The Leela is a truly luxurious hotel located minutes from the international terminal of Mumbai airport by car, and approximately 15 minutes by car from the domestic terminal of the same airport.
I found it to be a perfect transit hotel for my night-time arrival from the US. The disorientation of exiting the airport after a 16 hour flight from Newark was soon fixed by the sign-bearing Leela driver and the immaculately dressed host who greeted me and took me to the hotel in a car (a BMW, no less). Everything in the hotel met with expectation - the quick check in, the attentive service that was not intrusive, the well-appointed room with an exceptional bathroom, the quality of the late-night room service meal. The only slightly off-putting thing is the airport-like security to enter the hotel, but I suppose that this is unavoidable after the horrible terrorist attack on hotels and train stations of a few years ago.
I also stayed here for a day and a night before catching my flight leaving India. Again, the hotel met and even exceeded expectation, but this time I took a walk for an hour and a half outside the hotel. Like any place in Mumbai, the environment is vibrant, but my several-year absence from Mumbai had left me unprepared for the noise, the traffic, the whiffs of sewer smells, the muddy sidewalks (when the sidewalk was not dug up, forcing me into the chaotic traffic), the garbage through which one is forced to walk. I went into the back streets and at one point I was a little concerned about being able to get away without being separated from some money to be “volunteered” as a donation. Bottom line - this is a harsher view of Mumbai than one gets if one stays in one of the fancy hotels downtown. Don’t plan to leave the hotel complex on foot unless you want to immerse yourself in an environment that cannot be described as pleasant, interesting though it might be.
The relevance of the environment to my two stays at the hotel is that one has no real choice but to eat inside unless one hires a car and drives somewhere. Downtown Mumbai is too far away for a casual drive, and I found myself spending as much as the hotel room rent on food and on transportation to the airport (the initial pickup was free but I paid a hefty fee for the other three pickups and drop offs). Everything inside the hotel was quite expensive by US standards, but I did not begrudge a rupee I spent because the food was great and the two restaurants that I ate in provided nice environments to sit and relax in. Finally, the fitness center is superb and free - one of the best hotel fitness centers I have been in anywhere, with two levels and many machines and a watchful staff. I was even able to use the fitness center near midnight upon arrival from the US. In conclusion, a very soothing beginning and end to my short trip to India
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Within the bustling heart of India’s commercial and entertainment mecca lays one of the finest luxury hotels in Mumbai. Nestled within the tranquillity of 11 acres of lush landscaped gardens and cascading waterfalls, The Leela Mumbai is a shimmering beacon amongst Mumbai hotels.Only five minutes away from Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport and 15 minutes from Mumbai’s domestic airport, the Leela Mumbai is well equipped with world class facilities and warm, friendly service providing the ideal gateway from which to explore northern Mumbai’s commercial hub. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Leela Mumbai Hotel Mumbai (Bombay)
- Mumbai Hotel Leela