Old Views of Taj Mahal Hotel Bombay – 2 PCs 1910
Two old postcards of the Taj Mahal Hotel’s restaurants in Bombay (Mumbai). Each of the postcards shows two different restaurants. One is from around 1910 and the other from the 1920s. Both the restaurants look tastefully furnished, especially the one from 1910. The Taj Hotel seems to have an eye for impeccable detail at that time as it is now.
It used to be the first sight for ships calling at the port of Bombay. On 1 November 1898, workmen began sinking the foundations of what was to become the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. On a property of 2¼ acres of the Apollo Reclamation leased for a period of 99 years. The Taj Mahal Hotel facing the Gateway of India opened its doors in 1903. It was advertised during its opening as having Three electric lifts, electric lights and electric fans throughout. For the first four decades, the hotel’s kitchens were run by a series of French chefs who sourced their ingredients from overseas.
Until the middle of the 19th century, the condition of hotels in Bombay left much to be desired. The city specialized, instead in far from respectable taverns. In the 1850s these taverns began to give way to several Parsi-owned hotels that vied for the patronage of European travellers. For Europeans, the situation improved considerably with the opening in 1870 of Watson’s Esplanade Hotel. Although other large hotels like the Great Western were set up in the city in the coming years. Watson’s was to remain the best hotel for the next 40-50 odd years. But towards the end of this period, its standards had fallen.