Introduction: A two week tour of India
Report: Back to back in Brussels
Review: Club World in a British Airways 777 from London to Mumbai
Review: Hilton Mumbai
Review: Conrad Pune
Review: Hilton Shillim Estate Resort and Spa
Having arrived into Mumbai at almost 2am, it was after 2.30 before I was in a cab, making my way to the hotel. I had booked the Hilton Mumbai, having found a good rate around £70. My preference would have been to head straight to Pune, but that wasn’t really practical at this time in the morning.
The Hilton Mumbai is an airport hotel, situated just a short drive from the terminal, so, having ordered an Uber for just £4, I arrived a few minutes before 2.45am. It’s in a slightly odd location, but I suppose most airport hotels are.
It was a fairly dark and dingy drive to the hotel through what appeared to be some kind of industrial area underneath the main airport road.
The hotel is actually in a major business district, so, despite the appearance of the area on the drive in, it’s actually quite safe. Unsurprisingly, I was the only person checking in at that time so the hotel lobby was very quiet.
Check in was quick and easy and within a few minutes I was on my way to my room with a porter who insisted on taking my bag. I had booked a basic King room and had been upgraded to a King Executive, which comes with lounge access. I get that anyway as a Diamond member so it was a pretty pointless upgrade, but nice nonetheless. I had originally selected a corner room on the 5th (top) floor using online checkin via the app, but was told I had been moved to a ‘nicer’ room when I arrived. I didn’t bother discussing it as I was pretty tired by this point.
My room – King Executive
The hotel has apparently been designed in the style of a 19th century summer palace so you’d expect the rooms to be fairly fancy. The corridor certainly had a traditional feel to it and, although it was dark, I could see some kind of internal garden as I walked through.
My room was 426, at the opposite end of the building from the elevators, overlooking the pool area.
As you walk into the room there is an entrance corridor that takes you past the bathroom and into the main area, which is, unsurprisingly, dominated by the bed.
The king bed is very simply, but elegantly, dressed, with a plush headboard and fabler-style curtains behind.
One thing I noticed was how spacious the room felt. Although the bed is quite large, it doesn’t overpower the room. There is a lot of furniture in there, yet still plenty of space to walk around.
One of the bedside tables is empty, other than a lamp, while the other has a phone, writing pad, clock radio and the tv remote.
There is a writing desk in the corner of the room, which would prove pretty useful if you were here on business and had to work in the evenings. There are some plug sockets to the left of the table, but they are all Indian style so I couldn’t use them. As with most modern hotels in India, though, there are a few, multi-national plug sockets in the room, with connectivity for UK, US and European style plugs.
In the centre of the room, directly opposite the bed, stands a unit containing tea and coffee making facilities, as well as housing the mini bar underneath. The tv is fitted above this. I can’t comment on the quality or number of channels as I wasn’t awake long enough to use it!
The mini bar is stocked with some basics, but it is pretty sparse.
Price wise, the mini bar is pretty much on a par with western hotels, although alcohol is quite expensive.
The comfortable chair in the corner looks very inviting, but by the time I arrived, all I wanted was bed!
There is only one wardrobe so it could be cramped as a couple if you were there for a while, but it’s the type of hotel I guess most people stay in for one or two nights at most. Chatting to the staff in the executive lounge the following day, they mentioned that a lot of the guests are aircrew on short layovers.
The bathroom continues the elegant feel, with lots of mirrors, marble and a beautiful vanity unit. There is also a separate shower and bath, which is nice.
The bath tub is only three quarter size, but perfectly adequate for a quick bath, although I suspect the shower sees a lot more use!
Some useful products were left out on the vanity unit. I really like it when I find a dental kit in my room as I always forget to ask for one at reception on the way up.
The vanity unit also contains a hairdryer, tucked away in the corner behind a box of tissues.
Stepping into the shower that evening felt heavenly! The water was warm, and soft and very powerful. I could have stayed in there for hours!
Bathroom products are by Crabtree and Evelyn, which is standard in all Hiltons across the brand these days.
This room needs no introduction…
There were plenty of spare towels left out, which is always nice.
Overall, I really liked the room. It was spacious, very well presented and the bed was incredibly comfortable. Despite the difference in time zones, I managed to sleep undisturbed for 7 hours and woke up feeling refreshed. What more could you want from a hotel room?
The hotel entrance and lobby
As I arrived in the early hours, many of my photos were taken in the dark so I took some fresh in the morning which is why this review switches between day time and night time photos.
The hotel is situated on a fairly busy street so there was a fairly constant flow of traffic in the morning, which meant taking my life in my hands to get pictures of the outside. Ah, the things we do for trip reports…
Like all major hotels in India, the entrance is dominated by large, airport-style security scanners and metal detectors. This elaborate security is a government requirement following the Mumbai bombings in 2008.
The entrance feels quite grand for the size of hotel and gives an idea of what to expect when you go inside.
The main door brings you into a lobby that is dominated by marble and chandeliers. It looks very opulent.
Hotel common areas
Going up the stairs and through the arch takes you to the ornate, but intimate, main lounge.
The grand piano at the end suggests that this is also used for entertaining, with live music.
Off the lounge, through one of the sets of open doors, is the hotel bar, which also has a grand piano and looks like the perfect place to relax in the evening.
This mountain of booze looks particularly inviting!
At the end of the lounge is an ornate set of stairs that takes you down to the restaurant, which brings me nicely on to breakfast.
As a Hilton Honors Diamond member, breakfast is included free for myself and one other guest. In this case I had the option of having it in the lounge, but when I have time to relax and enjoy breakfast, I always have it in the restaurant. While I love a good buffet, I do prefer to order freshly made food.
Like most Hiltons, breakfast is served in the restaurant from 6.30am until 10.30am on weekdays. I went down just after 10, when it was fairly quiet.
The restaurant is fairly small, seating about 60 people. The main part of the buffet is setup in one end of the restaurant, with some additional items in the middle and a quieter area towards the end.
The buffet was quite extensive, with a good selection of western and Indian food, as well as cereals, fruit, breads and pastries. There was also a good selection of drinks, including fruit juices, tea, coffee and a couple of flavours of milkshakes, which I thought was a nice tough. All of the fruit juices were freshly squeezed, which is so much nicer than the concentrated nonsense we tend to get in the UK.
I also liked that they had various types of milk, including soya for those who avoid dairy.
I went on a bit of a sampling spree, helping myself to a number of different items from the buffet. I also ordered an omelette, some coffee and an orange juice, which is a pretty staple hotel breakfast for me. I asked for the omelette to be soft and runny inside but it came out quite dry so I sent it back and asked for another. The second was much better. I can’t really blame chefs for getting this one wrong as I like them far less cooked than normal.
Overall, breakfast was pretty good. Service was good, if a little slow at times, the food was tasty and I left feeling full, which was a good thing, with a long car journey ahead of me later in the day!
Swimming pool, spa and gym
After breakfast I decided to check out the rest of the hotel, starting with the pool and spa area.
The pool is just outside the restaurant and accessed through a corridor at the bottom of the stairs we came down earlier, although you do have to get passed this tempting little display first!
Once outside you walk through some shrubbery to get round to the pool.
There is a small, outdoor seating area beside it and a bar, where you can order drinks throughout the day.
The pool is open from 7am until 8.30pm, but it isn’t heated so you can expect a pretty chilly swim at this time of year.
I didn’t go in – a toe in the water was enough to scare me away. It felt pretty cold! With the potential for so much solar power in India, I can’t understand why more hotel pools aren’t heated. The pool at the Conrad in Bangalore was always a perfect temperature, which meant I used it every day. It really was lovely.
Back inside the building, along a small maze of corridors, is the spa area, which was very calm and relaxing. I didn’t book a treatment, but I did have a brief tour.
Within each changing room there is a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. These are all segregated in India – men and women can’t mix.
On the same level is the gym, which is pretty well fitted out, with cardio equipment, resistance machinery and, something that we don’t find too often in hotel gyms in the UK these days; free weights.
I didn’t use the gym or spa facilities, but they all looked very nice.
Instead, I headed up another set of stairs to check out the business centre and I was quite surprised by what I found! In most hotels these days the business centre is limited to a couple of PCs at a desk. This one, however, was much more than that.
The business centre is accessed through a corridor and via a set of stairs on the ground floor, which takes you to a reception area.
The reception was unmanned when I got there so I had a look around.
The business centre is made up of lots of small rooms, all cosy and comfortable, like individual lounges.
Some of the rooms have alcoves with PCs in them.
There were also various meeting rooms with large conference tables, but all were locked so I couldn’t access them.
Overall, I was really impressed by the business centre. It’s the sort of place that a team could work really well together if they were staying at the hotel and, from past experience, this can be a real benefit.
Last, but by no means least, it was time to check out the executive lounge. Accessed from the fourth floor, but also extending to the fifth, this lounge felt like it actually had a purpose and wasn’t just there to tick a box.
There are a couple of PCs available for use within the lounge.
and a few seating areas with comfortable sofas for relaxing.
This is the dining area within the lounge, with views towards the city.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to sample any food, other than some light snacks, as I had breakfast downstairs in the restaurant, but there is all day service in the lounge for tea, coffee and soft drinks, served by real people, which is a really nice touch.
This lovely set of stairs takes you from the lounge reception to the fifth floor and in the background you can see the winter garden, which is what I spotted, albeit in the dark, on the way to my room the previous evening.
At the top of the stairs there is a private meeting room, which can be hired by the hour.
Anyone reading this from the US and, to some extent, the UK, will know that Hilton lounges seem to be a dying breed. The hotels that still have them have really cut back, almost to the point where you wonder if they’re worthwhile anymore. Hotels in Asia, on the other hand, still have some amazing lounges. Conrads in Bangkok and Singapore, for example, the Doubletree in Kuala Lumpur and the Hilton in Brisbane all have great lounges, with good food and high quality drinks. I’m really looking forward to trying more lounges in some of the hotels in India over the next couple of weeks for comparison.
It was now after 12pm and time for me to leave. Check out was quick and easy, with nothing to pay, other than my room rate. I now had the long drive to Pune to ‘look forward’ to! I checked with the hotel to see how much a car would cost and they quoted my around 9,000 rupees for the 4-5 hours journey, which I thought was quite reasonable until I checked Uber – It was quoting just 1,800 rupees, which is roughly £20. Annoyingly, though, I couldn’t make the booking – Uber kept throwing up a fault. In the end, I had to change my payment method to cash before it would accept the fare. It seems that Uber drivers in India don’t accept credit cards. Finally a driver accepted and was on his way to meet me so I could start the next stage of the trip.
Flightguys verdict – Hilton Mumbai
Room booked – Standard king
Room received – King executive
Price paid – Approx. £60/night (5,376 INR, including tax and service)
As an airport hotel, particularly with Hilton status, this stay was hard to beat. Service was great, the room was lovely and the bed was extremely comfortable. Add in free breakfast and executive lounge access and the value for money, at less than £60 for the night, was incredible.
The hotel is really beautiful, the facilities are top notch and proximity to the airport makes this one really easy to recommend. I just wish they’d heat the pool!