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Our resident celebrity hotel hopper, Josh Flagg, star of Bravo's Million Dollar Listing recently completed a trip to India. One of the stops on his luxury hotel itinerary? The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai which has rebounded incredibly well after 2010's terrorist attack. Here's his elevator review of the place:
If the English dictionary had one picture to describe the word sophistication, The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai would be upfront and center. Few hotels in the world really hit that nail on the head. The George V in Paris, The St. Regis in New York, The Peninsula Hong Kong all have it down, and now that I have stayed in the Taj Mumbai, I realize why it has stood the test of time.
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: being the tallest or highest hotel in the city / country / world is a much coveted label (hello, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai!), and if that means killer views can be had, we’re not complaining.
This time next year, Mumbai will have a new contender for its highest hotel title, when The Aayu Mumbai opens on the top five floors of Kohinoor Square’s Central Tower, the tallest commercial building in the city.
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We have been spending so much time on cocktail culture (well, it has been a rough few months), we figured we should be a little more balanced with our beverage coverage.
We started a bit by paying some attention to another one of our favorite pasttimes--afternoon tea. That can mean a simple cuppa for some of you--a jolt of caffeine to carry you through the day, or for more leisurely sorts, a more elaborate weekend high-tea filled with all sorts of yummy delights. We want to focus on that one--so much more fun, yes?
Now that chillier climates prevail in many parts of the country, the call for afternoon tea is in full demand and these hotels put out what we think are mighty fine spreads. We’ve seen quite a few people duck in to a hotel around the 4’o clock hour and chill over a demitasse of Darjeeling, a curried-chicken finger sandwich, and a jam-filled tart. We heartily approve.
Just remember, pinkie's up!
Oooo! That got us excited as the W there is expected to open in the futuristic Namaste Tower (above) Yet when we checked on the hotel's website, it's opening date is not listed until July 2015. Ok. Obviously W and us have very different definitions of "opening soon."
W Hotels is playing a serious game of "Around the World" having just announced a W Hotel in Mumbai due to open July 2015. While Starwood Hotels kept mum on any other plans for the 350-room hotel, DNA India has the scoop on the location:
The property is part of an iconic mix-use development christened ‘Namaste Tower’. The construction site is the erstwhile Ambika Mills land parcel located a few hundred metres south of another soon-to-open luxury hotel, Shangri-La, atop the luxury retail mall Palladium at High Street Phoenix at Lower Parel.
The Namaste Tower design is actually meant to reflect the namaste yoga gesture where two wings of the hotel are clasped together like hands greeting the city of Mumbai. Ommmm....
Meanwhile, the W Mumbai already has its own website. Disappointingly there is no mention of "Bollywood cool." Hope they fix that copy up right quick.
Yesterday was India's Independence Day so it was a fitting day to welcome back the Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai, which reopened its Palace Wing yesterday. This part of the beloved hotel had been closed since the terrorist attacks of November 2008, which killed 166 people and also hit Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, a railway station and a cafe.
The Tower Wing of the hotel has been open for more than a year but now, with $37 million worth of renovations, the Palace Wing is now back in business as well. Part of the restoration project included work on the Taj's extensive art collection, which has been painstakingly restored for the reopening—with over 300 important pieces now hanging in the banquet hall, the lounge, and a bar off the main lobby.
Nearly 18 months after the terrorist attacks, the Oberoi Mumbai reopened on Saturday. Not even the volcano stopped proceedings (although it meant the European contingent couldn’t make it over for the do).
According to the press release:
The hotel has been transformed and will now offer a contemporary, luxurious ambience.
The new pictures do look gorgeous – especially the rooms that look out over the water. The only thing is that, for a business hotel, we’re pretty taken aback by the glass-walled bathrooms (lovely to look at the sea from the bath; not so nice to have your colleague in between).
One of the hotel's new restaurants. We’re thinking Ziya, presided over by a Michelin-starred chef
It’s been nearly 18 months since the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, but while the Taj reopened pretty quickly, the Oberoi has been closed to be completely gutted and transformed. And finally, it’s been announced, it’ll reopen April 24.
According to the press release:
The Oberoi Group’s luxury hotel on Marine Drive in South Mumbai has been completely transformed to offer fresh contemporary interiors, new facilities and the latest technology.
All guest rooms and suites have been renovated, and include spacious marble bathrooms.
She stayed at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, which reopened last December after the devastating terrorist attacks, and had a party thrown for her by Bollywood actress Neha Dhupia at the Vie Lounge bar on Juhu Beach. According to the Daily Mail, she “fitted right in with India’s fashion elite.” Wonder if she cracked out the guitar as well?
Having gone down a storm and impressed everyone with her henna tattoo and bindi, she left Mumbai for London yesterday. We’re not jealous. Really.
[Photo: Daily Mail UK]
It's a couple of months now since the terrorist attacks and, two weeks later, an accidental fire, caused havoc for the poor Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai. We figured it was time to check in on this Taj and see if it's really up and running again.
And it looks like, just as they promised, the Taj Mahal Palace reopened the rooms of the Tower Wing plus the restaurants, banquet hall and chambers on December 21. That's a pretty impressive at just 24 days after the attacks.
A brass and bronze sculpture named the "Tree of Life" which was already on display in the hotel has now been turned into a memorial to the 31 people who died at the Taj during the terrorist attacks, with their names inscribed at its base.
Since the reopening there hasn't been too much gossip amongst guests; a traveler who stayed there a week after the reopening said it was "good to see things starting to buzz again albeit a bit quietly". But hey, we can understand being a bit quiet about things there.
Yesterday, both of the five-star Mumbai hotels attacked by terrorists in November the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and Tower and the Oberoi reopened to guests. The swift repair and re-opening of the hotels were meant to serve as a symbol of hope and restoration for the city of Mumbai, which has been devastated by the attacks that claimed more than 170 lives.
According to an LA Times report, the Taj re-opened only its tower wing yesterday, as the Palace wing (which houses the restaurant, where some of the worst fighting took place) could take more than a year to completely repair. From the Times:
The Taj marked the occasion with a grand party in its tower featuring Bollywood stars and other local celebrities, several of whom took to the podium to offer their own heartfelt homage to those who died in the attacks.
Meanwhile, the Oberoi held an afternoon prayer service with religious leaders from eight denominations to mark the re-opening (only one of the two hotel buildings in the complex opens to the pubic, as the other still has a few months of repairs ahead).
When we headed over to the hotel's own website to see if they'd updated their news page with details about the blaze (they hadn't), we learned a bit more about the efforts that have been underway since officials announced that they'd be working to get the iconic hotel restored as quickly as possible:
In addition to the recovery of guest possessions and luggage from those parts of the hotel where safety conditions allow, specialist teams have already begun clearance of damaged fittings, rubble and furniture.
Everyone involved in the work is motivated by a single-minded determination that the hotel will shine again in tribute to the people who fell during the terrorist attacks on the city of Mumbai. But the rebirth of the hotel does not simply involve bricks and mortar. Ministers and clerics of seven religions will also be contributing services and ceremonies of blessing and benediction.
Hopefully, this fire won't cause any major setbacks in their efforts to rebuild and recover.
[Photo: EPA/STR via Guardian]