ibis Mumbai Vikhroli is the 20th ibis in India. As we check into the brand-new property for an exclusive preview, we see a trendy, youthful, and Mumbai-proud hotel destined to be a hotspot. By Rashima Nagpal
In my countless visits to Mumbai all these years, never have I ever been to Vikhroli—a suburb on the Central Railway line. But my most recent trip to the city changes that. I am on my way from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport to ibis Mumbai Vikhroli, ready to open doors on October 15. Rijesh, one of the guest service team members from the hotel engages me with interesting trivia about the property and the neighbourhood during the 30-minute drive. For instance, he tells me about the extraordinary number of flamingos that popularly flocked in the neighbourhood during the lockdowns, and how that has inspired one of the wall-art themes at the hotel. As we cross Powai Lake, he tells me that it is a popular spot among locals, especially during Ganesh Chaturthi, wherein idols of Ganesha are submerged in the water as a ritual. We also drive past Powai Plaza and IIT Mumbai, before we finally get to the hotel which stands among towering corporate houses such as WeWork, Godrej, Emerson, Colgate, and more on Lal Bahadur Shastri Road, directly connected to the Eastern Express Highway.
Simply in terms of its location, ibis Mumbai Vikhroli wins praise. Not only is it a first-of-its-kind hotel in the neighbourhood, but also the most modern of ibis hotels in the country. The check-in process is entirely digital; all you have to do is fill up an e-form, upload your ID, and you’ll be welcomed by a ready set of keys to your room. Spread over 15 storeys, it is a 249-room hotel. As with any other ibis hotel, the room size is uniform except the rooms at this property come dressed in delightful local themes. I serendipitously get the one with a railway theme; the headboard wall in my room adorns a pleasing mural of the Mumbai Central railway station. Similarly, the rest of the rooms either feature a flamboyance of flamingos, or the iconic dabbawalas of Mumbai, or the architectural landmarks in the city, or the Royal Maratha empire theme, or a mural of the traditional mud-and-rice art of Maharashtra.
The cosmopolitan flavour of the city comes across well in my dining experience at ibis Mumbai Vikhroli. Think poha and medu vada for breakfast; creamy dal makhni, batata nu shaak, and steaming hot rice with crispy papad for lunch; caramelised and crunchy apple and feta salad, khao suey, and a modern version of bhapa doi to round off the day. I’m surprised to find out that at the helm of the hotel kitchen is 32-year-old Jayendra Anasooru—perhaps the youngest executive chef I’ve ever come across. “At ibis, you’ll find that most of the employees are between the age of 25 and 40. It’s a conscious effort by the brand to give young talent the opportunities,” Khushbu Sneha, the guest services manager, tells me.
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Occupying the entire second floor of the hotel, Spice It is the singular dining venue at the hotel. It is a dynamic space complete with live kitchen counters, a dedicated bar, a shelf full of books, lounge chairs, and more. “Everything is served everywhere. No matter what time of the day it is, you can order a coffee while sitting at the bar, burgers for breakfast, and so on,” says Anant Leekha, the joyful general manager of the hotel, while we chat over lunch. Besides food, music and entertainment is something ibis Mumbai Vikhroli is big on. From ready-made Spotify playlists and OTT services in guest rooms to live performances by local bands and musicians, the hotel has a tune for every mood. “I’ve bought a bunch of guitars, a keyboard, and some more instruments that we’ll set up here in a corner of Spice IT for anyone to play,” shares Leekha who’s big on music himself.
We move on for a tour of the rest of the property. From casual workstations in the lobby to a gym on the topmost floor to a walking track and yoga pavilion on the ground floor, the vibe at ibis Mumbai Vikhroli is thoroughly youthful, minimalistic, and contemporary. The vibrant artworks aesthetically placed throughout the property particularly draw my attention. And the fact that I am the first—and only—guest at the hotel adds a certain sense of glee.
It might be interesting to note that Accor’s launching the hotel with a couple of exciting offers for its loyalty members. With ‘Pay What You Want’, it gives guests the choice to book for free and pay what they like or nothing at all for a night’s stay (from 15/10/2021 until 25/10/2021). Follow @ibisindia on Instagram to stay updated on more exciting offers from the brand. As part of the versatile loyalty programme, ALL-Accor Live Limitless, almost everything you do makes a point. Offering stays, dining experiences, event spaces, and so much more, Accor is a world leading hospitality group consisting of more than 5,100 properties throughout 110 countries.