A star shining bright in Mumbai
The Sahara Star hotel is as magnificent and impressive as its website promises. It blends modern design and technology with the timeless culture and hospitality that only India can provide. And it does so perfectly.
The hotel is only a short ride away from Mumbai’s domestic and International airport. If your luggage volume allows it, get a tuk-tuk from the airport. It’s by far the best way to experience the unique buzz of Mumbai.
Don’t let the size of this hotel fool you. The luxury and exclusivity it exudes will win you over from the moment that you step inside. As you pass through the security entrance from the street you enter a magnificent outdoor plaza. Four large horse statues prance through a lake to greet you, as the roadway sweeps up either side of them towards the doors to the hotel. The doors are opened by a glamorous doorman in gold and black who ushers you quietly inside the hotel. The sheer scale and elegance of the hotel lobby is overwhelmingly beautiful. Especially to a tired traveller straight off an overnight flight from London.
I walked over to the check in desk and was immediately relieved of my bags by another member of staff who offered me a bottle of chilled water. It took only a few moments for the desk to find my room key (pretty amazing - I was trying to check in at 9.30am and they gave me a room straight away!). Before I signed for my key I was approached by three ladies with a golden bowl containing flowers, three small candles and burning incense. They hung a beautiful scented orange flower mala around my neck and gently drew a traditional vermilion tilak on my forehead to welcome me.*
*If you’d like to know more about the customary Indian greeting ceremony you can read about it here.
My room was beautiful. It was spacious and elegant with a pretty seating area that led out onto a huge balcony overlooking the tropical oasis at the centre of the hotel. The king size bed was soft and comfortable and had the sweetest little elephant waiting to greet me.
The bathroom was dark and opulent. The walk-in shower was almost as huge as the free-standing bath. Soft, fluffy robes were waiting for me, along with slippers and a huge range of deliciously scented toiletries. It was the perfect welcome after my overnight flight.
One of the strangest and most fun things about my room at the Sahara Star was the lighting system in the room. It had all sorts of ambient options controlled by a space age looking keypad by the bed. The keypad also controls the air con, which was reset to Arctic every time housekeeping came and made up my room.
I did realise pretty quickly that the room didn’t have any UK or European charging points and I didn’t have the right kind of adapter with me. I called down to the reception desk to ask if they had any adapters and within minutes a gentleman knocked on my door. He was carrying a universal adaptor on a little velvet cushion, like some kind of fairy tale wedding offering. I felt like a princess! More importantly, I felt like a princess with access to a fully charged phone and camera.
When it comes to eating at the Sahara Star you will be spoilt for choice. There are five restaurants, a coffee lounge and a private dining room encased in a huge aquarium that has mermaids on special occasions (although I only saw fish when I was there).
On my first evening I decided to order room service. A delicious and authentic pizza, as good as any I’ve eaten in Italy that I ate on my balcony, of course. It was accompanied by the lyrical notes of a solo sitar player drifting up from his seat in the tropical oasis below. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed room service so much
I sampled the award winning Mabruk Lebanese restaurant on my last night. The food was absolutely divine! But you can read more about that here.
Breakfast at the Sahara Star is a the most opulent buffet I’ve tasted. There were all kinds of breakfast foods: pastries, Indian treats, fruit and savouries, as well as omelettes and other items cooked to order for you. And you can eat it all sitting next to the aquarium walls that surround the private dining room.
The peaceful and elegant coffee lounge is on the edge of the central lagoon area. Discreet waiters serve deliciously aromatic coffee and the lightest of cakes. Sitting on one of the soft vanilla suede sofas here is like sinking into a very expensive cloud and it’s the perfect place to waste a little time with a good book. While I was deep in my book I suddenly heard the rhythmic sound of drums coming from the hotel lobby. Of course, I had to go see what was happening. Around twenty of the hotel staff had gathered in a large semi-circle some with drums, singing, clapping and stamping their feet in time. They gave us a great performance of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ then melted away back to their usual roles as if nothing had happened. I don’t know if this is a regular thing, but it put a huge grin on my face.
The Sahara Star is surely one of the most relaxing and luxurious hotel in Mumbai and it allows you bask in all the tradition and modern comfort that the city has to offer. From the tiny golden leaves set into the marble floors, to the abundance of fresh flowers everywhere you look, the luxury here is undeniable
Amazing views, indulgent rooms, wonderful food, and perfect service — they’ve certainly got it all for you. Guaranteed.