For business travelers popping in and out of Mumbai quickly, the city’s kaleidoscopic colors, vibrant cultural history, and frenetic traffic can seem impenetrable. How to scratch the surface of a city of more than 20 million people? Strategic planning, that’s how. Even a couple of days are enough to see different facets of this evolving gem, where upward mobility for locals has spurred one of the world’s fastest-growing luxury economies. Here’s a guide to the best places to eat, shop, sleep, and explore.
The Oberoi and the Taj Mahal Palace are the only hotel names you need to know—and helpfully, they’re complete opposites. The former, in a decades-old skyscraper with a prime location on Marine Drive, stands out for its world-class service: Expect pillowcases embroidered with your name. The monochromatic rooms are spacious and functional and a bit bland except for the views of the skyline, which locals call the Queen’s Necklace (rooms from $149).