Mumbai is a big and bustling metropolis with so many complicated layers. I've been a few times but I feel like I barely know the city. You just need to get out there and pound the pavement at all hours of the day to get a sense of this place. It is one city at daybreak and turns on its head come nightfall. I've listed a couple of hotels and things I did - but this is a drop in the ocean compared to what this city has on offer. You need a lifetime to uncover it!
Where we stayed
Two of my favourite places to stay at in Mumbai are Abode Bombay and the Grande Dame herself, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Both are polar opposite from the other but have their own charms. So go for whichever tickles your fancy! The two hotels are in the same neighbourhood of Colaba. I love this area as it has so much of the old world charm with its crumbling Art Deco buildings, grown over with Banyan trees making their way though walls, and floors and balconies. This area is particularly stunning in the early morning when the city yawns awake and makes for the best morning walk.
Abode is in an unpretentious setting in a heritage building built in 1910. You enter off the street and wind up the stairs to find the entrance to the hotel on the first floor. The rooms fan off an open communal area where the hotel's heart beats. Its a quirky well curated set up with nice added touches found everywhere. It's ideal for the single traveller too.
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, is perhaps THE place to stay in Mumbai. With its doors opening in 190, this hotel has a very rich history. If you want old school luxury with all the bells and whistles then this hotel is for you. It is huge and busy and great for people watching. We ate breakfast overlooking the harbour with the Gateway of India framed by our window. I mean what more can you ask for?!
Where we ate
Street food is king in this city for those who are game. But if not there are hundreds of places to try! From street food to 5 star its hard to go wrong. The very touristy Leopolds is good to see and tick off but don't stop there. A couple of our favourites for a special dinner are Slink and Bardot and Masque.
To get to Slink and Bardot you drive through what appears to be an old fishing area - a bit hard to find but once you do the restaurants gives off an upmarket bistro vibe with a nice bar, lounge and dining area. The food was delicious. Although not strictly Indian sometimes its nice to have a change!
Masque is a bit more "Mumbai scene at its finest". Tasting menus with cocktails to match. I was struggling with a cold and the very kind waiter whipped up some gin based warm cocktail with ginger and honey - tailoring to your every need. It was a little tricked up at times, but the audience loved it! Food theatre in a dark and moody and oh so hip setting.
For a lunch treat and once again for some great people watching, head out to Mumbai's very own Soho House. We ate outside at Cecconi's Mumbai. Oh what a setting. Delicious Italian overlooking Juhu Beach. I can see that I've been trending away from Indian food this trip, but this is what Mumbai offers that Bangalore doesn't... just yet.
Where we walked
Mumbai is said to be a shoppers dream, however I don't feel like I am qualified to even comment on where to begin! There are all the usual suspect such as Good Earth, Nicobar, and the beautifully detailed Anita Dongre but its the smaller places you want to get into. The artsy neighbourhood of Kala Goda is a very safe place to start and wander around in. You will find many boutiques and art galleries and cafes to explore while being sheltered from the chaos of what is Mumbai.