There aren’t many hotels in the world that are as iconic the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. From its very inception the Taj has had an important role to play in the history of Mumbai, with a story around every turn. So how did it come into existence?
As it happens, the city of Mumbai was suffering from the bubonic plague in the late nineteenth century, and with the economy of Mumbai was suffering as well. Jamsetji Tata decided to build the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel not only to restore the image of Mumbai, but also to encourage people to come back to trade.
Built “back-to-front” you can see the original front entrance along the marble flooring from pool-deck. This was not done as an accident, as is commonly believed, but was done for both aesthetic and practical reasons so guests could not only be afforded water views, but also to receive the cool ocean breeze into their rooms to gain respite from the heat of the day.
Over the last hundred-odd years the Taj has seen the building of the Gateway of India (built 21 years later), the first licensed bar in the city (Harbour Bar within the hotel itself), and played an intrinsic part in the life of the city.
Walking through the hotel you can see some of that history. The foyers of the ground floor are lined with photographs of various personalities who have stayed in the hotel, the main staircase in the Taj Mahal palace Hotel where Mountbatten gave his last speech on Indian soil.
To experience a glimpse of the local importance of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, or perhaps show a certain someone how much you love them, you can visit the lucky couch at the Sea Lounge. The lucky couch is booked out well in advance, and is where many arranged marriages are sealed to ensure a happy and successful union.
If you are a fan of the Beatles, like me, there is the opportunity to stay in a room that one of the Beatles stayed in.
On display in the Ravi Shankar Suite is the original sitar that Pandit Ravi Shankar taught George Harrison to play. The room is covered with artifacts and memorabilia from the Ravi Shankar foundation and artworks of painters such as Jamini Roy, Raja Ravi Verma and Raza. There is even a dedicated library with a collection of concert recordings of Pandit Ravi Shankar and George Harrison.
Whether you stay in the Palace or the Tower, the rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel you will be able to experience the fantastic service the Taj has to offer. All the rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel have amazing bedding, generous sized rooms, and soft and cozy bathrobes. An oasis of calm and peace in the middle of a hectic Mumbai.
The Tower Wing, which was built after the Palace building, also allows you perfect views of the Gateway to India from your balcony window.
In the Palace Wing itself you experience the true opulence of the Taj that you would experience as a head of state. Butler service, incredibly large rooms, and even a television in the bathroom so you can unwind after a long day of sightseeing soaking in the tub listening to music.
Yet the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is not just a fantastic place to stay, there are numerous bars and restaurants within the hotel complex including the first licenced bar in Mumbai, Harbour Bar, the first 24 hour restaurant, Shamiana, and Wasabi by Morimoto the number one restaurant in Mumbai according to Sanpellegrino and Acqua Panna Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Whether you stay at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, or just visiting one of the bars or restaurants, you are guaranteed to experience the exemplerary service that is famous at the Taj Hotels. And maybe become a part of history.
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
Apollo Bunder, Mumbai – 400 001
+91 22 6665 3366