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Shopping in Mumbai (Bombay)

Mumbai is a shopper's paradise where bargaining is the norm. The shops and bazaars offer everything from expensive European antiques to local spices by way of electrical goods, silks, designer fashion and homeware.

Key areas

For designer fashion, try the boutiques near Kemp's Corner, including Courtyard, 41/44 Minoo Desai Marg, which stocks top local designers, and Melange, 33 Altamount Road, for chic, high-end clothes by 70 Indian designers. Mumbai is also home to a number of tailors who will make clothes quickly at a reasonable cost. Bespoke leather ware is another good buy from the main road in Dharavi.

For antiques, curios and furniture, the shops along Merewether Road behind the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower are a good place to start. The main drag, Mutton Street, is teeming with antique shops hawking everything from grandfather clocks and English tea sets to crystal chandeliers. Many are, however, reproductions so choose carefully and haggle fiercely.

Mumbai is a major centre of the diamond trade and those who know what they're looking for can pick up some great bargains. Those with less cash to splash should visit the Bombay Store, on Sir P Mehta Road in the Fort area, for all sorts of Indian souvenirs. Cheaper still are the handicrafts at the Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Shivaji Marg, between Apollo Bunder and Regal. Colaba Causeway is a good place for souvenirs - bartering is expected; start at one quarter of the first price offered.

Markets

Mumbai's bazaars are worth visiting for the experience alone. Head to Mangaldas Market for silk and cloth, Zaveri Bazaar for jewellery, and Dhabu Street for leather goods. For fashion bargains, head to Fashion Street Market on M Gandhi Road. For antiques and furniture to shoes and car parts, try Chor Bazaar, otherwise known as 'Thieves Market'.

Shopping centres

Many of Mumbai's malls are located in the city's outlying suburbs but there are a handful that are located in the city. High Street Phoenix, housed in a former textile mill on Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, has an upmarket Skyzone floor dedicated to international and national stores. Atria Millennium Mall, next to the Planetarium, is split over five floors and is renowned for international designer brands. Oberoi Mall, off Western Express Highway, features an impressive atrium which acts as a shop front for every store within the mall.

Opening hours

Markets are generally open from 0900 to 1900, and shops do not open until 1000 or 1030 but tend to remain open until about 1900.

Souvenirs

Avid souvenir hunters will not be disappointed with the wealth of products on offer. From paintings, sculptures, handicrafts and artworks to leatherware, carpets, rugs, shawls, antiques, and jewellery, there is a mind-boggling array of goods. Many throng to Mumbai to get tailor-made clothes, while outfits made from khadi, a type of home-spun cotton, are also popular.

Featured Hotels

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Gordon House Hotel

Each floor has its own theme at this boutique hotel located just behind Apollo Bunder. Decorated in Mediterranean, Scandinavian or country cottage styles, the rooms are charming without being twee, with plenty of modern gadgets and positively 5-star bathrooms. There's also a bar and the popular Poly Esther's nightclub onsite. Light sleepers should avoid rooms adjoining the club.

Taj Mahal Palace & Tower

A Mumbai institution since 1903 the Taj has played host to Maharajas and monarchs movie stars and media moguls. Built in striking Indo-Saracenic style this grand hotel was extensively damaged during the 2008 terrorist attacks but an artful renovation has removed all traces of the disaster. For more than a century this has been the epitome of luxury in Mumbai with graceful vaulted ceilings tall archways fine carpets and crystal chandeliers. The Taj also houses some of Mumbai's best restaurants plus luxury shops a nightclub and outdoor pool gym and even its very own fortune teller.

Traveller's Inn

Set on a leafy road in Fort, Traveller's Inn has just 21 rooms, which are small but clean and excellent value. There are inexpensive dorms and better private rooms, and the staff are friendly and accommodating. There's also free wireless internet access in the lobby. Located close to many good value restaurants.

Hotel Oasis

Rooms are compact but tastefully decorated at this inexpensive 30-room hotel in a handy location in Fort, just a short hop from Victoria Terminus and Horniman Circle. For a reasonable price, you'll get a TV, air-conditioning and an en suite bathroom. There are numerous dining options on the neighbouring streets.

Residency Hotel

The atmosphere in Fort is a bit less frantic and a bit more business-like than in Colaba, and the Residency makes a perfect base from which to explore. Rooms are modern and comfortable and decorated in calming colours, with pictures of historic Mumbai on the walls. There's also a cute little café, where breakfast is served.

Hotel Bawa Continental

A comfortable resort-style hotel along lively Juhu beach, the Bawa Continental offers neat rooms, some with grandstand views over the beach and Arabian Sea. Although a hike from the historic centre, Juhu is much calmer than Fort or Colaba, with plenty of upscale restaurants and bars within walking distance. Rooms have TVs, air-con and Wi-Fi (for a charge), and there's a Starbucks on site.