Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai – a unique experience

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A night at the Taj Mahal Palace heritage hotel, is more like a themed experience than just a night’s nice accommodation.  From the hope of a possible upgrade, to the showmanship of Viren, on the heritage tour of the hotel’s history, to just enjoying the ambiance of  a hotel with such an iconic place in Mumbai’s identity, it’s all great fun.

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Also, the longer spent there, the more you find a genuine commitment to the personal needs of guests, which is truly lovely.

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The downsides are the significant cost and also a reluctance to leave the hotel and miss out on anything. It deserves full attention, so best timed after major sightseeing.

Rooms start at about $AUS 254 (Sat/Sun) for a city view in the newer Tower Wing.

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While this might miss out on some of the atmosphere of the older historic Palace Wing (Luxury Grande Rooms start at $AUS 396 (Sat/Sun)for a city view), the older rooms are limited by the era in which they were built and are quite small.

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Club Room

Paying more for a sea view of the Gateway to India ($436 (Sat/Sun)for a Luxury Grande Sea View Room in the Palace Wing), might sound good, but there is no balcony or floor length window to really enjoy it.

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The best parts of the hotel i.e. delicious breakfast by the pool, heritage tour, colonial architecture, history, sense of style, pool and luxurious atmosphere can just as easily be enjoyed when staying in the cheaper rooms. The Taj is very well located for Colaba Eateries (Olympia Coffee House, Bademiya as well as Leopold’s Cafe and Indigo Deli if you’re looking for Western foods) and enjoying the surrounding heritage architecture close by, like the Gateway of India, Royal Bombay Yacht Club, Dhunraj Mahal, Regal Cinema, Sailors Home (now Maharashtra Police Headquarters), Regal Cinema, Majestic Hotel, National Gallery of Modern Art, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum (formerly ‘Prince of Wales Museum’).

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If you do decide to lash out for a Palace Wing Room, consider paying a little more ($AUS475 Sat/Sun) for a city view Club Room (includes airport pickup) on a high floor, with not only Palace Lounge Privileges (all day tea/coffee and biscuits, but also Club Room privileges of  high tea 3:30-5:30pm, cocktails and hor d’oevres (6:30-8:00pm), cognac/Bailey’s/Kalua and chocolates (9:30-10:30pm), butler service, early check in (9:00am) and late check out (6:00pm – can just squeeze in one more high tea!). (See what I mean about, needing your full attention!).

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Make the most of the weekend (Sat/Sun) rate.

But a much cheaper alternative, to still get a sense of what all the fuss is about is to visit for a full, elaborate high tea (3:30-7pm) in the Sea Lounge  that includes Mumbai street food delicacies like bhel puri, sev puri, and pani puri (for about $AUS 27 per person).

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