Don’t be fooled by Abode Bombay’s unprepossessing entrance: a quick saunter up the stairs reveals an urban haven that’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai. Interior designer Sian Pascale has taken inspiration from the city’s rich colonial and art-deco past to kit out this shabby-chic Colaba stay. This is a boutique hotel with a soul: linger in the lounge, grab lunch from the cheerful café, and immerse yourself in the tastes and sights of South Mumbai’s most captivating ‘hood.
Noon. Earliest check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £43.91 (INR4,130).
Rates include a breakfast of fresh breads, home-made yogurt, seasonal fruit, eggs and daily-changing Indian dishes. Tax isn't included in the rates – 12 per cent for rooms under INR7,500 a night, 18 per cent for rooms over that. Tax is paid on arrival.
If one of Abode Bombay’s handpicked objet d’art catches your eye, ask about bringing it home – it may very well be for sale. Or pick a smaller memento: the hotel also stocks handmade scarves and tribal jewellery.
Each room has its own personality and bags of bohemian charm, with eye-catching details such as candy-hued floor tiles, locally sourced vintage desks and evocative street photography on the walls. Abode Superior Luxury rooms let in plenty of light through double-height windows; their in-room roll-top bath tub is just the thing for leisurely soaks after long days of urban exploring.
Abode Bombay works with the Victoria Medical School for the Blind, a local outfit training talented massage therapists: surrender to their expert ministrations in the hotel’s bijou treatment room. If you’re aching from long walks in Mumbai’s busy streets, a Thai massage or soothing reflexology treatment will get you back to fighting form for the next day’s explorations.
There’s no need to overload your suitcase with reading materials: pick something inspirational from the hotel’s well-stocked library instead.
If you can’t bear to pause your fitness regimen, the hotel has yoga mats and Swiss balls to borrow. Classes from Pilates to boxing are on offer at a nearby gym, and staff will happily guide you to the best running paths in town.
Welcome, though Abode Bombay is more of a grown-up stay.
Abode Bombay takes care to tread lightly: the café’s produce is locally sourced, cleaning products and toiletries are earth-friendly, and guests’ soaps are recycled by Sundara, an organisation providing hygiene education to deprived communities.
At breakfast, sit at the long communal table and swap city tips with other guests.
Keep things cool and comfortable: cotton maxis, open-toed sandals, anything linen.
The hotel’s just-like-home lobby also acts as a casual all-day café. Nibble on small plates to share – crunchy rice puffs with potatoes and chutney, veggie samosas, stuffed puris – or opt for a heartier sandwich. If you’re hankering for some comfort food, the classic Bombay chilli and cheese on toast can’t be beaten.
There’s no bar as such, but fresh juices, colas floats, spice-infused chai and lassis can be sipped in the lounge.
Savour breakfast from 8am to 11am; the café serves drinks and snacks from 11am to 8pm.
The café’s menu can be served in-room 11am–8pm daily.
Lansdowne House, First Floor, MB Marg, near Regal Cinema, Apollo Bandar, Colaba
A short walk from the Gateway of India, Abode Bombay is in the heart of Colaba, a bustling neighbourhood packed with historic sites and tempting restaurants.
An hour’s drive away, Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport is a major hub serving international and domestic flights. The hotel can arrange transfers with a taxi company supporting female drivers (from INR1900 for airport pick-ups and INR1400 for drop-offs).
Mumbai’s traffic is notoriously dense and chaotic, so driving is best left to the local pros.
Worth getting out of bed for
Tucked away in the heart of historic Colaba, Adobe Bombay is a haven from the unabashed buzz of Mumbai’s streets. Browse the stalls and boutiques at Colaba Causeway; there are bargains to be found here, from flea-market finds to Bollywood-worthy jewellery. A five-minute walk away, Khala Ghoda is South Mumbai’s hippest ‘hood: head here for on-trend cafés, indie galleries and the National Gallery of Modern Art. For the insider track, book one of the hotel’s fascinating city tours; a pre-dawn jaunt takes in bustling flower markets and fishing docks, but there are options for temple visits and foodie adventures, too. The Gateway of India’s sea-spying monumental arch should be on every visitor’s list, but make time for Hasnabad Dargah, too – off the tourist track, this delicate blue-and-white mausoleum has been hailed as Mumbai’s very own Taj Mahal.
Head to rooftop Dome (+91 22 6639 9999), right on the waterfront, for unbeatable sundowners and superlative bar snacks: tapenade-stuffed paneer, say, or miso cod. Masala Kraft is a refined spot for contemporary Indian fare; feast on garlic-infused spinach, Keralan crab and scrumptious biryanis. Stylish and atmospheric, Qualia rustles up inventive fusion fare for a well-heeled crowd, with eye-catching cocktails to match.
Britannia & Co Restaurant (Wakefield House, 11 Sprott Road) is a classic example of a traditional Parsi café. Stop by for nut-studded pulao, mutton chops and a Proust-worthy caramel custard. Chef Alex Sanchez brings Californian antics to The Table, a popular hangout for all manner of brunches and lunches. Pop by Bademiya for cult street food, from buttery rotis to chargrilled kebabs.
Colaba Social takes its design cues from New York’s Meatpacking district: expect stripped walls, long communal tables and a puntastic cocktail list.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel in Colaba and unpacked their saris and spices, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Abode Bombay in Mumbai…
Mumbai’s first indie B&B, Abode Bombay is as cosy as it is stylish. Australian architect and interior designer Sian Pascale has scoured local flea markets to give this pared-down stay a bohemian edge. The result is hip and homey: tiled art deco floors are cool underfoot, vintage finds are scattered in the characterful rooms, and local artists’ works are displayed on the walls. An airy lounge-cum-café makes a pleasing spot for hearty breakfasts and all-day bites, or for chats with the hotel’s staff, who will happily arrange tours to get under eclectic Mumbai’s skin. If the city’s high spirits should ever get a little too much, Abode Bombay prides itself on being a home away from home: book a soothing massage in the serene treatment room, browse the bookshelf for a tantalising tome, then retreat to your room for some well-deserved R 'n' R.