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ISSUE OF MAY 2003  
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Exclusive Drive

Alan D’Mello takes a look at the Intercontinental Marine Drive, Mumbai

The Intercontinental Marine Drive, Mumbai. An address only a few will come to know in the course of time. I say this for two reasons; there are just 59 rooms, inclusive of suites, and with a price tag starting in the 300 USD range, the two combine to make an exclusive address.

The newly opened hotel would be barely a month old by the time you read this. The exclusivity however, as general manager Christian Pirodon would have you know, is in the approach. He’ll let you know that his property is boutique in all ways. It is a place where the staff-guest interaction will be kept minimal and where space, physical and personal, will be doled out in dollops.

As parent company Six Continents’ first boutique property in India, the Intercontinental Marine Drive has a lot to live up to. Its size helps it along the way. Service is personalised right through – it should be, given the price. You could check-in in the hotel’s complimentary car during the 40-minute plus drive-in from the airport. The front desk is the concierge’s domain. Even this comes down to a mere formality on the second trip or if you have stayed in any Six Continents brand in the world. Pirodon plans to use this to the fullest advantage.

The exterior belies the elegant interiors whose smooth lines and tones remind me of another new Mumbai hotel. And the manipulation of natural light here is as wonderful as the other. Anyway, the rooms are delightful. Smart lines, lots of space and great views of the sea and the Queen’s Necklace. All rooms have a plasma TV, DVD-VCD player, Bose audio and radio, intelligent lighting, fax machine and fast Internet access. I liked the in-room safe with the plug point, ideal to stash the laptop and charge it too. But what is luxury without Bulgari toiletries? Not luxury.

Try the suites if you find the rooms cramping your style. The suites, one to a floor, are on the building’s curved northern corner, so you get an L-shaped room with a western and northern view. These rooms, feature similar appointments as the other rooms but have a space advantage and differ in decor and bathroom design. Skillfully understated, but sheer luxury none the less.

Food and relaxation too are well thought of here. The hotels’ terrace restaurant, Dome, overlooks the Arabian sea. The bar offers an international selection of cigars and wines. Then there’s RG’s Kitchen (after owner Ravi Ghai) on the first floor. The restaurant has three sections which serve Oriental, Continental and Indian through the interactive display kitchen. Czar, is the hotel’s elegant and stylish, classic men's bar. And of course there’s Lobby Lounge, a refined lounge area.

But Pirodon does not forget that in all this, his little boutique property is still meant for business. There are infrared Internet ports in the restaurants, meeting rooms soon to come in and all the other business frills one can think of. But what did it for me, are the space and location. It is a good feeling to be in a smaller hotel and an even better feeling to chuck the leather for the loafers and head for a walk along the sea front.

Intercontinental Marine Drive
135 Marine Drive, Mumbai 400 020
Tel: (022) 56399999
email: marinedrive@interconti.com

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