We asked Concierge Valencia of Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai to gather the savviest sight-seeing suggestions she could find—not just her own, but also those of other local connoisseurs, including some she works with every day at the Hotel. Mumbai is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic cities, home to Bollywood, Indian designers, Colonial-era and modern architecture, and upscale fashion, shopping and dining.
No other Indian city has such a wide variety of upscale clothing and jewellery by internationally recognised local designers. Of the major shopping areas, eclectic Bandra is home to Neelam Jewels, a top designer, while sophisticated SoBo has the Courtyard, a sea-facing mall with more than a dozen shops. Be sure to check out Manish Arora Fish Fry, which has creations such as brocade jackets, glittery skirts and halters by Manish Arora, a designer who shows at Paris Fashion Week. Other favourite shopping hubs include Palladium, Bombay Electric, Ensemble, Bungalow Eight and Sabyasachi.
Victorian Gothic Masterpieces
Mumbai is rich with landmarks in this unique Victorian Gothic architectural style, including Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus), a station christened to commemorate Queen Victoria Jubilee Day in 1887 when India’s first steam engine puffed out to neighbouring Thane, and the Gateway of India, with elements derived from the Muslim architectural styles of 16th-century Gujarat. Also ask the Concierge to arrange a private tour of Horniman Circle and St Thomas Cathedral.
Mahatma Gandhi lived in this two-story building, and now his living room and terrace where he prayed daily are open to visitors as the Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum. Don’t miss the library, which has original letters he wrote to world leaders such as Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt.
The Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum is the oldest museum in the city. Here, tourists can view the old maps of Mumbai that show Bombay as seven islands. And on the upper level of the museum, take in a special exhibit with dioramas and models showing the story of Mumbai’s origins and development, beginning with the 18th century.
Try out your bargaining skills at some of the dozens of markets in Mumbai. Two musts: Crawford Market, an old, British-style covered space where vendors hawk spices, food specialties, fabrics and jewellery; and Chor Bazaar, avast maze of streets filled with finds such as antique furniture, sterling silver cutlery, old Bollywood movie posters and inexpensive Indian tchotchkes.