I didn’t even know about the existence of Grand Central hotel until I visited ITC Maratha. It was supposed to be near St. Regis, but it turned out to be a little further away. It was that rare location that hadn’t been graced by the presence of yours truly. So just for you guys, I decided to give it a shot.
A seminar exploring start-up growth and expansion was my excuse as per usual.
When I went in the morning, there were no rooms available. GRE told me that I should wait for a while.As I had a seminar to attend I told them I’d check in later.
When I came in the evening, the hotel staff informed me that I had been upgraded to ITC One room thanks to my SPG Platinum status. I could have been ITC Platinum too, but I decide to credit my nights to SPG instead of Club ITC.
I found Hotel lobby very pretty with some interesting artwork.
I was provided room number 2803.
The elevator is on the left side of the elevator. You have to climb a couple of steps and turn left.
I was assisted by pretty GRE Lifa to my room.
As I entered the room, it opened in a small hall. On the left side was a table. Little walk ahead and you see a half bathroom.
Then you step into a living room. As you enter the room, you have a mini bar on the left. There were some fruits too.
On the right side was a study table. Study table was sturdy. However, the chair wasn’t comfortable for working long hours. I prefer traditional office chairs which I only get at ITC Maurya among all the ITC properties. I prefer Maurya’s tables, but this was still tolerable.
A Little ahead was a couch set up for three people. It gave a very homely feeling. There was a glass table with wooden reams next to it. They placed a box of chocolates and cookies on the table. Damn!
Across the sofa set was a lovely massage chair and TV. How cool is that?
After a long day of work in Mumbai, you can come back and get a massage done at any hour. TV is alright.
The bedroom and living room are separated by a door.
As you enter the bedroom, I see the same old ITC queen bed instead of proper King bed. Why ITC WHY? Why can’t you just put a nice large bed in your suites? This is supposed to be a premium experience. You make me want to run to good old St.Regis just for the bed. The bed’s comfort level is alright. But the size is always on the smaller side. If I am sharing the bed with someone, I know for a fact that we’ll end up disturbing each other’s sleep.
It is a typical ITC room with carpeted room. There are some paintings on the wall. At least, they have a lovely sleeping kit. I love this part of ITC luxury collection. I’m addicted to using their sleeping perfume.
There is a lounge chair and ottoman in the corner of the room.
There is a TV in the room. Luckily, the cable provider was Videocon ensuring I was not limited to the same fifty odd channels as usual.Volume control was there as expected.
You have a lovely high view of Mumbai.
There is a sliding door that leads to washroom from the bedroom.
First, you enter a closet. They have a stepper in the closet. There is a large wall to hang your suits. I like the closet area. They are stocked with one of those trendy looking bath gowns.
As you enter the washroom, you have a traditional single black marble sink. The only place I saw double sinks were ITC Sonar and ITC Grand Bharat.
You have an open toilet on the left of the washroom. There is a bidet spray attached to it.
They have a proper shower cabin with standard no-rain shower. The water pressure and the temperature is great, though.
On the right is a nice bath tub.I didn’t like the fittings. I appreciate that they have put a tub in the room. Also the bath tub and shower are in separate places.
I sincerely regret the bad picture quality. Thankfully, they had the exquisite black ITC DJ willis toiletries(relatively way better than the white ones). However, they weren’t as good as separate ones provided by ITC Sheraton.
The fitness center is located along with the spa on the first floor. I really love the spa area of ITC properties. The Entire floor smells like roses. You want to lie there for the entirety of your existence. However, the floor is little dark, and there are random steps at places. Mind your footsteps!
The gym is a small room with the bare minimum in the name of equipment. There is a wall of cardio equipment. The treadmills are equipped with TV and some circuit workouts inbuilt as standard. There isn’t much space to move around. When I was there, there was no attendant to attend to any of my needs in the gym.
There’s a gorgeous pool view from the gym.
There is not much space to stretch here. I would recommend doing it in your own room.
The swimming pool here is probably one of the best pools I have seen anywhere. Just lovely design. The sitting area around the pool is beautiful. The view from the pool is wonderful. It is one of the pools where I was so tempted to swim. I thoroughly regretted forgetting to bring my boxers. I am definitely coming back here for the pool. It is the pool where a gym-sculpted body can grab the best selfies.
Food and Beverage
Like St. Regis, their lounge is located on the top floor that is 30th floor. The lounge is called the point of view. I didn’t see any warm snacks there.
You have high tea 3 to 5 PM and alcohol hours are from 6 to 8 PM.
However, they surprised me with a cheesecake. I have never had a vegetarian cheesecake in the lounge before. You can, of course, order any variety from the bar.
I had nice time above enjoying the views.
I loved the signs out there. They reminded me a bit of ITC Windsor culinary.
There was no vegan/vegetarian morning bakery. I only saw one croissant that was vegetarian.
I found shakes and juices little bland. When they are promoting wellness everywhere, I wish their shakes would taste like real fruit instead of syrups. Either go the whole yard or not promote wellness at all.
I found the culinary experience with Grand Central having major deficiencies. It feels like it is designed exclusively for satisfying the truest of carnivores. Vegetarians are expected to make do with the few remaining choices.
At least they had lovely nutty kinds of butter that I could devour.
They have found a lovely chef in Chef Aditi. She took a while, but she created some lovely dishes for me. I forgot to take a picture of the thalipeet she made. I absolutely admire her generosity. However, if you are a regular customer with a lack of the time, then your choices are strictly limited.
Yes, I definitely recommend trying their signature dishes.
If you head there, just make sure you have time to enjoy your meals.
I loved the internet speed here. It was fine. I was consistently getting around 8mbps which was sufficient to get work done. They were not off the charts like St Regis, but it was good to have such speeds while working.
There was really great service at this hotel. I could dial concierge, and within few minutes someone would be there to help me.
The staff was always smiling and nice. They were a hospitable bunch who genuinely made sure that customer had a lovely time vs trying to dupe him of every cent.
If I requested something, it was generally taken care for.
I have to especially thank Ms. Sudha Mehra who was very generous with me. She was the guiding star who made my time there go from good to great. She took her time to answer each and every question I had. I got to learn a lot from her. I love when staff treats you as a respected family member. I can’t say enough good things about her.
The hotel is a new property that is designed in a traditional manner. It reflects traditional ITC ethos who make the hotel with a theme. This hotel is designed with the Parsi theme. All the women staff wear clothes in a parsi manner.
There is lovely fountain area in the premises and the architecture is done beautifully. However, if customers aren’t looking for the same then they would never see it. I wish they made courtyard accessible that would add to the charm of the place.
Overall, I really loved the property and staff here. I would definitely come back here. I would definitely spend a couple of days here if the price is right. This like Maratha is an aspiration property for most as it cost around $150 to $200 a night here.
That being said, I came during double dip SPG promotion to maximize my points. I snagged the hotel when it was priced the least which was still $130 after taxes.
I would definitely recommend people to stay here. I hate the bed here, though. However, rest is all great. But, if I had to choose between St Regis and ITC Grand Central, I would without doubt head to St Regis in a blink.
This city has 2 ITC properties – I love the service here. However, I believe even ITC would agree that there is more action at the Maratha.