What : ITC Grand Central
Standards were kept high from the time I landed at the Mumbai airport – from the pick-up to the traditional welcome at the warm ITC Grand Central. It was amazing to see so much of green surrounding this 2.53 acre property, given that Mumbai is known for being cramped.
ITC Grand Central’s architecture draws inspiration from the heritage architecture of old Mumbai. The tower-like exterior of the building is made with a combination of bricks and stones and is topped with a canopy which derives its inspiration from the Bombay Secretariat Building at the Oval.
Mumbai is surrounded by a lot of mills; the British have left beautiful structures to look at and admire. As the colonial architecture is past its heyday, the hotel is working to preserve this part of the city’s history by calling the court yard Mill’s Square.
Hospitality is always number one. I was greeted with a warm good morning every single day (by name, to add that personal touch), which is remarkable in a busy hotel like this. They have 242 guest rooms, perfectly colour toned, to give a business or even a leisure traveller all the luxury they may want.
The Grand Central took me on a tour on my first day there. I got to visit the Gate of India, old Mumbai with its many tales and the UNESCO world heritage site - Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station - once known as the Victoria Terminus.
If you don’t want to go out and about and experience the overcrowded Mumbai, that’s alright, because the art and the architecture of the city have been beautifully rebuilt and recreated inside the hotel. The majestic outlook to the hotel, and the bright yellow flowers that always kept the lobby glowing, made every part of the hotel memorable. Frederick’s Lounge overlooking the garden courtyard is an ode to architect Sir Frederick William Stevens, who designed the Victoria Terminus.
Dining at this hotel, I felt a burst in my tongue. They bring street food to a 5 star atmosphere; I got to taste all that Mumbai had to offer, while in the lap of luxury. I dined at K&K, which is an exclusive Indian restaurant. Exuding warm rustic charm, the interiors of K&K reflects the haunting beauty of North Indian forts. Brass motif engraved wooden entrance, Dholpur stone flooring and carved wooden pillars create a look of rugged earthiness.
Another great dining experience was at the Chinese restaurant - the Shanghai Club. The food was remarkable.
I was always told to look out for the architecture of the city within the hotel premises, so wherever I walked by, I kept my eyes wide open. Sitting at Point of View, which is an exclusive lounge, gave me a 360 degree view of the city and sea. The long glass windows of the lounge took me back to the colonial architecture of the Victoria Terminus.
From here, I drove 45 minutes to ITC Maratha. One thing I wish I could have packed was my luggage was the massage chair in my room.
To be continued.......