In our experience on the road, I touched on the fact we pre-booked an airport transfer, because of India’s recent cash crisis – we did the same with our hotel. We went for a big international name, knowing we could get ourselves on our feet. It’s way out of our budget for the rest of the rest of our year on the road but all the staff have made it money well spent.
It turns out the cash issues are no longer a problem, but when we booked, there were stories of people going days without being able to access cash.
We’ve been very ably assisted by Prateek, a charming young man who has gone out of his way to be helpful. He called us a “local cab – no air conditioning” took us to the driver on arrival and explained the metering system.
The drivers can be prone to not turning it on and then negotiating a fair at the end – a classic tourist trap. Others will offer to negotiate a fixed fare upfront, we did this yesterday. I know we paid over the odds, but I was desperate to get out of the heat and find a toilet. Anyway, the fare was around $2 NZD instead of 75c a mistake I was happy to make.
Prateek helped us find a local mall with a number of eateries, and happily pointed out his favourites. He seemed reluctant to point us to local cuisine – we explained that was exactly what we were here for. We happened upon a bar/restaurant called “Social” where we had a huge meal and a couple of beers for around $20 NZD. As promised the food was delicious and full of flavour.
We wanted to get set up with SIM cards, of our three months in Asia, India is where we will spend the most time. Unfortunately, unlike New Zealand, prepaid SIM cards require a bit more process in India. We knew this ahead of time and the conierge was more than happy to put together a pack of all the documents we’d need. I’ll write a post soon about what you need to know when it comes to getting your mobile sorted in India.
The other staff we’ve interacted with have been very friendly, keen to offer advice and genuinely surprised that we’re happy to walk in the heat and eat the street food. Most of the guests here seem to be business people, so it’s easy to see why they might be intrigued by two young Kiwis looking to see the “real Mumbai”. They take the time to remember us, and make the effort to ask about our experiences when we return.
The rooms are what you would expect of a modern, inner city hotel. They’re spacious, clean and have all the amenities you might need, with the pleasant surprise of many plug adapters. Right now, I’m writing poolside in the shade, eating a tasty meal, while Sarah swims.
We’re assured the the Four Seasons Mumbai’s rooftop bar is a must see. It’s some 30 plus floors up, so a stop for a nightcap is on the cards for tonight.
If you’re visiting Mumbai, and you’ve got the budget, we can definitely recommend the Four Seasons, the staff, facilities and location make it well worthwhile.