Heading to India and wondering where to stay in Mumbai? We have you covered with our insiders guide to the best places to stay in Mumbai from hotels near the Mumbai airport to hotels in Bandra and beyond. Some of the best hotels in the city are not located in the main tourist areas, but we will convince you why it’s worth it to step out of the tourist zone just a bit on your next visit.
This Insider’s Guide to Mumbai series is loaded with information to help you visit and explore this expansive and vibrant city like a local. After living as an expat for so many years, I found that to really get to know a city quickly you need to stay outside of the tourist zones and hang out and eat where the locals do. You will never get a fully local experience from just a visit, but this guide series will help you see a bit of the soul that runs deep beneath this eclectic metropolis.
Where to Stay for the Best Hotels in Mumbai
Mumbai is chock full of hotels, so how do you know which one to choose? The main tourist sites are located in South Mumbai and subsequently this is where most tourists tend to flock. However, our recommendation is to stay in the northern suburbs. You will have access to western foods, people who speak English and places catering to foreigners (expats more than tourists), but you won’t have the touts chasing you down the street asking you to buy a drum. Trust me, you will get plenty of that when you are in South Mumbai visiting the sites!
Read on for our top picks on where to stay in Mumbai – from the northern suburbs to the tourist areas of Colaba.
Hotels in Bandra and North Mumbai
There are a ton of options on where to stay in Mumbai, but if you want to be where the locals are and in a hip area, you should considering staying in Bandra and/or North Mumbai. My former home was in Bandra so I tend to enjoy staying in this area the most.
JW Marriott: Super Family Friendly & Best Bang for Your Buck
If you book well in advance, and sometimes even at the last minute, you can snag great deals on a stay at the JW Marriott, including options with the delicious breakfast buffet (worth the extra money!). Located well out of the tourist zones of South Mumbai, this is a favorite for longer stay business travelers, but it is also a great spot for families. There is a kids club, kids pool with a slide and plenty of western food options at the restaurants. This is a local hangout for Bollywood celebrities and expats alike. The staff are amazing and will cater to your every need, just ask. This is my preferred hotel on all of my visits to Mumbai.
Le Sutra Hotel: A Beautiful Boutique Hotel
Le Sutra, formerly Pali Hills Hotel, is set in the middle of Bandra/Khar right above Olive Restaurant, one of the best known Bollywood hangouts. This neighborhood gem is small, but well appointed and will truly give you a feeling of living in Mumbai. You will be minutes away from the Arabian Sea. With cafes, boutique shops and playgrounds for the kids, it’s a cozy neighborhood to get accustomed to Mumbai.
The Taj Lands End
For those looking to stay a bit higher end, but not as far north as the JW Marriott, we highly recommend checking out the Taj Lands End. Not as opulent as its sister hotel in town, the Taj Lands End is still a beautiful high end hotel worth checking out.
The Grand Hyatt in Bandra-Kurla used to be out in the middle of nowhere. It was a place we would venture to to visit friends who lived in their long term suites or for a holiday meal. Now, this is right in the middle of the action of the BKC area with hopping restaurants and bars. This area feels much less like Mumbai in that it’s less hectic. It also is less walkable. You will need or want access to Uber or a car in my opinion. That said, the hotel is beautiful, opulent and perfect for families visiting the city.
Novotel in Juhu
For those on a midrange budget there aren’t a ton of options, however the Novotel in Juhu is a good option. Located near Juhu Beach this area is hopping at night and the weekends with locals coming to enjoy the beach. It offers easy access to restaurants and bars in Bandra as well as access to the airport.
A decent mid-range option in Bandra that is only minutes from the bustling markets on Linking Street is the Executive Enclave. This hotel offers a great option for those wishing to stay in the middle of the action in Bandra without a hefty price tag. You can easily walk to Pali Market area, Linking Road as well as Carter Road. Otherwise, there are an abundance of autos waiting to whisk you to your destination. Note, during holidays this hotel can be quiet noisy as it’s located on a busy road in an active neighborhood.
When I lived in Mumbai, Waterstones was a country club of sorts. Now, it is a gorgeous boutique hotel that is the perfect place to stay when you want to be close to the international airport or just have a quick stopover in the city.
Best Hotels in South Mumbai
If you just can’t bare staying outside of the tourist zones, head to Colaba in South Mumbai. Even with all of the hassle of touts in this area, these hotels will make you forget the noise and chaos once you enter the door.
Taj Mahal Palace & Tower
The Taj Mahal Tower and Hotel is where the rich and famous stay when they come to town. If you can afford a night or more at this hotel so rich in history, opulence and city culture, you will be doing a disservice not to. Ask for a room with a view over the sea. While I don’t usually recommend places right in the middle of the tourist areas, this is an exception. This hotel is a must see. Even if you don’t stay here, hang out in the lobby for a while soaking up their luxurious air conditioning while getting a much needed respite from the touts and the humidity!
The Four Seasons Mumbai
The Four Seasons is located in the center of town around Lower Parel. This is a perfect location for those wishing to visit both south and north Mumbai and not be right in the middle of the tourist zones. Traffic here is notoriously terrible, but other than that, this up and coming area is filled with great places to eat, bars to party the night away as well as western style malls all right next door to things like the Mahalaxmi Ghats that is steeped in history.
Abode Boutique Hotel
In South Mumbai there have always been the two ends of the spectrum – high end luxury chain hotels and small backpacker grottos. Now South Mumbai has its own gorgeous boutique hotel catering to the savvy design oriented traveller. The Abode is not far from the Taj, so again centered in the tourist area, but it will provide a luxurious stay at a reasonable price.
Other Options on the Best Places to Stay in Mumbai
All over the world people are choosing to stay in privately owned apartments or homes rather than hotels. If you are new to India and not sure how to manage, I would definitely recommend staying in a hotel so that you have 24 hour access to hotel staff for advice on getting around. However, if you are not an India novice, I highly recommend booking an Airbnb (use this code if you aren’t signed up yet to get up to $23 off!). It is often much cheaper, allows you access to a fridge, washing machine and the ability to stay in neighborhoods where there aren’t a ton of hotels (like Bandra!)
Mumbai is not a dangerous city considering it’s population and size. However there are definitely more desirable areas to stay than others, which is difficult to discern for someone who has never visited. The areas we would recommend are: Bandra, Juhu and Santa Cruz in the north and Colaba, Lower Parel and Worli in the south. There are a ton of other places to stay of course, but these are easy for tourists to manage with plenty of resources to get around easily.
Things to Consider When Booking an Airbnb in Mumbai
If you are interested in booking an Airbnb, I would make sure to consider the following points:
- Check for air conditioner – Know that most buildings in Mumbai do not have central AC, instead relying on window units and/or split AC units. If you need cold air to sleep, make sure to ask how many AC units are in the apartment and in which rooms as it is not always in every room
- Does your unit come with 24 hour hot water? Yes, this is something that you need to consider as older buildings do not get water all day every day and thus will not have hot water all day long.
- Does your unit come with a maid service? In most Airbnb units in Mumbai there will be an option to utilize a daily housekeeping service. This typically is the owners help at their own house, but it is nice to have someone come clean!
- Does the building have an elevator? Not all buildings in Mumbai have elevators, so make sure it does if you feel you will need one.
Other things to keep in mind while booking apartment units in Mumbai include the bathroom. Often the shower is over the toilet area making for a very wet bathroom after a shower. If this bothers you, then make sure to look carefully at the photos and/or ask the owners.
Also pay attention to other amenities such as beds and kitchen facilities if you are particular about any of these things. Accommodation in India is not always to the same standard as one might be accustomed.
Airbnb Mumbai Listings
If you are looking to stay in Mumbai longer and/or feel more like a local, check out airbnb.com’s Mumbai listings. If you haven’t signed up yet, sign up using this code for up to $23 off your stay. There are some really great places in Bandra/Juhu as well as down in South Mumbai. In our experience, you need to book these quite early to get the best options.
OTHER POSTS IN THE INSIDERS GUIDE TO MUMBAI
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