WHAT’S IT LIKE? The hotel is a fairly modern building that from the outside looks like so many others around the world. Inside, however, you find a smart five-star hotel with all the facilities a business traveller could need.
Where is it? Well situated in the south part of Mumbai, close to the financial centre and the older business district.
How many rooms? 292 including 20 executive suites.
Room facilities I was staying in a deluxe room; there are 40 of these in the hotel andall have been renovated. It had a dark wooden floor that matched the furniture, and the furnishings were coordinated in beige and green.
My room had a double bed, a huge desk with multi-region power sockets at desk height, a handy cordless phone, plus a modern and very comfortable office chair. There was also a satellite flat-screen TV with surround-sound, a DVD player, minibar, complimentary water, and tea and coffee-making facilities. The room controls were simple and easy to use, with those on the wall and by the bed carefully labelled to allow me to switch off the air conditioning or dim the lights.
For those of us who like to work on our laptops in bed there is even a multi-region socket in the bedside table. If you prefer to sleep there is also an extensive pillow menu. My bathroom was fitted with black and cream marble with chrome finishings. I had no bath but a large power and massage shower. Toiletries are supplied by local firm Biotique.
Standard and executive rooms have not been renovated and have more traditional-style furniture with a mixture of floor coverings (mainly carpets). If you are in a position to choose, go for the deluxe as the other rooms do not have such a good shower or an upgraded TV and sound system; if you prefer baths then the standard is better as deluxe have showers only.
Suites have the same size bedroom and bathroom but have a separate room with TV, sofas and dining table. Six more floors of rooms will have been renovated by summer 2006 and all will be completed in 2007.
Restaurants and Bars All the restaurants and bars are located on the ground floor, off the lobby. The only bar, the Library Bar, was closed for renovation when I visited, but should be open by the time you read this.
The Thai Pavilion serves good food and has an excellent reputation, while the hotel’s 24-hour restaurant Trattoria serves Italian food. At breakfast, a buffet serves a range of items from English to continental plus plenty of Indiandishes, but I wasn’t brave enough to try curry for breakfast.
For local food, Konkan Café serves Indian dishes from the local coastal region. It serves a mixture of curried dishes that are a little lighter than you might expect to find and, as it is coastal food, there is a good selection of fish as well as meat. The quality is good and as you leave you must try the spices wrapped in a leaf which is a great way to freshen your mouth. Another choice in the evenings is the barbecue on the pool terrace level. Finally there is also a coffee shop, Sugar ‘n Spice, which serves snacks.
Business and Meeting facilities The hotel has a number of meeting rooms that can seat from two people up to 600 theatre-style, or up to 800 for a reception. Meeting rooms are located in the business centre, on the banqueting floor or the pool/fitness floors.
Wireless internet access is available across the whole hotel. Access is simple and costs Rs661 (about £9) for 24 hours and can be bought by the hour for about one-third of the price. If you are using this in your room and want to print a document, a handy function is the ability to print using the wireless network. Copies are printed elsewhere in the hotel and delivered to your room within 10-15 minutes at a cost of Rs35(about 50p) per page. A business centre is available 24 hours on the first floor.
Leisure facilities There is an outdoor pool, a gym with cardiovascular and weight machines and some free weights. There are two treatment rooms for massages as well as hydrotherapy and a steam room. A unisex beauty salon also provides hairdressing and treatments such as manicures and pedicures.
Verdict Traffic in Mumbai can be very bad, so if your meetings are in South Mumbai this is a good choice of hotel, but if you are meeting nearer the airport or in North Delhi make sure you choose a hotel there.
Prices Telephone rates for a midweek stay in February started at US$176 for a standard room with city view, US$247 for a deluxe room with sea view,including buffet breakfast, rising to US$275 for a suite, including buffet breakfast. Best available internet rate was US$198 for an executive room with city view, room only.
Contact Taj President, 90 Cuffe Parade, Mumbai, tel +91 22 5665 0808, tajhotels.com.