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Hotel Novotel Mumbai
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Balraj Sahani Marg, Juhu Beach, Mumbai 400049
022 6693 4444
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Much more than I expected
Northampton, United Kingdom
November 20, 2013
Best of IgoUgo
When deciding where to stay in Mumbai, I took two things into consideration. Firstly my desire to use my Accor Club points rather than cash, and secondly the desire to keep things simple. We’d stayed downtown a couple of years earlier and knew a ...
When deciding where to stay in Mumbai, I took two things into consideration. Firstly my desire to use my Accor Club points rather than cash, and secondly the desire to keep things simple. We’d stayed downtown a couple of years earlier and knew a taxi into the city from the airport would take a long time and cost a lot so I picked a hotel on the beach, not far from the hotel.
In theory it should have been a cheap and easy ride but having a taxi driver who didn’t know where he was going, wouldn’t admit he couldn’t read the address and then tried to drop us on the beach miles from the hotel all made for an ‘exciting’ journey. Thankfully we finally persuaded him to do what he could have done 20 minutes and many rupees earlier – and ASK someone. Everyone in the area knew the hotel except him.
On arrival, mirrors were rolled under the cab and the boot was checked. All the bags - from suitcases to handbag - had to go through the x-ray machine and we stepped through an airport style metal detector. It was all rather intense and I was not keen on letting my stuff out of my sight.
Check in was quite relaxed with two receptionists working in tandem to handle the paperwork. It took quite a while with them scanning not just our passports but also the visa pages. I flashed my Accor gold card and I don’t know if it helped or not but we got the magic words ‘free upgrade’ for a premier room on the 6th floor.
In the room I had an odd sense of deja vu. I am sure that I’ve never been in this hotel before but I knew the room – exactly where everything would be and how the bathroom was laid out. I can only think that I’ve been in this format of Novotel somewhere else, perhaps in China.
The décor had a rather masculine colour scheme with lots of dark wood and sharp lines. The windows are set in a v-shape so that every room gets a bit of a beach view. The hotel building is perpendicular to the beach to attempt to give everyone a little slot of sea but preventing everyone except a few lucky people who get the rooms on the end of the building a really good full on view. Our major view though was of a green, smelly swamp next door. It wasn’t a big problem but it wasn’t really what I’d expected.
The desk had multiway electrical points that take UK plugs and an internet cable which was very handy. There was a leather swivel chair at the desk and an armchair with footstool, chaise longue style, by the window. The room was not particularly big compared to the standard European Novotels where I stay frequently, but was furnished to a higher standard. The king sized bed had bedside tables and spotlights on bendy necks. Two rather ugly red paintings hung on the wall and didn’t go with the room at all.
There was a large flat screen television with a big wood surround which looked a little like it got lost and should be bigger. There was a very useful shelf underneath where we put a lot of our things. Between the bed and the bathroom there were sliding panels which looked like a cupboard but instead was a screen beside the glass shower. I’ve never had a holiday with so many hotel rooms with glass bathroom walls and can only wonder what this says about Indian bathroom habits. In the vestibule by the bathroom there was a cupboard with a kettle (which didn’t work) inside and tea and coffee supplies and a small empty shelf. Hubby hunted around to find a housekeeping chap who tested the kettle and brought us another that did work.
The bathroom was funky but a little dated as well as not entirely private. It’s OK when you’re with your partner but friends may not want to get quite so up close and personal with each other’s bathroom habits. The toilet cubicle has no door, the sink unit has very strange lighting and I’ve already mentioned the odd glass shower cubicle. The towels were nice and the locally sourced toiletries smelled delicious.
I was so glad that our rate included breakfast as the buffet was absolutely spectacular. Normally by the end of a holiday we’ve lost interest in food but we ate like we had two stomachs. The choices were exceptional and I tucked into a freshly prepared dosa both days. After breakfast we sent to sit on the sofas overlooking the beach where we could do some very good people watching. Whilst the beach is less dirty than I feared it might be, it was a bit smelly.
When I asked the receptionist about getting a car to the airport, I was surprised and delighted to learn our deal included the transfer, saving us another 1050 rupees. We booked the car for our final morning and were driven in a cool, comfortable vehicle by a polite and quite chatty driver.
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