Last month, I attended an event at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, meaning I needed to spend a couple of nights in the north of the city. The nearby Leela Mumbai seemed a good bet.
About The Leela Mumbai
The Leela is one of a number of luxury five-star hotels located in the immediate vicinity of Mumbai airport, making it a good choice for those on business as well as travellers with early or late flights.
It is an older, resort-style hotel with 390 bedrooms and it describes itself as “Mumbai’s only resort-style business hotel”.
There’s plenty of competition nearby, with five-star competitor properties including ITC Maratha, the Hyatt Regency and the LaLiT.
The Leela is located in Andheri East, just 1.5kms from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
Booking and check in
I booked a Premier, City View room via hotels.com at a cost of £227 (approximately INR 20,800) for two nights, including breakfast, around two weeks prior to my stay.
I was arriving late at night on a flight with Virgin Atlantic from London and had pre-booked an airport pick up from the hotel at a charge of INR 840 (including taxes), for transfer by Toyota Corolla.
Leaving the airport building, I quickly spotted the Leela staff waiting outside the arrivals hall and in less than five minutes I was at the hotel.
After a long flight, it was great to have arrived at my destination in just a few minutes.
At 1.45am, check in was fast (as to be expected) and my luggage was sent straight up to the room.
The lobby was pretty grand, and there were several nice flower displays.
The room was small (around 270-sq-foot), but good enough. The bed was large and the bedding good quality.
There was a desk in the room, but the charge points in the room were limited and there were none of the UK-style sockets you’ll find in other hotels.
Housekeeping was good, and turn down service was offered, with slippers placed by the bed each evening.
The bathroom was a decent size and had a tub as well as a walk-in, wet-room style shower.
The wardrobe was a little on the small size but perfectly adequate for my needs on a short stay.
Overall, the room was perfectly functional for this in-out business trip, but the size meant you probably wouldn’t want to spend too much time in the room if you were there for leisure or for an extended period.
Wifi is complimentary for all hotel guests.
The Leela Mumbai pool
Before breakfast on the first morning I took the chance to check out the swimming pool and have a quick dip before I started my day.
To access the pool, you take the elevator to the lobby level, then exit through doors located by walking through The Lobby Lounge.
Despite the warm weather at the time, the pool was pretty cold initially. Once you got moving, it was lovely and it felt a treat to be able to swim outdoors amid the hustle and bustle of Mumbai.
The pool was a little dirty first thing, but there was a guy on duty, fishing out the debris with a net.
Sun loungers were already set up with towels, which I liked.
The Leela Mumbai breakfast at Citrus
On both mornings there was a wait of a few minutes to get into Citrus, where breakfast is served.
To help alleviate your wait, the hotel provides a card in the room, warning guests of heavy traffic in the breakfast restaurant between 8am and 9.30am on regular days, and between 9am and 11am on weekends and holidays.
Unfortunately, the breakfast experience was pretty average, despite there being a large number of items available on the buffet.
Coffee was made using a Lavazza machine, but Earl Grey tea was not available.
The food was nothing special, and the fresh melon and pineapple were under-ripe. I did enjoy having a freshly-cooked masala omelette each morning.
As a point of comparison, the breakfast service at the next Mumbai hotel I stayed in (ITC Grand Central) was streets ahead. There, staff would greet you by name, remember what hot drink you like, and ask you what dishes they can get for you from the kitchen.
I also noted that Leela was still using plastic drinks bottles, unlike a number of other Mumbai hotels.
The Leela Mumbai’s other facilities
Aside from breakfast, I didn’t take any other meals or have drinks at the hotel.
As a hotels.com gold member, my stay included 15% off food and non-alcoholic beverages and the same discount on spa services (though in the end I didn’t have time to take advantage of either).
As well as The Lobby Lounge, the hotel has a bar, Six Degrees, as well as four restaurants (Citrus, Jamavar, Le Cirque Signature and The Great Wall), each offering a different cuisine.
Outside The Lobby Lounge, there was plenty of seating, as well as a cool-looking bar.
There was also a spa, ESPA, and a Salon offering hair grooming and facial treatments:
When I came to check out, the hotel didn’t charge me for the pick-up from the airport on the first night. I asked the agent about it but my comment must have been lost in translation because he then enquired which airport terminal I was asking to be taken to!
I decided I didn’t want to try that hard to pay, so I left it.
I really enjoyed the pool and the resort-feel of The Leela Mumbai, but the small size of the entry-level rooms might put me off in future.
Breakfast was just OK, and there was no personalised service from the restaurant staff.
The stay was fine, and the hotel definitely provides a pocket of tranquility in a very hectic city, but the shortcomings mean I might be tempted to try another nearby property next time, just for variety.
If I did return, however, I would like to make time to enjoy all the facilities the hotel has to offer.