Mumbai, India

mumbai_Taj Mahal Palace Hotel1I’ve been to India seven times and counting. Finally, my dream came true on a recent visit and I was able to stay at the  and Tower in Mumbai, a city throbbing with over 13 million people.

The famed Taj, the flagship hotel of the Group, is just across from the grand Gateway of India. As I take in the Taj’s mix of Moorish, Oriental and Florentine-styled architecture, I’m dazzled by its history and reputation. Built in 1903, the hotel has been the place to hang tiaras and turbans for maharajas, princes, kings, presidents, CEOs and celebs. Few can rival this Taj hotel, with its cantilever stairway, handwoven silk rugs, crystal chandeliers, vaulted alabaster ceilings, onyx columns, extensive art collection and eclectic furniture. Although either wing would have been acceptable (the newer built in the ’70s), I was overjoyed to be in the old tower where there’s a feeling of exclusivity and a friendly, helpful concierge on each floor.

My very large junior suite just happened to be next door to the very posh, large, luxurious suite where Angelina and Brad once stayed. Their door was of shiny brass, but mine, in indigenous dark wood certainly, wasn’t a poor relative. All this opulence in the middle of this densely populated city. After breakfast at the pool amid the lush garden, I was reluctant to leave the building. No matter where I visit now, my reference point for hotel perfection is the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower in Mumbai.