Many people have heard about the famous Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India but did you know there is another Taj in Mumbai? I know it very well; The Taj Lands End was home for me for around 18 months when I first moved to Mumbai. With magnificent views of the Arabian Sea, and less touristy than its more famous sibling, the Taj Lands End offers beautifully appointed rooms and suites, excellent dining options, and of course the legendary Taj hospitality. I believe this hotel is an excellent base to explore Mumbai, but let me tell you more.
The Taj Lands End is located in Bandra, a city famous for its Bollywood connections. With over 400 rooms, including 33 suites, the Taj Lands End is one of the largest hotels in Mumbai. Its central location allows easy accessibility to the domestic and international airports, the local business districts including the Bandra-Kurla complex, and the spectacular Rajiv Gandhi Sea-Link bridge. Bandra is a vibrant location to explore. Just outside the hotel is the Bandstand promenade, a kilometer long walkway where you can get excellent photos of the old Fort, the SeaLink bridge, and a perfect place to people watch. Very popular with the locals, especially at sunset, take a walk along the promenaded to get a feel of what Mumbai offers visitors.
There are a variety of rooms and suites available for guests at the Taj Lands End hotel. Guests can select to stay on a smoking or non smoking floor, in a suite that offers 24 hour butler service, or one of the rooms on the top floors of the hotel that provide exclusive access to the Taj Club Lounge. My own stay was in one of the Luxury Suites on the Taj Club level.
With over 950 square feet, my suite comprised of a living room/dining room combination, a small kitchen, and a bedroom with a king sized bed and en-suite bathroom, complete with dressing area. The rooms are decorated in a modern design with light colored furnishings contrasting nicely with the dark wood on the floors, and a wall of mirrors that adds to the feeling of spaciousness.
Daily deliveries of fruit, fresh flowers, and chocolates are just a few of the luxurious appointments. A variety of magazines and morning papers are provided daily. Large flat screen televisions are fitted on the walls in the living room and bedroom, with an additional television built into the wall in the bathroom! Free wifi, dvd players with surround sound, and dual line telephones with data capabilities are also provided.
Other suite amenities include: in room electronic safe, mini bar, plush bathrooms, amenities kit that includes a variety of bathroom accessories, lighted make up mirror, hair dryer, and bathroom scales. Add to this the 24-hour in-room dining service and the ability to make just about any reasonable request of your appointed butler, and you truly are in the lap of luxury.
The Taj staff really do try their best to ensure that your every need is not only met, but also exceeded, and they are probably one of the hotels greatest assets. If you are looking for things to do outside of the hotel then the knowledgeable concierge staff, located at the first floor lobby counter, can give you plenty of local information including booking tickets for various tours with reputable guides. However, the hotel has many amenities that can keep you busy.
Fitness center – The hotel has a fitness center that remains open 24 hours a day (and let’s just say I have used the facility at very odd hours when jet lag has struck) with trainers available from 6am to 11pm daily. The gym has a variety of cardio vascular machines, a range of strength training equipment, and an area for stretching. A sauna, steam room, and changing room complete with lockers are available for use at the adjacent spa. There is no additional charge for the use of the fitness center.
Jiva spa – Rooted in India’s ancient approach to wellness, the spa provides a variety of treatments and therapies including deep tissue massage Rs 4000+, Indian aromatherapy Rs 3500+, and body wraps Rs 2600+. The spa is open daily from 8am until 9pm. Booking is recommended. Body treatments are also offered in-room at an additional charge.I love the ritual of cleaning your feet before a massage begins. At the end of the massage a flower garland is given as a gift and a cup of sweet tea or cold water given to refresh you and bring you back to the real world.
Outdoor pool and bar area – There is an outdoor pool with Jacuzzi and separate children’s area. Attendants are on hand to ensure fresh towels and cooled bottles of water are at the ready. The adjacent bar offers a variety of snacks and a full bar service. Watch out for the local birds as they are quite good at grabbing any food that might be left unattended on your table. I have never really seen the pool area busy and on quite a few occasions I had this little oasis all to myself. One word of warning though, if the wind is blowing in the wrong direction, the aromas from the sea can be a little eye watering.
Shops at the Taj – If you are looking for a little retail therapy then the hotel provides two in-house shops. The Taj Khanza sells a variety of silver and bronze artifacts, saris, shawls, and jewelry and is open from 10am to 9pm daily. The Louis Vuitton store on the lobby level offers a variety of the luxury brands products and is open from 11am to 9pm daily.
Business Centre and Conference Facility – Guests can reserve any of the five private meeting rooms that are operational 24 hours a day. Modern video conferencing facilities, photocopying, wifi, secretarial and translation services are also available. My husband and his colleagues have used this facility on quite a few occasions and found it very useful to have all the facilities in one convenient location.
The Taj Club – This was my favorite part of being a guest at the Taj. The 21st floor lounge offers a private area where guests can enjoy breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening cocktails with snacks. Club level guests can utilize the express check in and check out facility, and are offered an early check in time of 9am and check out of 6pm. I would highly recommend booking a Club level room or suite at the Taj. I still miss my afternoon coffee and snacks and the welcoming face of Tyson or Ronnie.
There are four main restaurants at the Taj, plus the Atrium lounge.
Ming Yang – consistently ranked as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Mumbai, the Ming Yang recently reopened following a major facelift (see my review on the blog next week for all the details). Bookings are recommended, as it does get quite busy especially on weekends. Smart casual is the attire for the daily lunch and dinner service. My favorite dishes are the delicious dim sum, and the best hot and sour soup I have ever tried.
Massala Bay – contemporary Indian cuisine is cooked in front of you in the interactive theatre kitchen. The extensive menu takes a little time to read but we usually ask the wait staff to recommend their best selections, and have never been disappointed. The restaurant also offers three separate private dining areas that can accommodate various sized groups. We have enjoyed entertaining small groups in this restaurant many times and look forward to returning soon.
Maritime by San Lorenzo – Italian favorites such as Risotto Gamberi e Zucchini and Spaghetti Schillaci are prepared from fresh ingredients that stay true to their original recipes. Two Italian trained chefs take charge of the kitchen and offer a variety of dishes including vegan and vegetarian options. With 64 Italian wines and a Prosecco Bar within the restaurant, you can understand why this is a favorite place of mine.
Vista – this 24hour contemporary café serves up large buffet style dining options alongside an a-la-carte menu. Indian, western, and Chinese cuisine is offered. I have always found this restaurant a little too hustle and bustle for my liking, but it does offer a convenient option if you want a more causal and speedy dining alternative. The weekend buffet breakfasts are extremely popular.
Atrium lounge – a daily high tea is one of the specialties at the Atrium lounge. A large cocktail menu, extensive tea and coffee menu, plus a variety of light fare food options including sushi and sandwiches are on offer. Live music from a pianist and a jazz band in the afternoon and evening hours adds to the ambiance of this lounge. Located on the lobby level of the hotel, the lounge is open daily from 8am to 12am. The Atrium lounge is a great place to meet up with friends or enjoy a drink before visiting one of the restaurants.
Staying for an extended period of time at a hotel really does give you the opportunity to witness what a hotel does best, but also to see a few flaws that the average guest would probably never notice. I believe that the management at the Taj is always looking for ways to improve, and make each guests experience the best possible. Whenever I return to the Taj, for dinners or meetings, I am greeted warmly by familiar faces and feel that I am now part of the extended Taj family. I would strongly recommend that you visit the Taj Lands End, or one of the many other luxury Taj properties scattered around the globe to sample their legendary hospitality for yourself.
The hotel produces a pdf fact sheet available to download here
Address: Bandstand, Bandra West, Mumbai 400050, India
Phone: +91 22 6668 1234, 1 800 111 825