Last weekend was an overwhelming one, mostly for reasons that a strenuous travel schedule for this year was coming to an end, and it was the birthday of my partner and I’d decided to surprise her. I was just off a 9-hour flight less than 12 hours ago, and while I don’t get jetlagged, I was running on 2 hours of sleep. So, I thought checking into a hotel was going to be a better bet than staying home or going out, also to give vent to some of my own intentions, that I never get to stay in a hotel in Mumbai!
Coming to the hotel, I missed the mark with catching the 7-day out rate, and got inside the window where the rates were the highest. I contacted the hotel, and they offered me a similar rate, however, offered to confirm me an upgrade already, and make it a breakfast-inclusive rate. I took it.
The hotel concierge got in touch with me ahead of arrival on email, and enquired with me if I needed something. I informed them about the birthday event, and they said they’d take care of it. I left it in their hands.
On the day of the check-in, I arrived at the hotel at about 1300 hours, and I was informed that our room was ready. While I was already confirmed for an upgrade from a Cityview room to a Bayview room. On arrival, I was informed of the double upgrade to a Seaview room, which was their first ace in my book. While the reception collected my identity documents, someone from the front desk accompanied us to our room on the second floor, and introduced us to the hotel. The check-in was completed in the room, and we were informed about breakfast timings, and an envelope containing Internet access codes was handed over to me (as a IHG Platinum Elite, this was complimentary).
The view from the room, on first looks, was mindblowing! I’ve been at Marine Drive many a times in my decade in the city, and I’ve seen it for hours from meeting rooms and rooftops, but living with the view was a different thing altogether.
The room was bigger than the standard room we were booking into, and I appreciated that gesture of the IC Marine Drive. Here are some pictures of the spacious room, which was interspersed with warli art:
The room had furnishings between wood and marble. The bathroom was from the new generation as well, with a bathtub, a separate wash chamber and a shower, and a view into the room and the sea ahead as well.
Complimentary water bottles were already placed in the room, and in a short while, we received a hotel crew member, who brought us along welcome drinks and a cake.
We were also offered an in-room complimentary massage therapy, which is offered to all guests on check-in. Within a few moments, two masseurs turned up in the room, and we were offered a back massage or a foot massage. These were 20 minute long oil massages, unlike my experience with complimentary massages offered at other places in the hospitality industry.
The room also had provisions for aromatherapy, however I never got the time to call in. There was an elaborate list of 60-80 DVDs as well which could be borrowed from the hotel. They had a DVD player in the room, and one could play a movie if one so desired.
For the evening, we asked the concierge team to book us a table at the Dome, which is the rooftop lounge of the hotel, with a sweeping view of the Marine Drive. I’ve been here before many a times, and this was one more! However, to my disappointment, we were initially seated at a table somewhere in a corner near the rooftop pool, which is not the best part to be seated at the Dome because the views are diminished, and being a netted area, no fun since one sees more of the nets than the view. The worst part, there was no one coming to attend to us. I requested for a better table, and we got one after a few minutes.
After a long (and expensive!!) session of drinks at the Dome, we decided to pop out for dinner. However, when we asked for the check, we were sent another cake, which had my name and a happy birthday message. Eh, we cut it anyways. On my way out, I requested the front desk to service the room and give us turndown if possible. It was already 10 PM so I was also okay if they would not provide us the turndown at that hour.
However, once we came back I saw the room was serviced. What amused me throughout the stay was that in spite of having double occupancy on the reservation note, the room was always prepared for one guest. For example, one bathrobe only in the room, one keycard only provided, one pair of slippers laid out, and water placed only one side of the bed.
Next morning, the view of Marine Drive I woke up to did make the whole trip worth it all over again!
We proceeded for breakfast in a while, which is served at their new restaurant called Long & Short. There was an expansive selection of cereals, fruits, juices, bakery items and some hot dishes (such as eggs, bacon, idlis, subzi & poori). There was also an elaborate breakfast menu offered, and we could choose anything from the menu as well. I went for some eggs (an omelette), which was done pretty nicely and served with toast.
The differentiating factor about this InterContinental hotel is also that as a 57-key property, the staff is always attentive to the needs of all the guests, and the property is run as a boutique hotel rather than as a massive towering business hotel which most IC properties are.
As an aside, I was able to meet some more targets of my IHG The Big Win as well. While I was not going to chase the complete challenge, since that included travelling to the USA and making stays there, I was happy to finish a stay here to get a third brand and a fifth night which would get me 28,700 extra IHG Reward Club Points.
I totally loved this one, and maybe it is a good idea to do some more stays away from home in Mumbai itself in the coming year!