HOLIDAYING IN YOUR OWN CITY
Words: PRIMROSE MONTEIRO-D’SOUZA
Photographs: HIMANSHU PANDYA
GREAT FROM Mumbai, Pune
GREAT FOR Exploring a different part of your city
The idea of leaving your home, your family, your life as you know it – it takes some getting used to. It’s not easy to decide to boldly stride out into the unknown. But it’s time. Pack your bags and step into the waiting vehicle. Allow yourself to be borne away – to a place a long way from home.
Set in Mumbai’s bustling Lower Parel area, Palladium Hotel will be your holding pen for a day and a night. You’re on that trending adventure – the staycation – and it’s time to give in. After all, you’re paying good money for the experience: Rs 25,000, in fact, for the Palladium Extravagance Package, and, being Indian, you’re obliged to make paisa vasool of it. Start by enjoying your room. The interiors are effortlessly elegant, and the views brilliant, made better at night by darkness blanketing out the sad reality of Mumbai’s shanties. Tear yourself away and make your way to Seven Kitchens. The buffet here – Italian, Indian Asian stations, sushi, dumplings and desserts in a room of their own – will help you understand the Roman tradition of bringing up your food to make room for more.
Back to your room to recover – or do whatever one does in a room on a romantic staycation. The package comes with spa treatments and there’s an infinity pool to enjoy, but both these options are out of the question on a full stomach. But when you wake, high tea awaits at the Piano Lounge. You can pick from two vegetarian and one non-vegetarian high-tea services. The Aria offers such treats as salmon mousse, café eclairs, red fruit macarons, scones, clotted cream and preserves, prosciutto and papaya and a selection of finger sandwiches, all served up on a three-tiered silver cake stand.
If you’ve done the food any justice, you should only be able to stagger by now, but you’re on a VFM mission here, so head down to the transit lobby level (the ground floor to the rest of us) and make your way into the Palladium Mall for some retail therapy at the high-end stores, and further on to High Street Phoenix, Grand Galleria and SkyZone. Across the road, hit The Rolling Pin and Sweetish House Mafia to pick up goodies to placate the envious family when you get home.
Then, step out of the heat back into the hotel. Dress for the evening, and take yourself up to the 37th floor for cocktails at Li Bai. Under the watchful eye of the 8th-century Chinese poet-philosopher Li Bai draped over the bar, you’ll be offered appetisers and cocktails before making your way to a set-menu dinner at Mekong, the hotel’s acclaimed Asian restaurant. Expect an explosion of intriguing flavours and textures in the Vietnamese garden green vegetable salad. Expect wonderfully moist steamed edamame dumplings with truffle oil, and shrimp and chicken sui mai. Expect an extraordinary lamb cooked Yunan style, and an unusually delicate green curry with sticky jasmine rice. Expect to not be able to finish all you’re offered and to feel really bad about that.
Then, depending on your willpower or constitution and your supply of antacids, make your way to the Exo nightclub, to the late-night options in the Phoenix stable next door, or to your bed. End of day one.
Careful planning will help you make the best of day two. Rise early for the breakfast buffet at Seven Kitchens. Don’t linger or overeat – you still have to hit the pool and enjoy your express treatment at the Spa. Pace yourself. And brace yourself – you may not want to go home again!
From hotel information to timings, find all the practical information you need to plan this trip now – in LPMI’s May 2015 issue. Pick up a copy from your newsstand or click to subscribe via Zinio or Magzter.