Note: Though I have reviewed books and movies before, I’ve never done so for a hotel, though I’ve been to many. This is my first attempt. So bear with me while I try something new.
A few days ago, when I found out that I was getting a chance to have a one day stay at the Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport, I jumped at the chance. The name probably does have a little sentimental value in our family because that’s where my parents had their wedding party! (It was at a different location in Mumbai back then).
The current Holiday Inn is at Sakinaka junction, Andheri-Kurla Road, closer to Mumbai International airport (hence the name!) So a few days ago the booking was done, we would check in on the 11th September afternoon & check out after breakfast on the 12th. We have a timeshare at another five star hotel near the airport and go there often. It has resort style room (that means it has an included kitchen). So I must admit that I thought Holiday Inn would be less grand. I was wrong.
Since it was a day of two festivals here we weren’t getting a taxi so we had to settle for an auto rickshaw.
We knew where Sakinaka Junction is but weren’t sure exactly where the hotel was. Then Mom saw the sign.They have this huge elevated sign that indicates the location of the hotel & it was very useful because it saved up the trouble of searching. There are two large fountains (first one is just inside the main gate and the second one is outside the main entrance). The lobby looks stunning – large with very high ceilings & overall very lavish looking. And one that thing struck me about all the staff was that they were all incredibly polite.
Right from the watchmen at the gate, door men at the main entrance to the staff at the receptions, they all greeted us & had pleasant expressions & were overall very polite. The check in was over in approximately 5 minutes, & a girl from the reception escorted us to the room.
A section of the lobby.
And that’s my dad sitting on one of the chairs.
The room too was very tastefully done up, especially the bathroom. The shower panel had a glass wall separating it from the bedroom, & just when I was starting to wonder how that was going to work out (I was there with my parents!) I saw that there was a thick screen that could be put down (activated by a switch in the bathroom). There was a well stocked mini bar but the prices were ridiculous, as is the case in all hotels. The main furniture of the bedroom was an LCD TV, Queen Size Bed (with two side tables), a diwan and a glass table, and a Glass desk with a Swivel Chair. The view wasn’t too good though, you get to see a very badly kept high rise residential building & it will be safer if you close the curtains before turning on the lights. The bedside table clock surprisingly had an iPod dock attached, too bad I hadn’t carried mine! One thing I really liked was the phones in the room- usually whenever you go to any hotel you have to deal with many different number: front desk, housekeeping etc. But this phone was unique, if you wanted any information, you just had to pick up the phone & press the one touch information button. You will then get promptly connected to a hotel employee, who will greet you by the name the room is registered in. I called quite a many times for all different reasons & I got relevant information within 30 seconds! Anyway now let’s move on to the other stuff, namely the swimming pool and gym.
The Holiday Inn Rooftop Pool
Since I was there for just a day I wasn’t interested in using the facilities but I wanted to check them out nonetheless. The first place I checked out was the rooftop pool. There were some people sun bathing but no one was in the pool. It looked pretty large & was quite breezy. The only minus point was that there is no lifeguard posted at the pool. Looking at how some hotel have faced flack when children drowned in the pools, I think it would be nice if they have a life guard.
Next I checked out the gym. There was absolutely no one in there. But it looked nice with a lot of different exercise equipment. (I forgot to click a picture).
Anyway that was all the exploration I did. I didn’t go to their famous business centre because that would look a little silly.
Dinner at Saptami: Fish & Chips, Sirloin Burger.
We went for Dinner a little after 9:30 PM to Saptami, their multi cuisine restaurant at ground level (close to the reception). You are greeted by a hostess as you enter who leads you to a table. I ordered a Sirloin Burger & my parents ordered a plate of Fish & Chips each. The food took about 15 to 20 minutes to be served but I didn’t get restless yet because I was busy chatting with mom & enjoying the good ambience. The fish and chips came with Potato Wedges & Tartare sauce and my Sirloin Burger was topped with a lot of black sesame seeds & came with some fries & a some salad leaves soaked with vinegar. I must confess this was the first ‘real’ burger I had & it tasted good! The fish & chips were nice too but Dad said he would have preferred fries (like the ones that came with my burger) and not wedges. You don’t have to pay then & there, you just sign after you finish the meal & they bill you during check out. So that was that. We were too stuffed with food so there was no question of dessert. So off to the room to hit the sack.
The next morning we went down for Breakfast to Saptami again. (Our package was inclusive of breakfast). Now I wish I had got a few photos of the breakfast buffet because it was absolutely mind blowing. There was so much of variety. First the meat: There were Sausages (Chicken & Pork), Bacon, Turkey Ham. Lots of different Cereals & Mueslis (Check out the bowl in the bottom lefy photo- that’s flavored muesli). Loads of different cheeses & breads. Baked beans, hash browns & sautéed mushrooms. Four or five different donuts. Chocolate Croissants (pictured in the upper right photo) & four or five different cupcakes and muffins. Oh & did I mention Saptami has a completely open kitchen? You can go to the kitchen to get fresh pancakes or get you eggs done exactly like you want them.
Breakfast at Saptami.
Not much to mention after that. We went back to our room & checked out a while later. Staying at this hotel was a pleasure from start to finish. I’ve been to quite a lot of 5 Star Hotels around the World, & I can say that this was definitely one of the best stays I’ve had, rivaled only by a hotel in Florida but by far the best place I’ve been to in India.
Rating: I can truly give this place a 5 Star Rating! ★★★★★
Do I recommend it? Definitely! If you live in Mumbai itself & don’t want to go to stay, at least go to Saptami to eat.