My first impression of Ibis Mumbai Vikhroli is that it has an energetic vibe and is designed for new generation travellers. While thematic presentations bring alive the quintessential spirit of the city, technology is the driving force. There was no physical registration card to fill in, instead I was checked in through a contact-less process.
Having arrived early, I was off to the Spice It restaurant where a hearty buffet breakfast was laid out. Here too all processes have been digitised. What I like most about the restaurant is the interactive live kitchen at its centre - I can see all my meals being cooked in front of me. The digital menu for meals and snacks adds to the chic dining experience.
Bellyful, I head to my room on the fifth floor. No sooner than I exit the elevator, I am greeted by a wall art installation. My room has a flamingo theme; later I would find the hotel has six predominant themes for the rooms and the public areas.
The room had large windows, an elegant wardrobe, a safe locker, minibar, couch and of course the ‘Sweet Bed’ by Ibis. Keeping in tune with the latest technology, the television was OTT platform enabled.
It was heartening to note that the hotel had woven eco-friendly measures into their services, right from using refillable containers for toiletries - with sulphates (SLS) and paraben-free contents.
The 249 rooms of Mumbai’s third and largest Ibis hotel are vibrantly done in six themes. Each theme pays ode to Aamchi Mumbai and its undeterred, upbeat spirit. There is the iconic local train, the inspiring dabbawalas, the rich legacy of the Marathas, the enigmatic city skyline, the migratory flamingos and traditional Kolam rice art.
Art is omnipresent. While I relished my meals, an energetic male dhol tasha player took centre stage at a corner wall while dabbas welcomed me at Spice It.
Near the library, three Mumbai BEST buses are parked on the wall while the lift opens to a kaali peeli taxi on one floor and a dabbawala on the next.
Kolam designs beckon in another public space while the lobby has as art installation of alphabet blocks that spell 'Ibis Vikhroli'.
The guest rooms extend from the third to the 15th floor. I discover that the floor has a gym and I am tempted to burn off some calories while enjoying the skyline from a vantage point.
On my way down, I catch up with the hotel’s general manager, Anant Leekha. “Located on Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg, we are among the first international branded properties in Vikhroli which is a corporate hub. Our strategic location makes us a good option for Powai and Thane businesses and residential guests as well,” he says.
According to Sylvain Laroche, Director of Operations, Ibis & Ibis Styles, India, '"Vikhroli is a prominent residential and commercial locality in the suburbs of Mumbai. Ibis Mumbai Vikhroli presents new generation design features to enhance experiences and keep pace with the evolving needs of new-age travellers.”
The island live kitchen of the Spice It restaurant, equipped to dish out varied cuisine, is a visual and olfactory treat. So I could easily move from smoked tomato and burrata soup to saag paneer to bhapa doi (Bengal-style steamed yoghurt), or pair a signature Moplah Prawn Biryani with Lagan ki Boti (slow cooked lamb).
The restaurant had an adjoining outdoor area, ideal for an evening sit-out, taking in the twinkling Mumbai skyline and the cool breeze caressing your face. You have to wait for the sundowner though, till the hotel has set up the bar.
With the public areas decorated with trendy artwork by French designer Isabelle Miaja, there are four meeting rooms on the first floor, which are geared to fulfil the needs of corporate clients. But it was the second floor which was my favorite go-to place – apart from the restaurant, there was a well-stocked library too, a first for an Indian Ibis hotel. It’s a haven for voracious readers, single travellers, and those looking for some ‘me time’.
I read for a bit before heading to the music corner to strum a guitar, followed by trying my hand at a cajon and a keyboard.
Ibis Mumbai Vikhroli has received an IGBC Gold rating from the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in recognition of its sustainable practices, including green areas created with Miyawaki techniques, water conservation, colour-coded disposal bins on each floor, and electric car charging points in the parking area for guests, etc. The vehicle they had arranged for a spot of sightseeing was also an electric one.
Where: Ibis Mumbai Vikhroli, Yashomati Housing Society Plot No-14, Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg, Sahakar Nagar 1, Shell Colony, Sahakar Nagar, Vikhroli, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400079.