What Makes the Hotel Special?
Note: The Palladium hotel was relaunched as The St. Regis Mumbai on September 1, 2015. It's the first St. Regis property in South Asia.
As the saying goes, first impressions count. And, the glittery greeting given by the hotel's spectacular chandelier-filled entrance is certainly captivating. It establishes an ambiance of grandeur that extends through the whole hotel, with a seamless combination of contemporary and timelessly ornate decor. Yet, there's more to the hotel than its elegant looks. As a new luxury hotel in Mumbai, the St. Regis is determined to prove itself. Undoubtedly, it's succeeding too. The attentive, personalized service that the staff excel in delivering will make you feel very special indeed.
Upon arrival, I was escorted inside the hotel by a gracious staff member, who'd clearly been waiting for me. He recognized me and addressed me by name as soon as I got out of the taxi. That was a surprise! How did he know who I was? (I later found out that the staff study the profiles of prominent guests in order to recognize them accordingly. I guess I qualified, as the hotel knew I was coming to write a feature on them). A traditional Indian welcome, introductory letter from the hotel manager, fresh flowers and fruit in my room, and a phone call from guest relations to see if I needed anything all added to the feeling of being cared about. The service wasn't excessive or forced though. The staff genuinely seemed warm and helpful.
Location and Concept
The hotel, located in the central south Mumbai suburb of Lower Parel (around halfway between the airport and Colaba), opened as a Shangri-la property in January 2013 and was re-branded as the Palladium Hotel in September 2013. It's part the High Street Phoenix mall complex, which is one of the biggest malls in Mumbai and also consists of the high-end Palladium mall. The hotel was designed by Shekar Patki, principal architect of Mumbai based PG Patki Architects, and is owned by the mall's developer -- power couple Gayatri and Atul Ruia. This area used to be known for its cotton mills but they've reinvented it as an entertainment and shopping precinct.
According to the hotel's manager, the aim is to develop it as a luxury food and beverage destination. It will have a dizzying variety of venues at a rather dizzying height. Most will be situated on levels 37 and 38, which are the hotel's top two floors.
The St. Regis hotel already has many noteworthy distinguishing features that make it one of Mumbai's best luxury hotels. It's the tallest hotel in the city and has Mumbai's highest bars (Asilo and Luna Nudo), highest nightclub (Exo), highest Asian restaurant (By the Mekong), highest party suite (Zenith), and one of the Mumbai's best Sunday brunches (at Seven Kitchens). The hotel also has a Japanese sushi and saki restaurant (Yuuka), and modern European restaurant (Luna Gusto).
What really stands out about the hotel is its appeal as a place for celebration. I spent two days touring and exploring the hotel, and concluded that it has a venue for pretty much every kind of function imaginable.
Read on to discover more about the Palladium Hotel's accommodations and venues.
The hotel has 395 guest rooms including 27 suites. Measuring 45 square meters and 90 square meters respectively, they're among the most spacious hotel accommodations in Mumbai.
The hotel is encased in a glass tower, one side of which overlooks Mahalaxmi racecourse and across to the twin towers, Antilia and Haji Ali. Naturally, the views are mesmerizing. Sit on the padded window seat and reflect on the juxtaposition of the city's extreme wealth and poverty below, or watch racehorses run practice laps around the racecourse while birds soar overhead.
The hotel's mix of classic and contemporary design is also reflected in the rooms, with earthy tones, tasteful paisley motifs, old-style bedside clocks, and advanced lighting system. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the glamorously adorned walk-through bathroom, with doors that could be slid open on two sides. (I would've loved a rain shower, but sadly that wasn't to be. I did appreciate the Ayurvedic toiletries though). Other features include 42 inch LED televisions, complimentary wireless Internet, newspapers, tea and coffee making facilities, and a reasonably priced mini bar.
In Room Dining
If you wish to eat in your room, there's an extensive 24 hour room service menu offering Italian, Asian, and Indian cuisine. Except that it's not just room service at the hotel -- it's in-room dining. And yes, there is a difference! It arrives on a round trolly bedecked like a dinner table and resplendent with a red rose. My vegetable lasagne (650 rupees/$12) was delivered in 15 minutes and I have to say, it was the best I'd ever eaten. The very substantial American breakfast (950 rupees/$16), which was too much for me to finish, came with eggs, toast, cereal, pastries, fresh fruit platter, coffee, and juice. Pleasingly, the attendant returned to remove the trolley exactly at the specified times.
Celebrating a special occasion? Definitely treat yourselves to the champagne breakfast, which comes with either a half or full bottle of Moet Chandon!
Room rates start from around 10,000 rupees ($170) per night, including tax.
The highlight of dining at the hotel is the ability to sample a diverse variety of cuisine from all around the world.
By the Mekong
Mekong, the hotel's signature Asian restaurant on the 37th floor, represents countries that fall along the Mekong River -- China, Thailand and Vietnam. The restaurant has chefs from each country to ensure the authenticity of the food. It was recognized as the Best Oriental and Japanese Newcomer and Best Thai Newcomer in the fine dining category of the Times Food & Nightlife Awards 2014. The restaurant has maintained its reputation over the years, winning the award for Best Thai fine dining in the Times Food & Nightlife Awards 2017.
It's likely you'll have trouble deciding what to order as the menu is very comprehensive. Some dishes, such as the golden tiger prawns coated with oats, are delightfully unusual and distinctive while others, such as the Vietnamese pho, are reliable staples. Appetizers such as the Thai flavored grilled fish, crispy boneless chicken with honey, dry chilies and spices, and wok tossed Shimeiji mushrooms come infused with fresh herbs and are amply proportioned. On the desert menu, the kumquat flavored chocolate mousse is divine. Expect to pay around 5,000 rupees ($85) for two, excluding alcohol.
By night, especially on weekends, Mekong transforms into a venue for upbeat social gatherings and is usually packed to capacity (around 100 people). If you're looking for an intimate celebration, three private dining rooms are available. The largest one requires a minimum spend of 45,000 rupees ($750).
Seven Kitchens, the hotel's all day and night restaurant, was also recognized in the 2014 Times Food & Nightlife Awards as best newcomer in the 24 Hour Dining category. As its name suggests, the restaurant has seven kitchens that serve different types of world cuisine. What the restaurant really excels at is its Sunday brunch buffet, which is undoubtedly one of the top Sunday brunches in Mumbai.
All the food is made fresh the same day for the brunch, with preparations starting at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning. According to Rahul Kaushik, Executive Sous Chef, the menu is changed approximately every three months to take into account seasonal ingredients. While he says that the restaurant doesn't have any specialties, as the aim is for every dish to be of high quality, the standout for me was the potato encrusted spicy red snapper. (Other guests also agreed).
The brunch is particularly good value because you'd be hard pressed to find such a wide range of dishes anywhere else in Mumbai for the price. There's a huge spread of sushi, cheeses, and seafood that's commonly absent from other brunches. Live music gives the brunch a buoyant vibe too.
The Sahib Room and Kipling Bar
The Sahib Room is the hotel's signature Indian restaurant. It and the adjoining Kipling Bar have been inspired by the colonial era. The Kipling Bar is a tribute to Nobel Prize winning British writer and poet Rudyard Kipling. Its innovative fusion cocktails are particularly outstanding.
Call +91 (22) 6162 8422 for reservations at all restaurants.
Move over Aer -- Asilo and Luna Nudo now have the honor of being the highest bars in Mumbai!
Asilo, which apparently means refuge or shelter in Spanish, does indeed provide a wonderful reprieve from the noisy chaos of Mumbai. This breezy rooftop bar on the hotel's 38th floor feels like a cross between Dome and Aer, with its white sofas and vistas that extend across the bay. Rather than being managed by the hotel, it's leased out to the same company that runs Hard Rock Cafe and Shiro. Creative cocktails (priced at around 750 rupees) and grills are the specialties.
Asilo is open daily from 5.30 p.m. to 1.30 a.m. If you're not coming for the sunset, expect to pay a full cover charge of 2,500 rupees (redeemable on food and beverages) after 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. There's a DJ and the bar fills up fast with an elite crowd. A private party deck seating 20 is available for a minimum spend of 2 lakh rupees ($3,350).
Luna Nudo replaced Li Bai bar on the hotel's 37th floor in mid 2016. This plush and sexy infusion-themed cocktail bar wasted no time making its mark, and was awarded Best Cocktail Bar in the Mumbai Times Food & Nightlife Awards 2017.
The extensive cocktail menu is undoubtedly creative. Take for example the Personified Moon (1,200 rupees), a concoction of spice-infused bourbon, apple and maple, presented under a smoke-filled decanter with a hint of apple-wood. The house special infused spirits are flavored with everything from chamomile to cucumber.
The mood varies depending on the day of the week and time of night. The music starts off with live gigs and progresses to a party vibe with DJ on weekends.
Happy hours from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. will appeal to the budget-conscious. Drink all the craft beer you want for 1,200 rupees, unlimited select spirits for 2,000 rupees, and cocktail pitchers for 1,500 rupees. Tax is extra.
Luna Nudo is open Sunday to Thursday from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m., and until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Dress to impress!
Exo can easily be deemed the hotel's most excessive nightlife venue. Also located on the 37th floor next to Luna Nudo and Mekong, the music is loud, the entry fee is steep, and attire that the hip young crowd is squeezed into often borders on obscene.
This nightclub is undeniably popular though. It was awarded Best Nightclub in the Mumbai Times Food & Nightlife Awards 2017. By midnight on Saturdays it's packed to capacity, with literally no spare space to move or stand, and the party kicks on until 3 a.m. Book ahead if you want a table by window and be prepared for a minimum spend of 50,000 rupees.
The Drawing Room and St Regis Bar
For a more sedate experience, head to the Drawing Room in the hotel lobby. This elegant bar is perfect for relaxing and serves champagne, spirits, and some delicious herbal teas (the Jasmine one is recommended).
It's open from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m.. Afternoon high tea (with cucumber sandwiches if you so desire) takes place daily from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. and is accompanied by live music.
Call +91 (22) 6162 8422 for reservations at all nightlife venues.
Banqueting and Functions
If you're looking to hold a meeting or celebration, the hotel has a seemingly endless array of venues to choose from, in addition to its private dining rooms.
Let's start at the top! Perched in prime position on the 38th floor is the Zenith Party Suite -- a flamboyant two story private playpen with a glass staircase, bar, and DJ console. It comfortably accommodates 60 people.
Spread across Levels 8 and 9, there's an additional 45,000 square feet of banqueting space. This incorporates:
- the Ballroom, adjacent bridal suite, expansive Terrace Gardens, and business center with two meeting rooms on Level 9.
- four staterooms, three boardrooms, dedicated entrance into the The Grand Hall pre-function area with inlaid marble floors and crystal chandeliers, and four function rooms comprising Pallazzio (contemporary fittings and carpeting), Imperial Hall (which has some serious gold bling!), Grand Cru Salon (with dark wood finishes and Brazilian onyx), and Alhambra (cream tones, marble panels, and mirrored walls) on Level 8.
Capacity of the venues ranges from 65 to 1,000 people for a reception (less for other setups). The Terrace Gardens can accommodate 500 people for reception.
The hotel's spa occupies a significant portion of the wellness floor on Level 10 and is headed by Tippy Sailo, a winner of the Pevonia Asia Spa Best Therapist of the Year Award.
The spa, which is open to the public as well as guests, is simply decorated in earthy tones. It has nine therapy rooms, including one couple suite. Each has its own private bathroom attached.
When I visited, the spa had introduced its Summer Indulgence menu with special plant and fruit based treatments created by Tippy.
I tried the bespoke Melon Glow treatment (6,600 rupees plus tax) -- an hour and 45 minute body scrub, detox body wrap, and facial designed to remove dead skin and make the skin smooth. I must admit, I neglect exfoliating so the treatment was exactly what I needed. As well as noticeably cleaning and tightening my skin, it left both my mind and body feeling very relaxed. All natural ingredients such as yogurt, cucumber, and papaya are used, and they they smelled good enough to eat!
If you're short on time, a 30 minute Summer Body Cooler body scrub or wrap (2,800 rupees plus tax) will remove the heat from your skin and re-energize skin cells.
There's even a special summer treatment for teenagers. The 60 minute Teen Sparkle treatment (4,000 rupees plus tax) combines foot or back massage, body wrap, and bath for inner peace. Ingredients include Himalayan crystal salts, sandalwood oil, rose geranium oil, jasmine oil and rose petals.
The Spa is open daily from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. Call +91 (22) 6162 8299 for appointments.
Not to be overlooked, the wellness floor on Level 10 also has a state-of-the-art gymnasium and outdoor infinity pool -- both with spectacular views, of course!
What's really fabulous about the pool is its sunken lounge area. Some of the sun loungers touch the water, making it easy to keep cool. There are also four poolside cabanas and a poolside deck with function space. Gourmet food and beverages are served poolside, making it an appealing place to relax.
Various fitness programs are available at the gymnasium, which is open to guests and members. These include pilates, yoga, functional and circuit training, and nutritional consultations.
The pool and gymnasium are open daily from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. Call +91 (22) 6162 8299 for inquiries.
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