Part of the territory that comes along with running a travel site is staying in hotels. We’ve stayed in more hotels than you could easily count, on virtually every continent with the exception of Antarctica- and that’s just in the last three months. But a hotel is not a home. While many hotels have left stunning, lasting impressions (we’re looking at you – Viceroy Bali and Andaz Tokyo) none left a feeling of true sadness upon departure. Until yesterday.
Now before you go there – this is not about perks. Like many guests, we’ve regularly received kind welcome amenities or small upgrades – but those things are irrelevant here and are non factors and you’ll soon know why. This was about an inimitable feeling. A joy, an exploration and the power of gracious interaction and hospitality. Give yourself to them: and they will give you all they’ve got.
The Oberoi brand is built on personalization and guest experience. After a conversation with General Manager Anupam Dasgupta, I gained a unique insight into why every guest leaves feeling as if they were the most important person in the hotel. In short: every interaction is a learning experience. A casual chat, an elevator ride or a comment during a meal can lead to an incredible opportunity to make a guests day or leave a lasting impression. And opportunities are rarely missed.
But it was the seemingly effortless anticipation which took this stay to a level of excellence I won’t soon see again. Scatter brained, I booked a spice market and cooking class tour without considering that I’d need to check out during the tour. Moments before departing for the tour, I asked about the possibility of a late check out. It had already been done. After finishing the truly inspiring tour, it occurred to me we needed to book an airport ride. It had, of course – already been taken care of.
And the restaurants – just wow. Truly authentic Italian food prepared by a regarded Italian chef in Vetro was fantastic. But then so was an inspiring exploration of Indian flavor in Ziya, curated by Vineet Bhatia, the first chef to receive a Michelin star cooking Indian food – and the “have it your way” – but in a very refined way – approach of Fenix. And the breakfast… well, it’s a good thing most airlines don’t weigh passengers.
Anupam Dagsupta described Mumbai as a soulful city and I now must agree. It’s not the greatest city in the world, but the spirit and positivity of it’s people bring an unforgettable charm and beauty. As we wove our way through Mumbai traffic, I couldn’t help but hope that I had made as positive and enjoyable an impact on hotel staff as they had made on us. I’ve never felt that way. Mumbai is not the top destination on my bucket list, but The Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai certainly is.
If there’s a better hotel than this – I’d sure love to see it.
Thank you to: Anupam, Stella, Siidharth, Sagar, Sameer, Nayna, Aditya and the rest of the delightful team, whose names I am embarrassingly failing to recall.