Friday, March 02, 2007

New Bombay goes posh

We may not have 24 hour electricity, but we finally have a fancy shmancy hotel. It's a 4 star wonly but The Park is, in some ways, even more pseud than your regular 5 stars. Being a 'boutique' hotel they take extra care to have exotic items on their menu. The desssert choices, for example, include 'yoghurt jello with berry phyllo' (eggless and dietic). Go figure!

OK, it's not like New Bombay has no hotels. But there aren't any of the kind you might want to visit because there's 'something in the air'... that la di dah crowd, precise geometry of spoons and ceiling-to-sky lobby which makes you want to linger over a 200 buck coffee.

So anyways, having heard of this new 'Park' in our part of the world we were excited enough to get all dressed up and go check it out a couple of days ago. Having noted it was in 'Sector 10, CBD Belapur' we zipped down Palm Beach Road and thought it would be pretty simple locating it once we were in the general vicinity.

Were we mistaken! CBD or 'Central Business District' Belapur isn't a place you want to be stuck at late in the night, looking for directions. There is no one - except for security guards - for miles and miles. And all these guards shrug helplessly, "hum idhar naya hai". Fresh Off the Bhagalpur express...

After circling around aimlessly we figured it must be on the other side of the tracks. As the description I accessed via GPRS read promised 'stunning views of hills and lush green foliage'. Uh, right. Not in this season.

Anyways, we did find it eventually and it is nice. The only trouble is, exactly a month after its launch, the hotel is deserted. We were the only souls in the 24 hour coffee shop cum restaurant 'Zest' at 11 pm. A total of four guys comprised the crowd in the bar - 'Dusk'. And get this - they claim 'above average occupancy'.

We checked out the 'signature restaurant' Aqua, set against a pool designed more as a backdrop-to-a-party than for any serious swimming. Very pretty. But the menu, which was supposed to be Continental + Mexican seemed a tad too imaginative. Perhaps that was the brief given to the chef. Confuse the hell out of your customers. They won't think twice about the prices.

Back at the coffee shop we fell for it. Bet you've never had 'chilli lime sorbet with fudge brownies'. Well, I can tell you now that both items are scrumptious (but each on its own, not together!).

Even more delicious are the little quotes like 'Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea..." Peppered all over the menu!

But getting back to the food. My daughter spotted the word 'pizza' and suddenly felt extremely hungry. We ordered. For 425 bucks we were presented with a 'cupizza' (pizza in a cup). More like a quiche impersonating the great Italian masterpiece. Along with it came a thick slice of garlic bread and some ... leaves. Not salad, the random kind chewed on by cows.

On the positive side, the ambience is pleasant. Much classier than anything else in these parts. But the place appears a little cramped. The 'lobby'is non existent, even the driveway is congested. I haven't actually been to other 'Park' properties but am sure they are far superior.

Apparently, this is a renovation of an existing property. So maybe there were some design/ space constraints. I would think, however, that turning 'Apeejay House' near Churchgate into a hotel would make far more sense.

I just don't get the logic of starting a designer hotel in the middle of nowhere. CBD is 'central' in terms of being located between Bombay and Pune. No way is it a '40 minute drive from the domestic airport'. You'd be lucky to reach in 1 hour 40 minutes!

I'm just not sure there are enough fancy businessmen with interests in JNPT and Thane-Belapur industrial belt to patronise this hotel. And even if they exist would they want to stay in this lonely wasteland? As for the Vashi-Nerul crowd, I think the hotel is too exotic and high-end for the aam New Bombayite. And too far as well. 'Tunga' coming up right next to Centre One will do fine for the majority, thank you.

The only silver lining for the 'Park' is a new Chinese restaurant slated to open soon and I will check that out (there is no decent Chinese around here, since 'Yufan' shut down).

As we leave, a lone Chinese (businessman?) is sitting on the beige silk sofa near the entrance. Is he wondering, 'for what I paying thees US $ 150?'

P.S. Pics taken with a 1 mp Nokia 6670. Yeah, I really need a new cameraphone. Agt least a 3 megapixel. Any tried and tested suggstions?


  1. I stay in navi mumbai(nerul)but i don't think i wud ever be able to afford this..

    anyways the way you cover things is plain awesome..

  2. Anonymous9:29 PM

    CBD was a ghost town the last time I saw it. Especially the part west of the highway ( if you come from vashi and take a right). I am sure like everything else, this place will shut down in 6 months.

    but sector 8 rocks :D

  3. And all these guards shrug helplessly, "hum idhar naya hai". Fresh Off the Bhagalpur express...

    Still laughing over this

  4. suggestion 4 a 3 MPx camera.... samsung D900 ... really sleek

  5. Please avoid racist and stereotypical comments like the one you made on the Chinese guy's "supposed" english. For all the hue and cry we make when so called racism is directed against us (at least in our interpretation), the least we can do is be a bit more sensitive.

  6. Apart from the K790 and Nokia Nsomething, is there any other 3MP phone came anyway?

    And I'd not recommend either for the camera, the pics ome out well only in good light. I'd suggest a Canon powershot instead.

    And Sony cams are the worst. The time lag between clicking and it capturing is phenomenal.

  7. "And all these guards shrug helplessly, "hum idhar naya hai". Fresh Off the Bhagalpur express..."

    Why didn't you just label him a "bl**dy bihari bhaiya"? Why this pretence of civility and humour with Bhagalpur Express and all?

    "As we leave, a lone Chinese (businessman?) is sitting on the beige silk sofa near the entrance. Is he wondering, 'for what I paying thees US $ 150?'"

    Why would the Chinese guy be wondering in English? And such bad English at that? I know some of those Chinese businessmen, and they can write/speak better English than you.

    Oh, I forgot. You are stereotyping.

    "the description I accessed via GPRS"

    Would it have said something else if you accessed it in any other way?

  8. Hi

    I am Tarun here, I am planning a Blogcamp in India (Pune), if possible try to make it to it, if not then do try to participate through internet, using Youtube, Slideshare etc.

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    The venue will be SCIT Pune Symbiosis Center for IT). We are already talking to a few people to sponsor food, tshirts and goodies. But all these things are secondary. Success of a Blogcamp is dependent upon it's participants and that is where we are focusing right now.

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    was not able to find your email id.

  9. tarun are you spammin'

  10. A blogger like u must have a small/inexpensive digi cam to complete your blog! Food looks scrumptious anyway ;p

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Do visit my new blog:

    I would like to hear your comments

  13. The Park @ Bangalore & Chennai are also small n congested.

  14. Nice post!

    I know some BPO/ITeS head honchos in Vashi-Belapur who're thrilled to bits about Park since prospective and existing clients can now stay closer while visiting!

    As for a cameraphones, theres a nice showdown between the best two in the market at

  15. Nokie 6270 (price 13K) - 2 MP camera, double speakers for music and comes with 1 GB memeory card free....

  16. P.S. Pics taken with a 1 mp Nokia 6670. Yeah, I really need a new cameraphone. Agt least a 3 megapixel. Any tried and tested suggstions?

    You should really check out the "Cyber-shot" range of mobile phones from Sony Ericsson. Awesome image quality!

  17. I just found out about your blog. Ver well written posts and very interesting!
    As to the cameraphone question, I also think you should go for a cybershot phone from SonyEricsson (I own the K800i). The new version, K810i, is a little less bulky and the camera is just the same of the K800i.

  18. Wanted to write about two things in the post.

    One that the salad leaves in the pizza picure are Lolla Rosso (a kind of lettuce) and probably baby spinach leaves. A kind of salad ubiquitous in London Bistros and cafes and personally, quite nice with a french dressing or even olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Along with cows humans can enjoy them as well!

    Secondly I was initially irritated by the chinese man comment but instead of writing something offensive have decided to make an observation about how in different parts of the world suitable interaction can be very different.

    I live in London at the moment and have lived in England most of my life and find that public utterances of such sentiments are no longer approved of. Doing funny ethnic accents is now frowned upon, in the media at least. What people say privately is another matter altogether. The only time you could get away with doing a funny Indian/Chinese accent in the public is if you were Indian or Chinese yourself. Yes, this is political correctness but probably ok, in my view.

    In India people generally tend to be a bit more vocal about the differences. We can say things like I will not have my daughter marry a punjabi/muslim/marwari/firang guy and no one will bat an eyelid. If in the UK someone said publicly that they did not want their daughter marrying an Irish/Carribean/German/Indian guy they would either be laughed at or vilified for being racist.

    Bear in mind that this applies to what is said in the media (Newspapers/tv etc.) What people say in private is, as I said before, another matter altogether.

    take care and good night....

    Do enjoy reading the posts....keep up the mostly good work!

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