Business Traveller (India)

e Oberoi, Mumbai; Rosewood Hong Kong; Hotel Savoy, Florence

- Tom Otley

BACKGROUND The Oberoi, Mumbai is owned and operated by the longstandi­ng luxury hospitalit­y company — The Oberoi Group — that dates back to 1934 and was founded by Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi. It operates the luxury “Oberoi” and five-star “Trident” brand hotels across seven countries.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The Oberoi, Mumbai feels like a cocoon of comfort away from the chaos of Marine Drive, where it is situated. A ground-floor level entrance leads you to the main lobby, which instantly cuts you o† into an expansive space that houses the reception, The Champagne Lounge, Fenix and The Eau Bar. French windows give a sneak peek to the Arabian Sea while the signature red piano of the hotel instantly catches my eye. Looking up, I admire the unique cascading design of the hotel.

With regards to the pandemic, my car was sanitised thoroughly upon entering the hotel. Temperatur­e checks at the entrance, frequent sanitisati­on of areas, social distancing at all times and sanitiser stations at touch-points are some of the measures undertaken by the hotel. These have been accredited by Bureau Veritas.

WHERE IS IT? At Nariman Point, next to the 35-storey Trident Nariman Point. Situated in a significan­t business area of Mumbai surrounded by corporate houses and skyscraper­s, the hotel faces the Arabian Sea and the iconic promenade of Marine Drive.

ROOMS The accommodat­ion is classic and modern at the same time, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, a work-desk with multiple charging ports, a master switch — making it ideal for business travellers. Deluxe rooms and Luxury rooms o†er views of Mumbai’s skyline; while rooms upwards of Premier Ocean View rooms overlook the sea. I stayed in the Oberoi Executive suite with Ocean view (74 sqm) that houses a living room, bedroom and a large marble bathroom with Forest Essentials amenities. Colours are muted with a touch of maroon, adding a sense of luxury to the clean design of the space. Automated windows, privacy screens in the bathroom, buttons for butler access and a king-size bed are some of the facets of this suite. The sea view from this suite is spectacula­r.

FOOD AND DRINK Breakfast is à la carte at its all-day dining restaurant Fenix, with a wide range of internatio­nal and Indian fare. Here, I used the QR code to access the menu. Their selection of Japanese dishes includes an excellent range of sushi that I enjoyed for lunch. The next day, I chose to eat my breakfast in the suite which was an exceptiona­l experience curated by the hotel. The Eau Bar, its Gatsby-style lounge facing Marine Drive is now operationa­l. Vetro and Enoteca for Italian dining, Ziya for Indian (helmed by Chef Vineet Bhatia), The Oberoi Patisserie & Delicatess­en and The Champagne Lounge are its other F&B o†erings.

MEETINGS The Oberoi, Mumbai has two function rooms — Udaipur and Jaipur suites — with beautiful vistas of the ocean and the cityscape. The rooms can accommodat­e upto 50 people each. There is also a business centre at the property.

LEISURE A well equipped fitness centre, a swimming pool, and The Oberoi Spa are its leisure facilities.

VERDICT Ideal for a luxurious staycation to get away from the bustle of the city. Feels like home away from home.

Akanksha Maker

Looking up, I admire the unique cascading design of the hotel

BACKGROUND In February, with the Covid-19 pandemic in its early stages, I stayed at the Rosewood Hong Kong, which had already instituted many of the measures that have now become familiar to us. Temperatur­e checks were in place at the entrance, sta wore masks and there were lots of hand sanitising stations. In the past six months, further measures have been imposed in Hong Kong, with hotel guests now required to wear masks as well.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The hotel is in a Kohn Pedersen Fox-designed, 65-storey skyscraper that also contains Rosewood residences and oices and is connected to the K11 Musea shopping mall. The intention is for it to feel like a high-end home, or “elevated residentia­l hotel living”, as they put it, so there are lawns, gardens and terraces, all by interior designer Tony Chi. Although new – it opened in March last year – the hotel contains many references to the history of the location, as well as to the Cheng family that owns Rosewood.

A sweeping cobbleston­ed drive takes you up from Salisbury Road, the noise of Kowloon left behind you as bonsai and topiary come into view ahead. The hotel entrance faces out towards Victoria Harbour, as if still welcoming people arriving by sea, and the forecourt has several luxury cars with Rosewood number plates.

The lobby is on the second floor, with event space on the third and fourth, the spa on the sixth and seventh and guestrooms on levels 24-40, with some of the top suites positioned on higher floors. The hotel makes the most of its location, with harbour views from the marble-floored, limestone-walled reception area. Art is everywhere, including works by Damien Hirst and Hong Kong’s Wilson Shieh, and a startling life-sized sculpture by Indian artist Bharti Kher called The Skin Speaks a Language Not its Own, of an elephant lying down, either resting or dead.

WHERE IS IT? On the Kowloon side of the city, on the waterfront next to the Avenue of Stars, in an area called Victoria Dockside. You can walk to the hotel from East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station (follow the signs for exit K or J).

ROOMS The 413 rooms (which include 91 suites) start at a huge 53 sqm, with the suites starting at 92 sqm. More than 80 per cent of the rooms have harbour views, with the rest overlookin­g Kowloon Peak. They feature very large beds, lacquer panelling, Loro Piana navy wool wall coverings, and bathrooms with freestandi­ng tubs and twin showers. Suite and Club Grand Harbour View room guests get access to the 40th-floor Manor Club, which has outdoor terraces, food and a bar serving free evening cocktails (access can be purchased by guests in lower-category rooms – this was an extra HK$1,980/£194 per night when we checked).

FOOD AND DRINK The nine dining and drinking venues (some are currently closed) range from Holt’s Café, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, to the fine-dining Legacy House, which has a focus on regional Shunde cuisine, a type of Cantonese cooking. The all-day Butterfly Room serves afternoon tea, and the Butterfly Patisserie looks more like a high-end jeweller and oers cakes, gelatos, sorbets and handmade chocolates. Dark Side bar has nightly live jazz and an al fresco terrace overlookin­g the harbour. Connected to the mall but still part of the hotel is Bayfare Social, oering Spanish cuisine with Asian touches, and smokehouse restaurant Henry, led by British chef Nathan Green.

MEETINGS There is 3,200 sqm of venue space, including a pillarless ballroom that seats 780 guests for a banquet.

LEISURE The gym is huge and the Asaya spa has facilities so extensive it would need another review to cover (both were closed as we went to press).

VERDICT One of the best and most luxurious hotels in Hong Kong.

The hotel makes the most of its location, with harbour views from reception

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