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Taj Palace- An agenda in itself: Submitted by: Krishnamrutam | Date Added: 24 Nov 2015
Listed in: Destinations / India - West India Synopsis

Taj Palace, Mumbai hospitality that lingers in mind for months and I enjoy some privileges that comes with being a regular in this Edwardian Hotel which is in the heart of the Island City, very close to the Gateway of India, in the White City of Mumbai. What is a White City? You have to ask those who know Mumbai. The iconic Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel was built in 1903 and has accommodated everyone from royalty to common folk. Its structure is striking and has many chandeliers, archways, domes, and turrets. As far as luxury hotels in Mumbai are concerned, the Taj Palace & Tower is in a league of its own. The hotel is an unsurpassed architectural marvel that brings together Moorish, Oriental and Florentine styles. It also offers fabulous panoramic views over the Arabian ocean and Gateway of India.

The Taj Palace & Tower Location: The hotel has a prime position on the waterfront opposite the Gateway of India, in Colaba. It's very handy to Mumbai's business and commercial areas, as well as tourist attractions. If you're looking to stay at a luxury hotel that's centrally located for sightseeing, this is the one! The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower was built by the Parsi industrialist JN Tata after he was allegedly barred from Mumbai's British-owned hotels for being 'a native'. The old building is a magnificent example of colonial 'hybrid' architecture, with subtle period-style rooms and glorious views over the city, the ocean and the Gateway of India. Rooms are equally luxurious in the modernist Taj Tower, which offers even better views but less in the way of period charm. Service runs to free afternoon cocktails and a complimentary bottle of wine in your room. The hotel also boasts several of Mumbai's best restaurants, an exclusive shopping arcade, a popular beauty centre, a famous nightclub and a luxury yacht, which playboys and tycoons can charter by the hour.1903 grande dame with dramatic interiors?vaulted ceilings; silk carpets; onyx columns?overlooking the 85-foot-high Gateway of India. The Heritage Wing is reopening in March 2010 after the attack.The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower is a prestigious luxury five star hotel located in the Colaba region of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, next to the Gateway of India. Part of the Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces, this iconic 105-year old heritage building retains its stature as the flagship property of the group and contains 565 rooms. From an historical and architectural point of view, The Taj Mahal Palace and the Tower are two distinct buildings, built at different times and in different architectural designs.

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The hotel has hosted a long list of notable guests including The Beatles, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Bill Clinton, Jacques Chirac, The King & Queen of Norway, The Duke & Duchess of Kent, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, Roger Moore, Joan Collins, Mick Jagger, Deep Purple, Michael Palin, Hillary Clinton as well as professional cricket teams on tour. According to the BBC, after the Mumbai attacks of November 2008 by Pakistani terrorists, the hotel serves as a symbol of Mumbai's and India's resilience. Luxury Grandes in the old wing combine a classic heritage aesthetic with modern technology. The Taj Mahal Palace hotel resort was commissioned in Indo-Saracenic style by Tata and first opened its doors to guests on 16 December 1903. Since it opened in 1903, the hotel has created its own unique history, hosting everyone from Maharajas and Princes to various Kings, Presidents, CEOs and entertainers.
Built in 1903, the hotel brings together Moorish, Oriental and Florentine styles. Offering views of the Arabian Sea and the Gateway of India, the hotel displays contemporary Indian influences along with vaulted alabaster ceilings, onyx columns, graceful archways, hand-woven silk carpets, crystal chandeliers, a magnificent art collection, an eclectic collection of furniture, and a dramatic cantilever stairway. Over the past century, the hotel has amassed a diverse collection of paintings and works of art. From Belgian chandeliers to Goan Christian artifacts, the hotel incorporates a myriad of artistic styles and tastes. The hotel also boasts a noteworthy collection of art work and artifacts that gives it an eclectic feeling. Staying in the Taj gives you the comfort of a home away from home. You feel every moment of your stay is worth the money you spend over there in terms of value addition to your life, even if you are not a regular traveler.

There are several fascinating points with regard to your stay at Taj Palace right from the time you land at the hotel when Mr. Taronish Karkaria from the front office or any other smartly dressed officer of the Taj receives you at the reception at the airport and smuggles you to the Club Suites, really cool. This time around, we were received by our exclusively nominated butler, Gaurav.

The check in was very smooth as usual for me to a club room 540. The room had been specially prepared for our short stay, a lot of balloons, (they knew my wife likes them, flower works and even a cute marble temple to place our idols. Basil leaves and flowers to adorn our gods. Chocolates and fruit baskets. Within a few minutes, Director of Rooms Indrani Gupta, turned up and congratulated us for our marriage anniversary and promised our offerings to God would arrive shortly and they did. Gaurav prodded us to wet our parched throats and we had fortunately a place for two at the Club Lounge, as the happy hours were on. Some refreshments and soft drinks over, when we returned the flowers for our puja were ready and once we were through Gaurav whisked us to the first floor Oriental restaurant, Wasabi, the happening place. While we marveled at the display of fresh eel, squids, Octopus, fish and other seafood, Jason D?Mello, explained the restaurant?s concept. Wasabi is known for its Ying-Yang concept that is applied to designing and serving meals. The concepts are based on the delicate balance of hot, sweet and sour flavors and the crunchy and soft flavors. Every single dish has its distinct flavors that are carefully married with other dishes. Items like Crispy Spinach, Chicken Aniseed, and Toffee Banana were debuted here and have become an essential menu item for every local Oriental restaurant since God knows when. Color plays a significant role in the restaurant's d?cor. Turquoise, the primary color, symbolizes serenity. The crockery and d?cor are a mix of green, blue and white because all these colors have a great significance in the Japanese dynasty history. Blue represents peace, tranquility, stability, harmony, unity and is associated with immortality.

Wasabi has long been the favorite of Mumbai's elite socialites, politicians, fashion designers, film stars, journalists and sports figures. We were not sure what to order and the menu card contained names which sounded like those of the chefs. But Jason the Anglo-Indian F&B Associate helped us choose our menu. It would be and was Teppanayaki (grilled steak) Spinach Gomaae Recipe, followed by what I thought Hibachi Chicken and Fried Rice. Without going into the recipe part of which, as a connoisseur of food, we found the items extremely tasty, well cooked and without much of sauces, which I deliberately avoid for reasons untold. We had interactions with the chef, whose name was very much difficult to remember as the items he deliciously concocted. But as the clich? goes what is in the name. The outstanding aspect of the dinner was Jason himself. With waiters like him for the food connoisseur Morimoto is not that important. Only Taj matters.
The view from suite is fantastic with Gateway of India on the left and the fleet of fishing vessels on the right. There was the pool down behind the Shamiana restaurant. I have not seen a better pool with all its landscape, so deep and rejuvenating with all its charms and comfort. This time we had a fantastic experience in the Masala Karaft (Restaurant) also because it is always difficult to get a table in this fine-dining restaurant. But those who have been to Masala Kraft in the past, could say, it is a replica of the old hawelis, with copper urns, utensils and the works. A special thanks to Chef Adil Sahukar and Dinesh. The food at the Sea Lounge improves day after day and as long as you crave for some ethnic and continental food, you should be happy with what the Sea Lounge and the Masala Craft have to offer in their traditional dishes and period menus that remind you of the resplendence of the British and Princely times. Every inch of hotel is squeaky clean and house-keeping is prompt and non-intrusive. Thanks to Ashwini, the coy little girl and her assistant Namdeo, who smiled quivering as she answered my wife?s queries and one day produced Ramachandra, whom we had known at Taj Bengal.

The pillow works of the bed resemble the Leela. We had a sound sleep like a baby that keeps you alert for the rest of the day. Add to that the sumptuous breakfast they offer with varieties of continental, Indian and oriental menu items that could tickle your taste-buds. I have already mentioned somewhere that nobody makes fluffy omelets like the way the Taj does. It hardly matters whether they have patented their culinary style.

Taj Palace has got hardly any parallel though I extensively stayed in almost all the Taj Residences in the country. I had the wonderful experience of utilizing their chauffer driven car also. It?s value for money. You don?t have to go to the Taj with an agenda because Taj itself is an agenda, fascinating, homely, luxurious and always magnificent. Right from the Front Office Manager to the lowest level housekeeping staff, right from front office managers to the waiters in the restaurant speak a single language of unmatched hospitality to make every moment of your stay there a delectable experience.

For our stay in the Palace, we had a dedicated butler (Gaurav) who attends to your wishes however eccentric they are with absolute dedication and there is hardly any room for you to ask for more since what you get is always sumptuous with the signature Taj magnanimity befitting that of a king. This is their USP. The Taj hospitality is indomitable. You get value for money in several hotels, but we hardly get value for the heart. In Taj, you get both in plentiful measures and when their senior officers escort you to the car on your way back to the airport or one of their representatives meet you at the destination airport and finishes all the boarding formalities for you, you feel you stay was worth.

Memories remain in the mind ? delightful, ingering and ecstatic until we visit Taj next time.

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Taj Palace- An agenda in itself Taj Palace- An agenda in itself
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