While you sailed away for the holidays this season, Hotel Harbour View in Colaba quietly went under the knife. The bandages are now off and the result is a sexy Art Deco boutique hotel, a great place to find your sea legs in 2018.
Gills and gulls haunt Harbour View, right from the deep blue sea splashed across their website to the view of the marina from the roof and nautical fittings inside the hotel. Peek through a brass porthole of this restored Art Deco building and you will see 15 rooms spread across the second and third floors (the bottom half of the building still belongs to the slightly dubious Strand Hotel). We toured two sea-facing rooms to find striking grey and gold chambers, with lessons in how to do nautical and botanical themes without being overt.
Palm leaves rustle on wallpapers; chairs have stories to tell from the 1920s and drapes are dipped in pigments of the ocean. Imagine well-lit, spacious rooms swaddled in clean, white linen, with attached bathrooms where a handsome toiletry kit is the first sign that attention has and will be paid to detail. And with room rates hovering around the Rs. 7,000 mark (excluding taxes), could this be South Bombay’s new Abode? Note: Be warned that all room photos currently up on their website are stock ones; the chamber that overlooks the Eiffel Tower should be your first clue.
Imagine well-lit, spacious rooms swaddled in clean, white linen, with attached bathrooms where a handsome toiletry kit is the first sign that attention has and will be paid to detail.
Proximity to the Gateway Of India, the seaside promenade and Causeway, plus other Colaba monuments like The Table and Raw Mango, makes Hotel Harbour View a great option for out-of-towners.
Upstairs, the hotel’s all-day Bayview Café – for long now one of Bombay’s prettiest spots to perch – has also reaped the benefits of this be-back-in-a-flash transformation. This writer has been visiting since a decade, and is happy to report that while much has changed, other favourite relics have been retained, including Gopal, Bayview’s best employee. First the new: an Art Deco-inspired logo; prettier and more comfortable tables and chairs; a bigger al fresco section; cleaner rest rooms; and maritime accents like mirrors fashioned out of portholes.
Gopal and other old timers will guide you through the menu; they still serve only wine and beer, and the kitchen continues to focus on food favoured by the tipsy. There’s paneer chilli, cheese chilli toast, pahadi chicken tikka, hakka noodles, kheema pav and like every good old-school Bombay restaurant, they recommend “vaneela” ice cream for dessert.
For new fancy guests, menu additions include pain au chocolat for breakfast, Mediterranean salad and charmoula chicken mayo sandwiches at tea time, and fish & chips for lunch.
Will you take the bait?
Getting there: Hotel Harbour View and Bayview Café, opposite The Bombay Presidency Radio Club Ltd, 25P Ramchandani Margh, Colaba, call 6119-2222, visitwww.hotelharbourview.in, cafe is open daily from 8 am-midnight. The establishment only serves beer and wine, with Bira White priced at Rs. 275 for 330ml. A meal for two with drinks won’t cost more than Rs. 2,000.
Accessibility: Rooftop access with a ramp and elevator through the hotel entrance. No parking inside the hotel.
Prerna Makhija is a former Time Out Mumbai and Mint Lounge journalist, presently working as a freelance restaurant critic and lifestyle writer.
Photo Credit: Jayshree Bhagat
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