With (relatively) walkable streets and a surplus of shops, restaurants, and cultural activities, South Mumbai is the most visitor-friendly area. Stay at Abode Bombay in Colaba, the historical epicenter. The chic, locally-inspired décor includes handmade Art Deco floor tiling and restored Indian vintage furniture.
Previously relegated to suburban status, the neighborhood of Bandra has become a hip destination for Mumbai’s younger generation, thanks to recent years of urban sprawl. Book a room at Le Sutra, which bills itself as “the world’s first Indian art hotel,” and features three floors of themed rooms, each decorated in a different style.
Spend your first day in South Mumbai, and start with breakfast at Kala Ghoda Cafe. Choose from health-forward offerings like fruit-and-honey–adorned gluten-free waffles, spicy omelettes with tomato and chili, and fresh homemade juices.
For lunch, make your way to Khyber for Northern Indian cuisine. Try the spiced eggplant with turmeric, onion, and tomatoes, the masala prawns, and the saag chicken cooked with spinach, ginger, garlic, and green chilies.
Due to its location on the Arabian sea, Mumbai is famed for its seafood. Feast on fresh catches at Trishna, a South Indian restaurant. They’re most known for the crab in butter-garlic sauce, but if you’re looking for lighter fare, sample the tandoori seafood, which is oven-cooked with a heady mix of spices.
Round out the evening at Dome, an expansive rooftop bar with panoramic views of Marine Drive.
Enjoy rolled oats and date porridge and hibiscus tea at Bird Song Organic Café before going about a busy day.
For lunch, put your name in at one of the two outposts of Swati Snacks—it’s worth the wait. This casual vegetarian eatery serves traditional savory snacks called chaat. Don’t miss their dosa(a thin, crisp pancake made of fermented rice and lentils) and the bhel puri, a crunchy dish with puffed rice, vegetables, and tangy tamarind sauce.
Book in advance at Masque—one of the city’s hottest restaurants—in the former industrial mill area. The ever-changing tasting menu showcases dishes like guava salad with grapefruit, lime, and chilies, and grilled morel mushrooms with Kashmiri walnut chutney.
Bid goodbye to Mumbai at Masque’s bar. The painstakingly-crafted cocktails pay homage to ancient Ayurvedic philosophy, drawing upon the five vital elements: earth, water, fire, air, and void.