The most wonderful rooftop bar with a stunning panorama of the city skyline, the racetrack, ocean, and Haji Ali mosque. Aer Bar attracts a glamorous clientele of fashionable Mumbaikars and awe struck tourists.
Aer Bar is a rooftop bar with the most amazing panoramic views of Mumbai: its skyscrapers, racetrack, ocean and Haji Ali mosque.
114, Four Seasons Hotel, 34th Floor, Dr E Moses Marg, Worli, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400018, India
+91 22 2481 8000
Google map: bit.ly/YCL9HG
Like an ornate old world cathedral, this monumental representation of Gothic-revival architecture—complete with turrets, lancet windows, gables, high arches, elaborate porches, decorative corbels, and jutting gargoyles—stands aloof from its flock, cut off by six lanes of shrieking traffic. A superb example of British nineteenth-century design, the UNESCO-listed building rivals St. Pancras station and pays homage to Notre Dame. The Victoria Terminus (which took ten years to complete) was opened in 1887, Queen Victoria's golden jubilee year, when it was also given her name. It sheltered the delicate wives and daughters of the Raj as they passed through its porticoes, in buttoned-up layers of silk and guipure, on their way to the cool refuge of a mountain hill station. Today's elegant Mumbaiker women use the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus for their daily commute. Gliding by in exotic embroidered saris, acres of fine gold, glittering embellishment, and precious jewellery, they mirror the elaborate finish of the walls and columns that hold up this masterpiece.
Mumbai CST Area, DN Road, Mumbai, India
Google map: bit.ly/KDbfoi
Mumbai is pretty theatrical itself, but I discovered the Prithvi when staying with a friend in the suburb of Juhu. It's a small but friendly theatre that offers a place of calm and respite away from the madness and sensory overload of Mumbai. It calls itself 'a vital breathing space' and this couldn't be more true!
It's not the Taj, but it's spotless, comfortable, quiet (a blessing!) and very close to the airport. If you have an early morning flight, check in here the night before rather than drive to the airport for three hours on your last day. Good breakfast, too.
- Stay at the ITC Grand Central (although it's kind of removed) in the Towers. You can use Starwood points
- Check out the Ellora Caves on Elephanta Island
- Buy a Thailand Tatler
- Stop by Dhobi Ghat. Be prepared for some interactions
- See Haji Ali Dargah
- Go next door to the Mahalaxmi Temple (and bring socks)
- Shop at Bombay Electric if you want fashionable clothing and price is no object
- Lunch at Not Just Jazz by the Bay
- Enjoy evening cocktails on the deck of The Intercontinental
- Visit the Jain temple near Malabar Hill
ITC Grand Central:
Not Just Jazz by the Bay:
Information on many of the tourist spots is available on Wikipedia:
Green spaces, clean air, tranquility and not a sky scraper in sight - surely we're not talking about Mumbai (Bombay)?
Located in the northern end of the crowded, over-populated, polluted island city of Mumbai is the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. A 104 sq km island of greenery in the urban jungle. Instead of being harassed by street vendors you get monkeys chasing after you for a snack or spotted deer obstructing your path.
Deep within the park are the Kanheri Buddhists caves which were carved out by Buddhists monks between the 6th and 11th century AD. The near absence of visitors allows you to take your time and comfortably view the detailed rock carvings of Buddha.
You can easily find the national park and the caves in the northern suburb of Borivali - about 90 mins drive from south Mumbai or you can organise a private pick up and a tour with reality tours which'll cost you Rs 4000.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park is in the suburb or Borivali. Bombay's roads can be a minefield for visitors - take a taxi or even better take a private tour with Reality tourshttp://www.realitytoursandtravel.com/
Google map: tinyurl.com/y9vmesj
As a tourist, I got a lot of hassle in India from rickshaw drivers, shopkeepers, hotel owners and general touts. The best thing I ever did was to learn to say 'I don't want it', 'Go away' and 'That's too expensive' in Hindi. It makes people stop hassling you faster than anything you could say in English, possibly because it shows that you're not a brand-new arrival to India. Also good is to learn 'my name is...' which gets a great response from local people rather than just replying in English.
Get a phrase book or (better) get someone to teach you when you arrive.
If you spill something down your suit on the first day, then Burlington’s in the mall at the Taj Mahal Hotel will make you a very reasonable tailor-made suit overnight.
Taj Mahal Hotel www.tajhotels.com
Indigo Colaba: +91 22 5636 8999
The new place for doing business is the Bandra Kurla Complex; the Grand Hyatt is five minutes away and is very good, with an Italian restaurant that serves excellent pizza. The area’s a bit grungy but the hotel has its own ten-acre plot and once inside it has everything you’d want – including faxes in the rooms and Wi-Fi.
There’s a restaurant called Indigo Colaba, which is just adjacent to the business district of Nairman Point, and it serves very good European food with pan-Asian influences and has a lovely ambience. It’s very popular, so get your hotel to book you a table.
In India, when you hire a car you automatically get a driver included - which is a very good idea as I personally would not recommend driving in such a hectic town, especially if you're used to northern European/US traffic.
This is an ideal way to get from meeting to meeting, as the driver is at your disposal all day and will come and go as you require. It also works out to be a cheaper alternative to booking individual taxis, especially if your company has a set rate with a particular hire car company.
Major hire car companies such as Hertz, Avis, etc.
Be careful at Mumbai airport because porters will load your bags on to trolleys the minute you have your back turned and then charge you for the privilege. If you do want a porter it is always best to negotiate the price beforehand.
For the best, fresh Indian food, try Mahesh Lunch Home on the Juhu Road. You can choose your own (huge) live crab and have it cooked in whatever way you like. All their fresh fish is fantastic. It's also very reasonably priced. You'll find it 100-200 yards from the JW Marriott, Juhu as you turn left out of the hotel.
Juhu Road, Juhu, Mumbai
If you're a member of a club back in London, check to see if it has a reciprocal with the Royal Bombay Yacht Club - if not, try blagging! Food and bar is very cheap - really nice views of the bay and it's got a 'last days of the Raj' feel to it.
If you're just in Mumbai for the day, passing through, stay at the Leela. It's a good five-star hotel two minutes from the international airport. Mumbai is a fantastic city but traffic can be a problem so if you don't have to journey into her, don't.
I've stayed in the Taj Hotel and even on business expenses, the non-Indian spirit prices are totally disproportionate to the food/other drinks. Find a local off license and buy Honey Bee Indian brandy. Not only is it cheap and delicious, it also stops any bad tummies - four trips to India and I can vouch for this. It also has the most fabulous retro label which I hope they never change!
A blast from the British past - this Parsi cafe in the heart of Bombay's fort area not only serves excellent and cheap Parsi food, but is a relic from the days of the Raj. It caters to the needs of the office workers at lunchtime and tends to be very busy. No tourists to be seen here! The traditional patra ni macchi (a fish dish) is a must. For mains I had the lamb dhansak (not quite the same as what we get in Britain!) which is a delicious dish of lamb flavoured with apricots. Don't expect five-star service! This is a no frills place for the locals which serves up food that you'll struggle to find anywhere else in the world! Recommended for all you foodies out there.
Off Horniman circle, Opp State Bank, Fort, Bombay 400 023. It's a bit hard to find, ask the cabbie to take you to the front of the Bombay Stock exchange (BSE), right opp the entrance to the BSE you will see a lane called Green Lane - you'll find Jimmy Boys at the bottom of Green Lane. tel - (022) 2270 0880/ 2266 2503
If you're travelling in India it's a good idea to wear khadi. This is the name for hand-spun and hand-woven cotton. It was a symbol of Gandhi's independence movement. But more importantly for the visitor it's the most comfortable thing you can wear in this country when the temperature rises.
Ready-made khadi shirts and trousers (kurta/pyjama) can be purchased at branches of KVIC/Khadi Bhavan (found in most cities).
Or better still, take the time to buy a length of cloth and get your clothes tailored. Anybody you ask will be able to recommend a good tailor.
It's a fun thing for the family to do and will keep everybody cool, comfortable and happy in the heat.
Wear tailored khadi in India and you'll all feel much more at home.
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