March 2017 | Namrata Narasimhan

The icon stands tall

The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai exemplifies a unique tradition of graciousness and luxury. A look at some of the facets that make the iconic hotel so special

The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, epitomises the concept of ‘Tajness’, the Taj group’s operational philosophy for the future that blends the nobility of Indian heritage with local cultures to deliver an unparalleled experience to guests. We take a look at some of the facets that make the Taj Mahal Palace so special.

  • The dome: The red-tiled Florentine dome of The Taj Mahal Palace is crafted from the same steel used to strengthen the Eiffel Tower. The massive 240-feet high central dome covers a stairwell with a cantilevered staircase that rises the entire height of the building.
  • Colonial corridors: An extraordinary arrangement of galleries, laced together with Edwardian and Gujarati trellises and balustrades, run from one end of the building to the other from the second floor up to the roof. Opening onto these galleries are extended rows of doors which, when the hotel was first built, were arches.
  • Shamiana: The restaurant reopened in its original location in 2016, after a span of 16 years. When it opened in 1973, the Shamiana was known to locals and guests as the first all-day dining space in Mumbai. The interiors inspired by a shamiana (a tent-like canopy) suitably highlight the chic all-day dining experience.
  • The Rajput suite: Guests who cross the golden gates of the suite are transported into a timeless era of Rajasthani opulence. Textured and luxurious, this heritage suite is designed for royalty. From the delicately laced headboard to the gold-engraved sinks; from the sheesh mahal (glass palace) inspired study to the hand-painted peacock, this suite is the epitome of understated elegance. Once home to the legendary couple John Lennon and Yoko Ono and superstar duo Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the Rajput Suite shields many stories behind its doors.
  • The Taj Art Gallery: The Taj Art Gallery reopened after 25 years in January 2016. For decades, it had been a coveted location to display art, and many a famous artist have graced this gallery with their masterpieces. Eminent artist Laxman Shreshtha had his first solo show at the gallery in 1963, and in 2016, he was the guest of honour at the relaunch of the new gallery.
  • The ballroom: The most historic venue at the Taj Mahal Palace, the ballroom faces the majestic Gateway of India. Pillars adorned with gold leaves, graceful arches and high ceilings exude an aura of luxury. The ballroom has witnessed many a significant moment in Indian history — and to name one, it was here that Lord Mountbatten gave his farewell speech before leaving the shores of India.
  • The Tata suite: Created to honour Tata group Founder Jamsetji Tata, the awe-inspiring 5,000 square feet Tata suite opened in 2010. The first guest welcomed to the suite was US President Barack Obama on his first official tour of India. It comes equipped with a gymnasium, state-of-the-art technology and an in-suite spa by Jiva. Redolent with luxury and graciously appointed spaces filled with precious art befitting the architectural magnificence of the building, the suite provides an unforgettable stay.

This article was first published in the October - December 2016 issue of Tata Review. Read the ebook here