12:54 IST
Taj Mahal palace in Mumbai is the best 5-star hotel. The hospitality is excellent. I too rate this hotel 5 out of 5!
Anand Kumar says :
27 Apr 2016 04:39 IST
I noticed the architectural similarities of Shivaji Terminus and his hotel after you mentioned it, particularly the dome on the top. I have never been to Shivaji Terminus but it passes by on my way home. Coming back to the hotel, I have tried the Kheema Pau as well and it is very delicious. I trust Pradeep’s recommendations. He has never been wrong. Every time when I go there I try something different.
Sofia F. says :
10 May 2016 06:18 IST
I am a huge fan of Chef Marimoto’s cooking. I love the Miso Soup, Negi Toro Maki. Spicy Angel Shrimp is my favourite.
Nasser says :
22 May 2016 06:39 IST
Taj Mahal Palace is probably the most iconic Taj hotel. Opposite the regal Gateway of India, I have always loved staying here and like you, I find the Taj InnerCircle a delightful program for loyal patrons.
Jyoti says :
27 May 2016 05:00 IST
Being a Mumbai resident, I’ve never felt the need to book a room at the Taj Mahal Palace but I dine at Wasabi and Golden Dragon from time to time. After reading your blog, I feel even I should plan a ‘weekend indulgence’ at the Taj. Thank you the inspiring write-up!
Manisha Garg says :
29 Mar 2019 15:55 IST
Taj Mumbai is one of the best locations & hotel of Mumbai. No wonder you had a fab & delightful experience. Must visit
travelmango says :
29 Mar 2019 16:58 IST
In reply to Manisha Garg
Thank you Manisha! And yes it's a must visit Hotel.
Snehal says :
29 Mar 2019 18:56 IST
Thanks for taking us to the Taj Palace with you. 😍 It is one of the hotels which is on my bucket list. 😊
travelmango says :
03 Apr 2019 11:36 IST
In reply to Snehal
I am glad you enjoyed reading this article.
Jhilmil says :
30 Mar 2019 07:21 IST
This is one weekend indulgence which we all should plan to experience the real luxury and pamper our heart, body and mind.
travelmango says :
03 Apr 2019 11:40 IST
In reply to Jhilmil
Yes Jhilmil, its a must visit place.
Noor Anand Chawla says :
30 Mar 2019 09:56 IST
The Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai is an icon of luxury and excellence in hospitality. I’ve visited it many times but have not stayed there yet.
travelmango says :
03 Apr 2019 11:48 IST
In reply to Noor Anand Chawla
You will love and enjoy the ambience. Do visit once.
Yogita Amit Joshi says :
30 Mar 2019 20:31 IST
I heard alot about Taj Mumbai and your article intrigued me to visit this place. I am planning my trip to Mumbai and will surely add visiting Taj Palace to my itinerary.
travelmango says :
03 Apr 2019 11:50 IST
In reply to Yogita Amit Joshi
Sure Yogita.
Charu Chittwal says :
30 Mar 2019 22:04 IST
I have been to take Mahal palace once but it was approx a decade ago the service they provide is something still something that I miss in a lot of hotels. Loved the Blog, I felt as if I was roaming again in this beautiful property ❤️🙌
travelmango says :
03 Apr 2019 11:51 IST
In reply to Charu Chittwal
Thank you Charu
Papri Ganguly says :
30 Mar 2019 22:50 IST
What a place to stay. Love the ambiance and food. Everything looks so luxurious and royal. Can't get enough of this post.
Purva says :
30 Mar 2019 23:14 IST
Taj has some amazing properties all over the world. I love the Jiva spa experience. Hope to visit this hotel sometime.
Shub says :
31 Mar 2019 00:21 IST
Taj is Taj! Always the best and always so trusted. I am a Mumbaikar and have always loved to visit Taj and stay there whenever got a chance. Amazing pics and fun experience!
Snigdha Prusti says :
31 Mar 2019 04:09 IST
Taj Mahal palace, Mumbai looks like heaven to stay or enjoy. The interior and overall view is beyond beautiful..
travelmango says :
03 Apr 2019 11:35 IST
In reply to Snigdha Prusti
Snigdha, you must visit Taj Mahal Palace I am sure you will love the experience.
Deepa Shri Rajan says :
31 Mar 2019 18:58 IST
Wowww this is such a sooper cool read for me. I can totally imagine how much fun it could have been with a view of Gateway. Am so happy to see you having fun and indulging into this beautiful experience these kinda indulgence is a must then and there
travelmango says :
03 Apr 2019 11:30 IST
In reply to Deepa Shri Rajan
Thank you Deepa


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Travelling the World with Laveena and Sajjid Mitha

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Travelmango is a highly refined, luxury travel blog which is actively followed by over 50,000 HNIs from across South Asia and the Middle East.
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