Staycation at Hotel Taj Santacruz, Mumbai

April 6, 2017 Shubhreet
 What do you do when you want a vacation but don’t have enough time for one? Staycation! And that’s exactly what we did! Well, if I’m being completely honest, we also had Amex Credit Card points that were about to expire and could be used for a hefty discount at any Taj Hotel or Resort. 😉

So we did what any parent with a riot of a toddler would do to get a break from the daily hustle – We checked out Taj Hotels in Mumbai for the best deals while dreaming of a night away in 5-star luxury! Then we called up Taj customer care. We were actually thinking between Taj Colaba and Taj Lands End. But the customer care executive recommended the new Taj Santacruz which is located right next to the airport. They had a Holi Staycation package and rooms with a runway view. Given how nicely she answered all our questions and gave personal feedback on everything, we went with her suggestion.

Saturday came and off we went with our bags in our car just half hour away from home. It sounds silly but bear with me and read on…

Before I get into a detailed review, let me give you few bullets on the best parts of our staycation. And let me specify, this is NOT a PAID review. The staycation was not on the house and Taj had no idea I’m writing this. We were treated like any other guest (because we were…).

Highlights:

  • Big Rooms – Taj Santacruz has the biggest rooms out of all the Taj Hotels in Mumbai. Even their cheapest rooms are much bigger in size than the mid-ranged ones in other Mumbai Taj Hotels.
  • Runway View – You can watch planes take off and land from the bed. The view is even better at the window and there is zero noise from the runway. My daughter Karma had a blast watching the aeroplanes.
  • Great Staff – This might not be important to some people but it changes our experience when we deal with friendly, cheerful and helpful staff. Everyone starting from the receptionists to cleaning staff to pool staff was not only cordial but went out of their way to assist us.
  • Breakfast Buffet – There’s a lot of variety in the breakfast buffet and the food was really good.
  • After Service – We left Karma’s teddy in our room when we checked out. It’s her hospital teddy and her first ever toy. It goes everywhere with her, even school! Taj Santacruz emailed us after the cleaners found her toy in our room even before we could report it to them. We asked them if it can be couriered to us and two days later, Tey The Teddy found his way home thanks to the good people at Taj. Full points just for that!

Now lets get on with the full review.

Hotel
The lobby looks nice with an aquarium in the middle. Karma liked watching the fish. The ceiling is completely covered with lots of chandeliers that give the look of one big horizontal chandelier so to speak and looks quite pretty.

We had booked a big enough runway view room but the check-in staff upgraded us to an even better runway view room since it was available. Do you see why I am having a hard time finding any mistakes with Taj Santacuz!

Rooms
My absolute favourite part. Now, many people don’t care that much about rooms because usually on a vacation, how much time do you really spend in a room! I, however, love good hotel rooms with lots of space and big fluffy beds and crisp bleached high thread count sheets. One of my favourite things during a vacation is ending the day with a shower and then plonking myself on the bed, watching TV and ordering room service. You get the drift?

Which is why I LOVED the rooms here. It wasn’t just Karma who was kicked about the runway view… Karan and I liked it a lot as well. And I’m a para officer & chopper pilot’s daughter; so honestly, aeroplanes and helicopters aren’t that big a deal. But watching the flashing lights of a plane take off at night from the comfort of a bed while sipping a drink is something I could get used to! 😉

I’ll let the room photos do the rest of the talking while I move on to the bathrooms. Yes, they deserve a mention. Keep scrolling to know why…

Bathrooms
If there was a way I could pack this bathroom up and bring it home, I would. Most hotels have rooms the size of this bathroom. Oh and there’s a TV in front of the bath tub too. Though I didn’t get to try the TV out because Karma splashed in the tub the whole time she was not either in pool or watching planes.

One thing I have to mention here is that the cleaning staff came and dried our bathroom 3 times in 24 hours including once at 10 pm after Karma was done playing around. She’s only 2 but somehow water reaches the ceiling when she’s at her splashing best. She turned the whole bathroom into a mini swimming pool.

Pool
The hotel has a nice pool. The water was perfect (not hot or cold) and you could hear planes take off. It’s a business hotel so I totally understand why there are no slides for kids in the pool but I really wish they would make a kids playing area too. That would be icing on the cake! It’s also the only reason I cut one point from the rating. But even without it, we had a blast in the water.

The pool staff inflated and deflated all of Karma’s pool floats which was very sweet. It might not seem like a big deal but one of them was a big floating car with a roof that takes an hour to inflate and even longer to deflate!!! And she didn’t even sit in it… Sigh!

Spa
Our Holi package came with a half hour massage each for both Karan and me. We could choose from a head, back or foot massage. We both chose back massages and took turns because one of us had to watch Karma.

Well, we’re both suckers for massages so needless to say, we came out quite happy. But honestly, the ambience and the quality of the massage was above many others that we have experienced. Very few masseuse or masseur’s can actually balance the right pressure and pleasure level. Usually, I always have to interfere multiple times to adjust the pressure but did not have to in this case. The spa obviously looks lovely and is spotless but that is something I expect out of a 5-star hotel.

Restaurants
It has a couple of restaurants with Tiqri being the focus point in my view. In the backdrop is a large beautiful Tree of Life made with around 4000 pieces of glass. This art is Rajasthani Tiqri and hence, the name of the restaurant.

The sprawling breakfast buffet is hosted against this stunning backdrop and the food was awesome. There’s enough variety in cuisines and dishes and everything that we had tasted great.

We left the next day relaxed and refreshed. Honestly, I forgot that I was in Mumbai while I was at Taj Santacruz. It really did feel like we were vacationing somewhere else.

It’s the people that make all the difference in the hospitality and service industry. If the rooms are clean and sheets are sparkling, its because the cleaning staff is doing their job well. A regular pool will be as much fun as a swanky one if the staff shares your laughter when your child is splashing around. Even the food tastes better when the serving staff is polite and attentive to your needs. I felt Taj Santacruz staff did all this and more.

And their great service continued even after we were home. Going through the trouble of having Karma’s toy couriered back to us might be part of their daily job for them but it meant a great deal to us. She’s had that Teddy since the day she was born.

I hope I get a chance to stay there again because we had a really good time.