After clearing customs and immigration in Mumbai we walked outside the terminal to teeming masses of people waiting for passengers. The airport was sure bustling at almost 2 am!
The Grand Hyatt Mumbai comes with complimentary airport transfers for club guests, and I had used a confirmed suite upgrade for the property so we were certainly upgraded in advance. (I believe that the benefit is consistently offered to Diamonds regardless, but with the upgrade offered in advance I was certain of the transfers, and had emailed the hotel my arrival information ahead of time.)
I didn’t see a Grand Hyatt rep right away, but did see someone holding a Hyatt Regency sign. I asked them, “Grand Hyatt?” and they pointed to the right and a gentleman immediately appeared with his passenger manifest, asked my name, and began to escort us to our driver who was waiting nearby. They both helped with our bags and walked us to the garage where our car to the hotel was waiting.
The driver brought us quickly to the property, it’s ‘near’ the airport but not anything like the proximity of the Hyatt Regency that’s essentially on airport grounds or the Intercontinental The Lalit which is just beyond. This wasn’t intended as an airport stay, so I’m glad I wasn’t at either of those properties. Still, while the Grand Hyatt is convenient to a good deal of business taking place in Mumbai it’s not located near many tourist attractions. Personally I liked being somewhat removed from the more touristy areas, it became a nice respite from the city. And drivers for hire are inexpensive, so while Mumbai traffic can be brutal, traveling at off-peak times it wasn’t a bad trip at all into Southern Mumbai. (For being ‘closer to the action’ I’d either choose the Taj Palace or the Intercontinental Marine Drive.)
We pulled up to the hotel driveway, through a security checkpoint (where the hotel car wasn’t stopped and searched, unusual I thought since usually I find even hotel cars are inspected). We got out at the front entrance, our luggage was sniffed by a dog and we were given claim checks for it, and we walked through a metal detector before entering the hotel. Walked up to the main desk, the agent saw we were club level guests and escorted us upstairs to the club to check in.
Immediately I was struck by the hotel’s style, reminiscent of Grand Hyatts throughout Asia generally.
I was glad to be able to check-in so early in the morning. Admittedly I’ve been pretty unhappy with my ‘Private Line Concierge’ at Hyatt, and switched after this trip. I had emailed her and asked to make the reservation, and hadn’t gotten a reply for three days. I emailed a followup, and again didn’t hear back. But I did notice the reservation online — though for the wrong dates. So I followed up with the property by email to amend the reservation. And I heard nothing. And I emailed the property again, and heard nothing. Finally on the third try I did manage to find a manager willing to get back with me, and they let me know that only much higher rates were now available to amend my stay. I was livid — I shared with them
- The original request to Hyatt for when I wanted to stay, at which point the better rate was available
- The subsequent followup emails to the property which went unanswered
- And that their delay was precisely why the original rate was no longer available, so that I expected them to honor it.
They did fix up the reservation, and the check-in process was smooth.
We were asked for passports, given a rate card to sign, and then taken to our room. I was pretty exhausted at this point, didn’t sleep much on the two flights and it was creeping towards 3 am local time. But I was already struck by the beautiful hotel lobby, and then by the beautiful – though surprising small — room for what was ostensibly a suite. I did realize that using a confirmed upgrade certificate I received a Grand Suite King which was just a single room, it was certainly large enough but I still prefer separate rooms when traveling to Asia because I find my sleep schedule will be off for a couple of days and I’ll get up and not want to disturb my wife while she continues to sleep.
Here’s the room itself, there was a living area, bed, and desk/work area. The bathroom could be entered either from the doorway area or the living area, and had a separate toilet room and a tub as well as separate shower cabin although the shower cabin didn’t have a door so water did tend to spread out into the rest of the bathroom.
Checking out the lounge and hotel property the next day I was struck by its overall beauty.
Here’s the hotel from the back, by the pool:
And the corridor near our room:
The club itself was a large space, and we scoped out the spot that would be our home for each subsequent visit, downstairs and near the giant picture window.
Service in the lounge was excellent, staff came by almost immediately to take drink orders whether during designated service hours or not. The club is open 24 hours and staffed, had excellent coffee and of course plenty of water available (and there was plenty consistently restocked in the room as well, since it’s important not to drink from the tap! We were in Mumbai but still worried about Delhi Belly..).
The breakfast spread was good, but no hot options in the morning and never variety during our stay.
Evening hot options, on the other hand, changed nightly.
To find the gym area you had to go down to and walk through the spa. And that was also the way to the pool, with the doorway at the end of the gym.
Hotel room service was prompt and high-quality, and it was nice to have an option for Indian food that I worried less about than much of what I found in town.
Meanwhile, though we were out and about during the day, and did head into the city for dinner, we ate at the hotel’s Chinese restaurant which was really excellent. It’s not inexpensive, dinner for two with appetizers and entrée ran us about US$80, but everything was of remarkably high quality probably better than any Chinese restaurant I’ve eaten at in the past year.
The hotel’s restaurants are clustered together, but you enter the Chinese restaurant from inside the hotel, walk outside through a seating garden, and then back inside through the Chinese restaurant’s entrance:
We ordered some Dim sum as starters:
We shared some noodles and my wife had the Beggars chicken:
And I – perhaps lamely – ordered the chicken and cashew nuts:
Overall I was very happy and would have gone back even if it wasn’t as convenient as walking downstairs from the room.
The hotel’s service was really proactive. One day the hotel was servicing our room and noticed that the safe was open. They found us in the lounge to let us know, so that we could lock it before heading out. And when we didn’t answer the phone when they gave us our requested wakeup call (we had gotten up earlier, and were in the lounge having breakfast), they sent someone to our room to make sure we had woken up and that everything was alright.
Service wasn’t perfect, though. On the night after our arrival we declined turndown service, as we were back on property and in the room. Turndown service was never attempted again. Perhaps our initial refusal was coded incorrectly in their system as preferring not to receive turndown, but it was still disappointing that coming back late in the evenings our room didn’t receive a second service at all during the stay. I could have called to request it, but never got around to doing so. After the first night when it wasn’t provided (that I’d have wanted it), I assumed it was an oversight. And by the time I realized it wasn’t simply a one-off, I was also not especially inclined to bother.
I’d absolutely return to this hotel if I had business in the area, or wasn’t on a particularly busy schedule where I’d be fighting morning or evening traffic during my stay to head South. If I did need to be in the South regularly, however, I’d look to either the Taj or Intercontinental.
Next up in the trip report will be spending time in Mumbai, from the slums to eating to Gandhi’s home and the Taj Palace hotel.