Juhu hotels and Agra

Old Dec 14th, 2003, 12:34 AM
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Juhu hotels and Agra

My 4 year old and I will fly to Mumbai from March 2(arrive the 3rd) to March 9 from France to visit a friend. Does anyone have recommendations for hotels on Juhu Beach? Second, if I do make the trip to Agra, should I fly direct there or to Delhi? If I do fly to Dehli, should I spend the night there or in Agra?
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Old Dec 15th, 2003, 03:35 AM
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I don't know what your budget is, but there is are several nice Marriott brand hotels in the Juhu area. The first is the JW Marriott Hotel Mumbai. There is also a Renaissance hotel in the area, which has a apartment complex, the Lakeside Chalets. These units have kitchens which might be a good option for you. Take a look at Marriott.com for a listing of all Marriott brand hotels in Mumbai.

Also take a look a the "Hotels" guide for Mumbai put together by Fodors on this site, click on "Hotels" above, and scroll down the Asia/Bombay. You can search by location and price, and the hotels are rated by Fordorites. (FYI, some of the reviews are old.)

As for Agra, there are no direct flights from Mumbai, you have to go through Delhi. The only carrier which services Agra is Indian Airlines. (Not to be confused with Air India, which is international flights only.) Take a look at their website, indian-airlines.nic.in. (Click on "Seat Availability", as there are no direct flights.) The flight is in the morning, you arrive in Agra at about Noon. There are many hotels in Agra, depending on your budget. The Sheraton is nice and might be a good choice with a child. Take a look at starwood.com. The hotel is called the Mughal Sheraton.

I wouldn't bother to spend any time in Delhi as your time is short and there is very little there to interest a 4-year old. (IMO, there is not a lot in Mumbai to interest a 4-year old either, but a pool is good.) Beware of the heat, dust and pollution, which is pretty bad in Mumbai.
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Old Dec 15th, 2003, 09:56 AM
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Thanks Cicerone. That was my first post on this site and after having read many posts on India, I would have been disappointed not to hear from you. I live in Paris and have many friends from India, some who have returned. Everyone told me not to just visit Bombay... that I had to go to Agra. Since it's just me and my daughter I've been trying to do research, more than usual. I found your advice helpful. Thank you.
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Old Dec 16th, 2003, 07:22 AM
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Presumably agra is to see the taj? Another option is to go to Goa - which your 4 year old will def enjoy. Is very close to Mum too - just a 1 hour flight. If you are staying at Juhu beach to spend time on the beach you may be disappointed as it is very dirty. Where does your friend stay?
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Old Dec 16th, 2003, 09:57 AM
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My friend lives by Juhu Beach, so I really must stay around there. I'm trying to decide if the peace of mind of a hotel like the Marriott is worth the price. The hotels on Juhu beach seem to be more expensive. Regarding Agra, yes I intend to see the Taj Mahal. Is it possible to go to India and not see the Taj? My first time to France I didn't go to Paris/Effiel Tower, but I knew I'd be back. I'm not sure I'm going back to India. My husband isn't excited about a trip there, and there are many places we both want to visit. So... if I just bite the bullet, I'm hoping that a short trip to Agra won't be terrible. My four year old travels quite a bit, so I'm not worried about her... as long as there is a pool for her at the end of the day.
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Old Dec 16th, 2003, 10:19 AM
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You can definitely go to India and not see the Taj Mahal! India has so many interesting places, cultures and subcultures. As your friends live in Mumbai, you may want to ask them for ideas for travel in the area; the Maharashtra area is rich in history. The suggestion of Goa is a great one; the beaches are beautiful, the food is good and the pace relaxed. You can fly direct in about an hour from Mumbai.

Going to the Taj from Mumbai for two days may be more tiring than you think; remember that you will be jet lagged from the trip from France, and your child will be affected much worse than you. Also March in Mumbai will be warm to hot, and it will be warm in Agra as well, which will tire you out. Also, it is likely that a 4-year old will have no memory of a visit to the Taj when she grows up, so it may be worth waiting until she is older (like 17) and she can appreciate and remember it.
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Old Dec 16th, 2003, 04:56 PM
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The JW marriott has some amazing corporate promos and stuff. Ask your friend to ask around. You should be able to get a room at a significant discount to rack rate. Is highly recommended IMO in terms of location and other stuff - has 3 different pools which your 4 year old will love. Second the not seeing the Taj being worth considering. Agra has little to offer besides the Taj so a trip somewhere else which all of u will enjoy may be more worthwhile. As far as not going back to india - if you are destined to see the Taj sure u will on another trip!
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Old Dec 17th, 2003, 07:01 AM
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OK.. if I really consider not going to the Taj... you both suggested Goa. When I was originally thinking about a 15 day trip with the whole family I didn't even consider Goa. Mostly because I really wanted to see the Nature Reserves and Taj and then Kerala. That left me with no time for anything else, and barely time for that. What does Goa offer.. you mentioned good food and beaches. I've been many places with good food and beaches. I guess I'm wondering if Goa has a different culture that makes it worth a trip down there. Is that best option for a two day trip out of Mumbai? My Indian friends stressed that I should not stay in Mumbai for the full week... it would not be a good representation of India.
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Old Dec 17th, 2003, 08:12 AM
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Goa offers great beaches and some colonial Portuguese influence (like catholic churches and a great mix of Indian and Portuguese cooking). I always say going all the way to Asia to sit on a beach is not really worth it, as there are lots of beautiful beaches closer to the US (and France). But I do think Goa offers more. You will definitely see a different culture than that of Mumbai, also a different landscape.

If you have already considered Kerala, I would suggest you re-consider it. You can fly non-stop from Mumbai in two hours; and even better, you can fly on Jetairways, a private airline that is much better than Indian Air, IMO. Website is "jetairways.com". Search for flights to Trivandum. You could stay on a houseboat for a night or two, which I think you daughter would love, and also spend a day or two on a beach. Kerala is not as much on the tourist path as Goa is, and there is ample opportunity for seeing wildlife. I think I would give Kerala a slight edge over Goa just because it is slightly less developed. Kerala is also more green and lush than Goa which is drier. Of course the Goan food is hard to beat. . .

Jetairways also flies non-stop to Goa (takes an hour) and there are about 4 flights a day. (Versus one flight a day to Kerala, which gives you an indication of the tourist load in Goa vs Kerala.)

The weather in both Goa and Kerala is great at that time of year, virtually no rainfall and temps in the low 80s.

With about 6-7 days I would spend no more than 2 in Mumbai (there is not really anything to interest children and the poverty may bother her/him), and then head to Goa, Kerala or the Taj if that is what you want to do. If you are not planning on spending any significant time with you friends in Mumbai, you might just skip Mumbai altogether and then you could do both Agra and Goa/Kerala. Sorry to throw so many options at you, but I think Mumbai is a waste of time for most tourists and esp for you with a child.

FYI, I just checked the calendar and March 6 is Holi in India, which is a huge and fun Hindu holiday which I am sure your child will enjoy. It?s a spring/fertility festival and people celebrate by throwing colored water or powders at one another. Put on your oldest clothes and go out to enjoy! I am certain local Indian will love to initiate your childe into the rites of celebrating Holi. . . .
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Old Dec 17th, 2003, 10:29 AM
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Thanks for your help. I'll look into Trivandum again. Just curious... is it significantly more interesting than Cochin? I'm wondering since Cochin is closer. And if I do pursue Trivandum or Goa, what do you think of the Taj Hotels. By the way....I know there isn't much to Mumbai but that is where my friends live, so I'll have to stay there a few days. Hey, at least there is shopping! The other problem is that my friend, who has lived in Mumbai her whole life except for the 3 years in France, has never been to the Taj, so she's considering a trip with me. But I'll take the suggestions you two have sent me and process the information. India is so big, even with two weeks I knew I wouldn't see everthing I wanted to. One friend said that if I only go to Mumbai then I'll never want to go back to India.... so I'm just trying to figure out what makes sense.
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Old Dec 17th, 2003, 06:28 PM
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[email protected] Kerala is a great option. I would suggest flying into Cochin and then doing Kumarakom and Thekkady (a wildlife sanctuary). In both places the best places to stay are not the Taj hotels but owned by a Kerala group called Casino Hotels which specializes in giving a local experience. Their Thekkady property is Spice Village and Kumarakom is Coconut Lagoon. I have stayed at both and they are truly amazing and different so your 4 year old will esp enjoy the trip. Coconut Lagoon is set in the backwaters, you can enjoy open air showers, sunset cruises, banana boat rides, etc. Spice Village is near the foerst, thatched roof huts, wildlife, etc. A good travel agent (e-mail if you want recos) should be able to make all your bookings plus road transfers, etc. Be in touch re what you want to buy in Mum and maybe I can help with Mum shopping tips.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2003, 06:43 AM
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I'm waiting to hear back from my friend to see if she wants to go to the Taj while I'm there. But until then... I looked up the Coconut Grove Hotel. It looked wonderful, but it seems like quite a hike to get there. Do you think it's safe -- just a woman and child traveling around? Also, aside from some silk and maybe some rugs (a bit of an addiction) I'm not sure what I'll buy in India. What would you recommend?
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Old Dec 22nd, 2003, 04:07 PM
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If I remember correctly Kumarokam (Coconut Lagoon) is a 3 hiour driver from Cochin airport. It is a scenic drive as there is lush, green vegetation bordering the road and Kerala is a pretty state. Mum and Kerala are very safe states so u need have no worries on that score. Re shopping - a rug is a great idea. U get both Kashmiri silk carpets and excellent "dhurries" - local rugs. For dhurries you can try Shyam Ahuja (one at Juhu very close to the Marriott) or Zeba (at Worli, on the main rd). Silver is excellent is India. Is a shop called Purple Porcupine in Bandra which has trendy designs. Also is a Frazer and Haws outlet in Bandra. Bandra is near Juhu. Block printed clothes and linen is cheap if you like the stuff. Near you is fabIndia, home accessories in Khar and clothes in Bandra. Mail your friend in advance to get u exact addresses and phone #s.
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