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25.09.2018

When we walk in, the house is filled with Saturday smells, cardamom and crayons and a whiff of the ocean.

“We’re baking cookies,” explains Tarini Mohindar, partner at Café Zoe and tenant of the sole apartment inside the iconic Sea Green Hotel on Marine Drive, which she shares with her husband, two dogs and her five year old daughter, who’s currently zooming around on her tricycle, ponytails flying, fingers coated in sugar. “The only other people who live in the building are the hotel owners,” Tarini says.

We learn of the hidden top-floor apartment during a boozy lunch at Café Zoe (they launched their new menu recently), and enchanted by the idea of a secret home in the hotel we’ve walked past all our lives, browbeat an invite. “I have dibs if they ever decide to move,” warns Jeremie Horowitz, the other half of Café Zoe, looking at us sternly as we spoon up tiramisu.

***

“It’s really great when we have guests,” Tarini points out about the benefits of living in a hotel. “We just book a room and it becomes an extension of our home.” The apartment itself is a roomy two bedroom with a sliver of a sea view out the bedroom balcony and a large kitchen. We’re hanging in the living room balcony, which looks out onto the neatly manicured Cricket Club of India grounds, partially covered by a solar-paneled roof. Can they watch cricket matches from up here? “No, but we can certainly hear them,” Tarini says wryly.

We’re hanging in the living room balcony, which looks out onto the neatly manicured Cricket Club of India grounds, partially covered by a solar-paneled roof. Can they watch cricket matches from up here? “No, but we can certainly hear them,” Tarini says wryly.

Other sounds that often waft up are courtesy of the Symphony Orchestra of India, which not only performs concerts at the CCI grounds, but also stays at Sea Green whenever they’re in town, along with a motley crew of other guests including shoppers from Saudi Arabia and suits from Mohali. “We got invited to an SOI party in one of the rooms once,” Tarini reminisces. We dig for details, imagining a debauched scene straight out of Mozart In The Jungle. She only smiles.

***

The Sea Green Hotel started out as an apartment building, Tarini tells us, but it was taken over by the British and turned into living quarters for members of the army. Post independence, the residents were invited back, one of who realised that the new layout with its single rooms, was better suited to a hotel. He gradually bought over the property and turned it into a hotel. His grandson, a Mr Pesi Sidwa, still owns it.

“The staff here is old-school, and has been around forever,” Tarini tells us. She also often spies gorgeous Art Deco furniture in the hallways, earmarked for repairs and polishing, pulled out of hotel rooms that are clean, reasonably priced and humongous by Mumbai standards, if a bit tackily decorated. Not to mention the prime Marine Drive location.

She also often spies gorgeous Art Deco furniture in the hallways, earmarked for repairs and polishing, pulled out of hotel rooms that are clean, reasonably priced and humongous by Mumbai standards, if a bit tackily decorated.

Consider staying here and you’ll have to deal with thick polyester curtains that do their best to block out the uninterrupted sea views, but you might also run into Tarini in the elevator and score some freshly-baked cardamom cookies. PS: she’s the one with the wide smile and deep dimples.

Getting there: Sea Green Hotel, 145 Marine Drive, call 66336525, rooms start at approximately Rs 4,100 per night.

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