Taj Hotels is a chain of luxury hotels incorporated-by Jamsetji Tata, the founder of the Tata Group. In 1903, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, launched the first Taj hotel, Taj Mahal Palace, overlooking the Arabian Sea in Mumbai. Some say Tata initiated Taj Hotels after encountering racial discrimination at Watson Mumbai, where he was denied admission as the hotel only allowed Europeans. A common practice across British India then! Post-independence in 1973, Taj Tower was added, instinctively establishing a niche into the Mumbai cityscapes with its jagged diadem, Tanjore pillars and 14th-century arched balconies.
In 2002 Taj Hotels took over the Regent Hotel overlooking the Arabian Sea and transformed it into Taj Lands End in the centre of the throbbing life of Bandra. And the newest addition to this list of luxuriant abodes was launched in 2016 that goes by the name, Taj Santacruz, huddled in the centre of the city, extending spectacular runway views from the city’s largest rooms. Back in 1903, Jamsetji Tata travelled to Berlin, London, Paris and Düsseldorf to put in order, pieces of art and furniture, to have the best interior decor material for his hotel.
The legacy still prevails after 113 years as Taj Santacruz embraces Palatial and Art Deco designs, neither overstated nor underplayed. Just a plain amalgamation of traditions that unites vintage with modernism. Close to the airport and sitting over 1.75 acres, Taj Santacruz, not only, offers exceptional runway landscapes but also, delectable cuisines and handcrafted beverages. Here’s an account of my stay at the property.
The exteriors of Taj Santacruz are draped in Renaissance-inspired creams and neutrals and laced with elaborate wall designs. This setting gradually unfolds into Jeffrey Wilkes’ and Hafeez Contractor’ original interior designing paired with the ‘Galaxy of the Stars’ lighting concept. The unfettered aesthetics create an extravagant spectrum with its centrepiece chandelier, Lira, starring 3500 hand-blown glass rods.
Lira has been designed, by the Italian architect Dino Antonello wherein, the Chandelier next to the reception, is the piece of work by Roberto Cavalli. The chandeliers inside the private dining room, business centre and the banquet area are all made in Italian Iris Crystal. The ‘Tree of Life,’ in Tiqri restaurant is designed, by Lasvit and Spectrum.
From awe-inspiring crystal-pendant chandeliers to an enticing food menu, adventures loosen at Taj Santacruz as you wander from one global mound to another. I am not sure what left me impressed most – the grand setting, the warm hospitality or the finger-licking cuisine. Or all! The food at Taj Santacruz is a culinary treat; where Chefs cook their best to revive the flavours of Earth. They use age-old cooking techniques to modern-age pieces of equipment to take your palate by a storm. Take a look at all the in-house restaurants that will make you fall in love with Taj Santacruz.
Rivea: Italian and French Speciality Ristorante
Restaurant Rivea is a sweet throwback to Italian and French palates that allow you to take your tastebuds from Southern France to Northwestern Italy with dishes like Classical Bouillabaisse with Garlic Brioche Croutons, Genovese Minestrone with Fresh Pesto, Goat Cheese Ravioli and so on. The ambience thrives with lingering aromas of olives, leitmotif, rosemary, sage, marjoram and thyme.
Rivea translates to ‘coastline,’ and this Taj restaurant is packed, with seafood specialities that mime the most-dependable version of the shoreline. I’d rather, settle for an elaborate 5-course meal, as Italians and French do, to use mealtime togetherness to talk and socialise. Sure is a delightful way of life!
The sidewall starring, architecture of wine is unmissable with its 60 varieties of Spanish, Italian, and French wines on display. To get the taste of premium table wines, hit Rivea’s exquisite Wine Library – Enoteca.
Tiqri Restaurant, Bar and Lounge
Cloaked in a century-old Rajasthani artform, Tiqri by Taj is a restaurant where you can relish the best of regional, national and international cuisines. The highlight of this restaurant is its colossal 60 feet tall and 40 feet wide Tiqri “Tree of Life,” built from 4000 pieces of cracked mirrors. Their Sunday Brunch with Brut or Rosé Champagne is the show stealer!
China Inc Taj Santacruz
China INC by Taj Santacruz is the first Sichuan Speciality establishment in North Mumbai. If Asian food is your thing then you must let, China INC impress you with its extraordinary presentations and tastes. These are produced, by using regional and imported veggies, exotic herbs, fresh produce and a thoughtful selection of meats, poultry and seafood chosen by the Executive Chef. Sichuan Chicken, Five Spice Tofu, Asparagus Pearls, Skewered Chilli Butter Garlic Prawns, Truffle Dumplings and Steamed Edamame are some of the dishes you ‘simply’ can’t miss. To turn your dinner into a special occasion, pair your food with a Fine Italian Spumante, Merlot, Pinot Noir or German Riesling Wine. I also love Szechuan Smash and Sanlituntini, the signature cocktails.
Dining at these restaurants was thoroughly followed by a lavish stay in a runway-view junior suite that seamlessly blends luxury with comfort and lets you watch an aeroplane take off from the comfort of your bed.