A Taste of Old Mumbai at the Abode Bombay Boutique Hotel

Abode Bombay Superior Luxury roomOccupying a 103-year-old house of historic local figure David Sassoon, the beautiful Abode Bombay was the first true boutique hotel in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay).  An enchanting space it embodies the spirit of the city in contemporary and classy ways and takes the definition of an “abode,” meaning a place of residence, to a whole new level. It’s a wonderful and tranquil oasis in this exciting yet at times overwhelming city. 

Gate of India Mumbai

Convenient Central Location

The hotel is nestled on a quiet side street in the heart of Colaba, the historical centre of Mumbai, making it a great base for sightseeing and getting around the city. It’s steps from the famous Gateway of India, the ferry station, museums, shops, historic cafés and excellent restaurants, both local and more chic and modern. It’s also close to the subway and not far from the train station. This is perfect for visitors who would like to get an essence of historic Mumbai.

Abode Bombay lounge

Intriguing History

The building was first constructed in 1910 as home of David Sassoon during Bombay’s boom as a bustling port. An important family of traders, the Sassoons were responsible or contributed to a number of significant buildings in the city including the Gateway of India, the Fort, the Victoria and Albert Museum, schools, hospitals and synagogues. This era lives on through the hotel’s alluring decor featuring furniture, decorative objects, artwork and vintage images of the time period.

A Mix of Old & New Mumbai

In addition to the vintage decoration, the building’s original wooden and iron façade has been restored and the lobby is adorned with a spectacular original 19th century chandelier. The floors are also made of hand-made cement tiles by a local tile maker, using traditional 100-year-old techniques. Some of the furniture has been custom-built for the hotel like bed side tables made from chaat stands and library shelving inspired by the city’s roadside bookstores. There is also salvaged Burmese teak on the floors, hand-thrown ceramic lampshades, some cushions made from vintage saris and the room numbers and direction indications are painting in a style similar to that famously found splashed across India delivery trucks. These historic elements are successfully contrasted by contemporary photographs and a inviting open spaces lounge which encourages interacting between guests and their incredibly friendly and helpful staff.

Relaxed, Comfortable Luxury

The 20 spacious rooms have double height windows, casting in plenty of light and some have lovely views of the neighborhood. They have large “Luxury” rooms, comfortable “Simple” rooms and economical “Basic” rooms, making it accessible to a wider range of travelers. In fact 70% of the hotel’s guests are females traveling alone, attracted to the hotel’s room options, safety and welcoming attitude. The individually decorated rooms generally have a writing desk, lounge areas and en-suite bathrooms with walk-in rain showers while the luxury rooms have gorgeous free standing soaking tubs.

Other perks include complimentary breakfast, unlimited high speed WiFi, a cafe where you can order light meals and refreshments throughout the day, a custom map of the area with their personal tips and, perhaps my favorite, a phone to use during your stay. This has speed dial back to the hotel so should you need anything while you’re out in the city, the staff is there to assist… in a sometimes confusing and easy to get lost city like Mumbai where it’s general hard to get a local sim card… this is a huge advantage!

A Community Approach

In addition to being a beautiful space, the hotel prides itself on its sustainable and community oriented philosophies. In the lounge guests can peruse two displays of carefully selected gift items made from local artisans and cooperatives. They have put together a wonderful collection of unique tours, which can also be booked by non-guests, as well as experiences like in-house massages by blind masseuses from the Victoria Medical School for the Blind and their car service company employs drivers who are single mothers, thereby offering them a reliable income.

Even though I’m not a morning person, I was so tempted to haul myself out of bed to do their special 5:30 am tour that includes a visit to very authentic vegetable market, the flower market and an open-air laundry areas, the Sassoon fishing dock and a Koli fishing village. Alas, I missed it on this trip… but I needed to have a reason to go back… and I’d very happily return to the Abode Bombay and can full heartedly recommend it as a fabulous temporary residence in Mumbai for either single travelers or couples.

Rates start from 4,000 INR for a basic room and go up to 12,600 INR for the superior luxury room. See their website for more information and to reserve. or you might also find discounted rates on Agoda at this link

I was a guest of the Abode Bombay, however, all of the opinions expressed above are my own.

2 Comments

  • marilyn says:

    According to Wikipedia, David Sassoon died in 1864, so no way he could have built this building. Was the David you mentioned a descendent?

    • Lily la Tigresse says:

      Hello Marilyn, you are indeed correct, it was another David a descendent of the first one who came to Mumbai (Bombay). I saw the dates he lived as well and looked into it 🙂 Thank you for reading my article!

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