Tried & Tested

The Leela Kempinski

1 Feb 2006 by business traveller

What's it like? Opened in 1986, this luxury property plays the dual role of airport hotel and tropical resort. It's set back from the main road amid 11 acres of landscaped gardens, and is 1.5km (a five-minute drive) from the international and 7km (a 20-minute drive) from the domestic terminal. Fortunately, the location of the airport runways means that planes are inaudible from the hotel. It's one of the best members of India's The Leela group whose marketing partner is German hotel firm Kempinski.

Where is it? The Leela is located in north Mumbai's up-and-coming commercial area and export zone. Ninety per cent of guests are on business either visiting local firms or transiting Mumbai. If you have meetings in this area then this is the place to stay rather than battle with Mumbai's infernal traffic for the 25km trip downtown (a trip which can take anything from 60 to 120 minutes).

How many rooms? There are 423 guest rooms. The choicest accommodation faces the gardens and outdoor pool. On the 7th and 8th floors you'll find a Privilege Club with 24-hour butler service and free soft drinks in the minibar.

Room facilities All rooms are equipped with facilities like safes and broadband internet. Guests booking Privilege Club rooms have the use of a lounge with breakfast plus a range of complimentary snacks and drinks offered throughout the day. There's also a free internet terminal within the lounge. Some 300 of the rooms were recently refurbished at a cost of US $50,000 per room. Changes included new air conditioning systems. The remaining 100 or so rooms will undergo the same treatment from April when things quieten down (the hotel's current occupancy is over 90 percent).

Restaurants and Bars Citrus is a large and popular 24-hour brasserie with international cuisine. There are Indian specialties in Jamavar (open for dinner only)and Chinese cuisine in The Great Wall. There are five other lounges and restaurants to choose from.

Business and meeting facilities The hotel has a ballroom that can cater for up to 700, plus five meeting rooms and a 24-hour business centre located just off the lobby.

Leisure facilities There's an outdoor pool, squash courts and a health and fitness centre including sauna, spa bath plus steam room and massage service.

Verdict A relaxing resort hotel ideal for both business and leisure. It's probably the best property for the airport and surrounding area.

Prices Best internet rate for early February was US$165 for regular room and US$185 for a pool-facing room. Add US$10 for breakfast. Executive suites (including breakfast and in-room internet access) cost US$295. Privilege rooms cost US$220 for normal and US$240 for pool views and include executive lounge benefits. The airport meet and greet service and transfers are highly recommended. These cost US$10 per trip for international, US$15 for domestic flights. This service is free for guests booking higher priced rooms (including Privilege) and suites.

Contact The Leela Kempinski, Sahar, Mumbai, tel +91 22 5691 1234, theleela.com.

Alex McWhirter

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