My Stay At Le Sutra in Mumbai
This is the second part of my mini-series about my stay in Mumbai at the beginning of the year. If you missed my post on my special relationship with the city, you can read it here. Expect to see lots of photos in this post. I took so many and I found I couldn’t shortlist them to just a few! I’ve added them all so you can get a detailed look at everything I’m talking about.
I decided to stay on in Mumbai for two days after a work trip. My colleagues returned to the UK and I checked myself into a different hotel to the one we stayed at for work.
I came across Le Sutra online over Christmas by chance. I normally stay at the Taj Land’s End, which is luxurious and I’ve always loved staying there but this time I wanted to try somewhere new, something a little more unique.
It immediately appealed to me as the vibrant photos leapt off the page. Le Sutra is an art hotel based on Indian mythology. Sutra means ‘a rope or thread that holds things together’. It’s only a small hotel with fourteen rooms over three floors but each room is individually designed and based on characters and characteristics inspired by Indian mythology.
Let me start by talking about its location, which was a huge selling point for me. As I would be on my own in the city for two days, I wanted to stay in Bandra, as I know the area well and feel comfortable there. A quick bit of research showed it was easy to get from the hotel to Linking Road with it’s varied shops, restaurants and market. It was also easy to travel to Santa Cruz for it’s fashion boutiques and near to other parts of Bandra I might want to visit like Bandstand, Carter Road or Pali Hill.
As soon as we pulled up to the hotel, I knew I would have a comfortable stay. I had arrived early so my room wasn’t ready yet. The check-in process was quick and easy, the friendly staff held on to my luggage and off I went for a day of shopping. I returned in the early evening and was immediately taken up to my room.
I had been assigned the ‘Maya’ room on the first floor. Even each floor is based on a human characteristic. The first floor is ‘Tamas’ which is a quality of a spoilt person – drowned in self-indulgence. On the upside it’s colourful and intricate. I decided not to read too much into why I was given this room! The hotel was actually fully booked and this was the only room left available. It’s also a single room and it made sense to have me stay here.
The painting above the bed was stunning. I was told it depicts a reflection of the inward eye and shows human live for their attachments and desires. There was a huge grid above the bath showing elements like power, money and age. But the artist is trying to portray that a human being is above these worldly labels.
I was so overwhelmed by the hotel that I requested a tour even though I knew all of the rooms were occupied. I knew straight away it was something I wanted to write about and share with you all. Madiha from the hotel team agreed and showed me around a fair few of the rooms during the change over period while they were being cleaned.
Madiha explained 120 painters, 40 sculptors and 15 designers contributed to the beauty of the hotel. There was so much detail in the theme of each room and each was like a mood board, telling the story of the character the room is based on.
There were only three rooms on my floor. One was occupied so I was shown the Ravana room, based on the ten-headed king in the legend of the Ramayana. He’s described as the villain in the story of Ram and Sita. There was a huge painted headboard, which depicts his thoughts. The chair and sculptures in the room were also carefully crafted around his character.
I had initially wanted a room on the second floor, which is the ‘Rajas’ level. This symbolises a force behind the desire to acquire new things. Someone with this characteristic is full of passion. I had come across the Krishna room online and had really wanted to stay in this particular room. The room was occupied though, so I wasn’t even able to catch a glimpse inside. Madiha told me it’s inspired by Lord Krishna, the God of Love and has art pieces based on the things he loved – peacocks, buttermilk and of course, his childhood sweetheart, Radha. Hopefully I’ll be able to check it out on a future trip to Mumbai.
I was lucky enough to see a few of the other rooms on this level though. One of my favourites was the ‘Dyuutya’, which is a room showing the game of gambling, which was played by Kings.
The greatest war in India, the ‘Mahabharata’ was the outcome of a gambling match and you can see symbols of this throughout the room.
I absolutely loved the chess headboard and the chair inspired from the game of Snakes And Ladders.
A couple of other rooms I got to take a peak inside were the ‘Karna’ room, based on the Prince from the Mahabharat and the ‘Kathak’ room, which is based on storytelling through dance.
Again, each had sculptures and headboards to go with the theme and it was so refreshing to see such intricate artwork in the bathrooms.
The final room I got to see on this floor was the ‘Taal’, based on the music and dance of India. It was breathtaking – from the ‘tabla’ chair to the hanging bells. The cupboard handles were made out of the woodwind instrument, the ‘shehnai’ and the freestanding lamp was inspired by the ‘bansuri’, which is a flute.
The third and final floor is the ‘Sattva’, which means a positive state of mind, someone who is kind, calm and alert.
A couple of my favourite rooms on this floor were the ‘Shuddhi’, which means cleansing and the ‘Prakriti’ room, which describes nature at every level.
What I’ve given is just a snapshot of the rooms but it’s actually like visiting a museum of art and I must have spent two hours just soaking it all in.
The hotel owns the famous Olive Bar And Kitchen Restaurant, which is really popular with Bollywood celebrities. I’ve visited it on previous trips and there’s a really cool Mediterranean vibe.
One of the hotel’s corridors is lined with window seating and overlooks the restaurant.
There is a small library at the end of the hallway, so if you spent a couple of hours relaxing, you might even spot a star or two.
On my first day I treated myself to a full body massage in the hotel’s Angdai Day Spa. Angdai actually means stretch and it’s the perfect name. It’s a really small spa but offers a full range of treatments. My therapist was really attentive and did a fantastic job at working the knots in my back and shoulders. It had been a manic nine days of work and this was just what I needed. The therapist advised I have jump into the adjacent shower room for a steam before washing.
Breakfast was included in my stay and the Out Of The Blue restaurant has everything you need for a filling breakfast no matter what your taste.
Each morning I would always start with a bit of fruit, followed by all the masalas – a masala dosa, masala omlette and a masala tea! If you fancy something a little less spicy, there’s a continental breakfast too as well as traditional English breakfast items.
One night after a day of shopping, I just wanted to chill in my room so I ordered a penne arabiata from Out Of The Blue. The portion was perfect, the sauce was delicious and it arrived within twenty minutes of ordering.
I spent the rest of that evening indulging in a lovely bath before watching a Bollywood film with a cup of tea. I couldn’t resist helping myself to a couple of snacks from the mini-bar, which was well stocked and cheaper than some of the bigger hotels in the city. I could hear the sounds of the street below my window, which you don’t get when you’re twenty floors up in the Taj but there’s something quite comforting about hearing the hustle and bustle of the city, as people go about their business.
Mumbai is manic at the best of times but when you’re inside Le Sutra, you can immerse yourself in the colours, the warmth and the vibrancy of the hotel. It was a relaxing stay at the end of a hectic working trip and I was ready for the journey home.