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This Month’s Hottest Hotels

From Lake Tahoe to Mumbai, this month’s hottest hotels

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TAJ MAHAL PALACE
An Opulent Colonial-Era Gem

Mumbai

DESIGN NOTES: There’s nothing minimalist about the Taj Mahal Palace, which reopened in 2010 after a massive rebuilding effort to repair damage from a 2008 terrorist attack. The classic opulence—with Moorish, Florentine and Indian touches—is part of its charm. Inside, you’ll find vaulted ceilings, handwoven carpets and crystal chandeliers, while the exterior bears the hallmarks of the Indo-Gothic style, popular during the British Raj.

BACKSTORY: Legend has it that industrialist Jamsetji Tata was inspired to build the Taj in 1903 after he was refused entry to one of the city’s grand colonial hotels, which exercised a Europeans-only policy at the time. Whether or not the origin story is apocryphal, he clearly got the last laugh, albeit posthumously: His namesake conglomerate acquired British car company Jaguar Land Rover in 2008 for a cool $2.3 billion.

SIGNATURE COCKTAIL: The hotel is home to the city’s first licensed drinking establishment, the Harbour Bar, which opened in 1933, the year Prohibition ended in the U.S. To toast the milestone, two American sailors reportedly challenged the bartender to invent a celebratory tipple. His “From the Harbour Since 1933”—gin, crème de pêche, pineapple and cranberry juices and green Chartreuse—is widely considered the city’s oldest cocktail.

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