Thursday, April 01, 2010

Welcome to the New Taj Mahal Hotel

The Taj Mahal Hotel has been a favorite haunt for a long time. Not because I can afford it, but because of the many corporate sops that came my humble way over the years. So this article in Livemint announcing the opening of The Ballroom, Harbour Bar, Golden Dragon and the Sea Lounge was heartening news for me as I have very pleasant memories of times spent in these spots. When it's the Taj I don't look at my wallet, even if I am broke, and my plate has only a few morsels to scrape for the rest of the month, I lounge in the Sea Lounge and browse at the Nalanda bookshop (the best bookshop by far) because I know I am welcome here and the service is excellent, not discriminating like it is elsewhere. That's because The Taj was built as the Tatas felt discriminated by the English institutions like the Hotel Majestic around it and wanted a place where Indians would feel accepted. (Hotel Majestic, a stone's throw away, which was the Englishmen's discriminatory bastion in those days is a decrepit building today, housing the Apna Bazar and a lot of grime. Its dance floor is scraped and unpolished and houses plastic gee-gaws and sundry domestic appliances.) That being the basic premise, the food is good, the service is unobtrusive and excellent, and the ambience, well, The Taj has an ambience that no hotel in Bombai can rival. So welcome back, dowager queen of hotels and hospitality institutions. May you live for ever.

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