Hot off the press from the Four Seasons Mumbai, India.
Being the visual person that I am, it is usually a single image of a place that catches my eye and makes me want to visit. In this case, I had seen a photo of the Four Seasons Mumbai’s AER rooftop lounge, and was set on seeing it for myself. Of course, there were many other things that brought me to Mumbai, and on this particular trip it all just lined up.
Welcome to Mumbai
Landing at Mumbai airport was an experience I’ll never forget. I was greeted with a wave of thick warm air and an onslaught of humidity, sounds, smells, and sights. This was my definition of sensory overload. Cars were lined up everywhere, and their nonstop honking seemed ridiculously out of control (something I found a bit humorous). Thankfully, one of those cars in the line up was from the Four Seasons to pick up my husband and I. We got into the car and there was a beautiful bouquet of roses and chocolates waiting for us. Upon arrival at the hotel, even more surprises filled our suite: Champagne, chocolate cake, and more roses! We felt totally spoiled, they had made our room so romantic!
It was late and we were hungry so we didn’t waste any time. We went straight up to the 34th floor to AER Lounge, where they had a table waiting for us. The night air was balmy and thick. A classy crowd filled the swanky area around us and the DJ played a soundtrack to match. Meanwhile we splurged on some delicious tapas and cocktails and took in the expansive city views over Mumbai.
The Four Seasons proved to be a superb choice for our stay in Mumbai. The food was some of the best Indian cuisine I’ve ever had (even the in-room dining) and my husband and I both fell in the love with the contemporary San Qi Restaurant, which is described on their website as “an eclectic culinary adventure through some of the most popular cuisines of the east”. Of course, I stuck with the Indian food and ate every last morsel on my plate.
Additionally, the panoramic city and ocean views were fantastic. As mentioned in recent posts, Indian hospitality is second to none, and the Four Seasons really surpassed my expectations. Service was impeccable and my husband and I were treated as if we were royalty, making sure every single detail of our stay was perfect.
I loved the pool area, not only because it was modern and beautiful, but because it fit right in with the overall juxtaposition of Mumbai. There I was, sitting in a daybed at this serene upscale five-star resort, but just a peek over the ledge brought views of a chaotic city infrastructure with a sprawling expanse of slums. This is what you get in Mumbai – a fascinating montage of two extremes.
A Tour of the City
The next morning brought on an exciting tour of the city with a local Four Seasons guide. I learned that Mumbai is a set of seven islands that has been merged into one landmass. It is a cultural melting pot, home to many different religions: Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, and Christian. I found myself astounded at the diversity – the wealthy and poor – all crammed in right up against each other. This city was so crazy, yet so spiritual; so flashy, and yet so humble.
Our morning walk through the flower market was one of my favorite sights in Mumbai. It was so unique – filled with bursts of color, intricate floral arrangements, and beautiful local people.
Another very unique sight was Mumbai’s 140 year old Dhobi Ghat, an open air facility where most of the city’s laundry is washed. There were rows and rows of concrete wash basins and local workers who live there. Freshly cleaned fabrics hung out to dry on clothing lines while people beat the dirt out of soiled clothes.
The shopping centers were filled with even more sights to see. I wanted to bring home all of vibrantly patterned fabrics, spices, and foods!
- Allow yourself at least 2 full days to explore Mumbai
- The best time to visit Mumbai is between October and March
- Bring comfortable shoes that can get dirty. The streets are not very clean.
- Dress conservative
- Make sure to dine at San Qi and try the Indian food
- Make a reservation for AER Lounge to be sure you get a good table
- Make sure to check out Dhobi Ghat
- Don’t miss seeing the flower market in the morning
- Do brush your teeth with bottled water. You never know what you’re going to get in India. In previous trips, I’ve been sick from the water.