Recommendations, Travel

A magical 24 hour staycation

Wow – what a weekend I just had!

From Sarah’s surprise bachelorette, to my first Italian exam, to designing wedding wear for all the upcoming weddings we’re going for, and last but not least, a staycation with Saif at the Taj Mahal in Colaba. Yes, let’s skip straight to the last part for now.

Considering Saif and I both love to celebrate things (who doesn’t?), we’ve been making plans to make our annual ‘anniversary’ extra special each year. When celebrating our first and second years together we ended up in Goa both years, but since we have so much traveling coming up in the next couple of months we had decided that we would stay put in Bombay this time. That’s when Saif surprised me with our staycation plans!

Saif and I spend a significant amount of time at The Taj Mahal on a weekly basis. However, staying there as guests was a first for both of us…


The Taj Mahal is, safe to say, the most lavish hotel property of Mumbai. It’s a seven star property, and first opened its doors in 1903. It’s said that during World War I, the hotel was converted into a hospital with 600 beds…


In 1903, the hotel charged Rs 13 for rooms with fans and attached bathrooms, and Rs 20 with breakfast and other add ons. Let’s just say, the rates are anywhere from 2000-10,000 times more expensive in 2017. To give you an idea…


When we got to the hotel we were checked in to our mini-suite. I was internally so happy, but you know the feeling when you don’t want to show the staff how excited you actually are? That feeling. So we calmly checked in, gave our passports for them to scan, and then we (read: I) ran around the room and jumped in the bed when the butler had said hi and bye…


Everything was so pretty honestly. The entire property is like a bit of a time travel, back to British India and all the history that it brings…


Imagine how much the walls of this hotel have seen and heard in 114 years? Or even just in the last 9 years… In 2008 there was a terror attack at the Taj Mahal and a few other locations across Mumbai. The hotel was under attack for three days, and somewhere around 165-170 people were killed. Its a tragedy you’re reminded of every time you enter the hotel–especially considering all hotels and other public spaces in Mumbai have metal detectors and bag screenings since that day…





I was most excited about the bathroom. The bathtub, to be specific.  I love bathtubs.


We quickly changed into our swimsuits and headed downstairs to catch some sun. The pool was quite empty considering it was a Sunday afternoon…


Saif and I found a double-bed which we made ourselves at home on…


I was less interested in getting a tan–more interested in just spending time together. My usual pool routine is to lay wherever the sun gets me the most, but this Sunday was extra special, and extra less-important getting bronzed…


We had a beer and spoke about the future. Is there anything better? No. Beer, boyfriend and future is life.


By late afternoon we were ready for a traditional pool snack. How beautiful is the outdoor restaurant area by the pool though?


We shared a club sandwich and french fries with ketchup, laughed at a couple of ridiculous memories, and made more future plans. I realised I think I am in my most favourite age I’ve ever been. 27.5. So many good realisations, important learnings, less anxious, and so much to look forward to. All anxious people below 27 – hold tight. It will get better.


This roof though. I can’t.


After a few hours at the pool we decided to head upstairs again. See those two men with big guns on the floor below? Apparently Latvia’s Prime Minister was staying at the hotel, so there were men with big guns roaming the entire floor. Guns make me so uncomfortable.


The rest of the view was, as you can see, magical.


When we got back up to our room they had sneaked into our room to make it extra special while we were gone, in honour of our anniversary. The bedroom was filled with heart shaped balloons. The living room covered in rose petals. These guys really went all in with the hospitality.




How cute is this? Very cute.


Before dinner we left our room and went down to the lounge. Saif had a martini and I had red wine. I can’t drink martinis, it burns holes in my throat basically. I’m always tempted to have one and then I regret it, so I stuck with wine and responsibility.


Saif taught me how to play chess and we ended up playing for two hours. So. Fun. He kicked my bum but I was okay with it. It’s about the journey, not the destination, right?

From the lounge, we walked over to the hotel bar below Wasabi. There’s something really special about the kind of romantic conversations one can have in a hotel bar. If I ever figure out what it is, I promise I’ll tell you guys. The bartender served us two rounds of spicy popcorn and I ate all of them. Then our phones died and I didn’t bring the camera, so the Wasabi dinner will remain a mystery to all of you.


Back in our room, the former manager of Wasabi had left us with more gifts. More cake, a tea set and a handwritten note. Happy in our hearts and tummies, we ended the night with a bath and a movie. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.


Monday morning looked like this in Bombay!


I never stop being amazed by the beautiful architecture of south Bombay. Just look at the doors on the left building in this photo?


Breakfast was served at the Sea Lounge overlooking the Gateway of India…




After a big breakfast, we decided to spend a few hours at the pool before checking out…


At 10am the pool was completely empty, with just a few more guests lazing around the pool with us…


Saif and I rotated between swimming, chatting and working on our phones. Monday had kicked in with a bang and we were both really busy as soon as the work day was starting off elsewhere…


I took a few work calls with this view and reflected over how lucky and happy I am in between things…


By 12pm we were checking out and left for our respective offices. It was tough to leave, while at the same time, the gratitude and happiness we both felt by the time we left were enough to not feel bummed out. I can’t remember when I was this relaxed last.

All I can say is, what an incredible 24 hours we just had. I am totally convinced, it was one of the best days of my entire life. Three years with Saif feels like a second and a lifetime all at once, and I can’t wait for the rest of our lives together…

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the Taj Mahal hotel and staff for making our anniversary the most special day. I’ll remember this mini-weekend for the rest of my life, and we can’t wait to be back again, and again, and again.


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