Mumbai is known by many monikers – City of Dreams, City of Illusions, Maximum City, and rightly so. It brims with manic energy and is bursting with awe-inspiring architecture, history, and cuisines. Moreover, it’s also India’s financial powerhouse and the birthplace of the famed ‘Bollywood.’ So, it’s no surprise that Mumbai has a cosmopolitan vibe and is one of the faster-progressing Indian cities when it comes to LGBTQ visibility. Today, the gay ‘scene’, which was once thoroughly underground, is slowly coming to the surface with many events popping up across the city. Also, there are a lot more gay friendly hotels in Mumbai as compared to a decade ago. While LGBT friendly hotels in Mumbai aren’t exclusive, they’re more than just accepting and offer them the highest kind of hospitality possible.
With the changing legal status of the LGBTQ set, the gay scene in Mumbai is a lot more open than it was earlier. however, you still won’t find a thriving gay scene like Bangkok or London. However, there are several LGBTQ events that take place, like the Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival and the Queer Azaadi Pride March. Salvation Star hosts some of the best and classiest LGBT parties in the city. In fact, GayBombay.org is one of the best up-to-date sources for finding out about gay parties. Keeping all that in mind, here are the top 11 gay friendly hotels in Mumbai.
Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai
The sleek, 33-story Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai lies midway between the posh and popular Lower Parel and Worli neighborhoods in South Mumbai. If money isn’t an object and staying in South Bombay is a must, then look no further than this utterly modern hotel that boasts impeccable service and is also gay friendly. Plus, you couldn’t get any closer to one of the best gay friendly bars in the city, Aer, which is perched right above the hotel. It not only has some of the best mixologists in the city but also boasts incredible, never-seen-before views of Mumbai.
Modern elegant opulence is the theme at the hotel, which brims with decor that’s both contemporary and classic. Think mohair accents, ochre silk draperies and upholstery, and lots of pale-wood paneling. Service here is top-notch, what with its legions of dedicated staff who’re ready to serve you at a moment’s notice. If you feel like working out on your Mumbai sojourn, there’s a yoga room and a snazzy gym too. Dig into delicious international fare as well as inventive twists on local cuisine at the two in-house restaurants, which also serve a breakfast fit for a king. After a long day of exploring, a massage at the exceptional spa is a real treat. The highlight, however, is the fabulous open-air pool with sunbeds, which provides much respite from the chaos of Maximum City.
Four Seasons differentiates in its rooms only in space, not in style. Even the entry-level rooms feature lavish bathrooms with bathtubs, plush velvet fabrics, and high-tech mod-cons. If you have the urge to splurge, check out the higher-floor rooms with amazing city views or the suites.
Le Sutra is one of the most beautiful boutique gay friendly hotels in Mumbai’s gorgeously leafy suburb of Bandra. In fact, some of the best bars, clubs, and restaurants in Mumbai are just a walk or a short drive away. So, if the nightlife scene of Mumbai floats your boast, then you couldn’t have found a better base.
As it is, Le Sutra with just 16 rooms is something of a gem in a city where small-sized boutique hotels are exceedingly rare. The entire place is done up in modern artworks showcasing traditional Indian motifs. This, plus the hand-embroidered artwork, murals, and sculptures were all created by more than 150 local art students. What’s more, the hotel has a fantastic Angdai spa, where you can choose from facials, wraps, and massages. There’s even a gorgeous garden courtyard restaurant as well as the Mediterranean-serving restaurant with a romantic garden terrace. Finally, the hotel even serves a sumptuous breakfast.
16 rooms bright, airy, and modern rooms are all individually decorated and reflect themes revolving around Indian mythology. If you’re traveling with your partner, we’d recommend the sensuous Tamas (luxuriating in pleasure) rooms. The best of the lot is the ‘Vaasna’ or sensuality room, where the bathtub is separated by the bedroom only by a glass wall.
If you’re looking for a budget boutique hotel somewhere in the middle of this vertical city, then the Waterstones Hotel is perfect. Not only does it lie close to Mumbai airport, but its also one of the best LGBT friendly hotels in Mumbai. So, if you’re here for just around 24 hours, then this intimate boutique hotel is the perfect base for you, as you don’t have to venture too far from the airport.
Even though it’s a budget boutique hotel, Waterstones has a whole bunch of nice amenities. The highlight is the hotel’s access to the neighboring Waterstones Club. It has a stunning outdoor pool, complete with daybeds, which is perfect for laps as well. After a swim or lounge, a visit to the spa and salon in the same club for a massage will completely relax you. What’s more, it even has many sports facilities, as well as a fitness center for a good workout session. On the property itself, it’s the restaurant sitting amidst lush greenery and waterfalls that you’ll love. It’s designed as a delightful Oriental street-food market, complete with a delicious make-it-yourself wok counter. There’s even a lounge-bar perfect for cocktails, as well as a game room, movie, and music lounge! For a budget property, this one is a real gem.
Rooms and suites at the Waterstones Hotel are very spacious, something of an anomaly in a space-starved Mumbai. Spend a little more and book the nature-themed Boutique rooms, which have views of the waterfalls, shallow pools, and the green lawns. If you want to stay longer, then the floral-themed suites with kitchenettes are perfect.
Hilton Mumbai International Airport
One of the best gay friendly hotels in Mumbai that’s also one of the 11 Best Hotels Near Mumbai Airport is the Hilton Mumbai International Airport Hotel. The hotel is luxurious to boot, with a striking white facade that feels like a blend of old-world and contemporary architecture. Its lobby, however, will remind you of an Indian palace rather than a hotel in the middle of Mumbai. If you’re looking for affordable world-class luxury not far from the airport, then this is where you should be. What’s more, some of the best drinking and dining hubs in the city, Bandra Kurla Complex, is just 20 minutes away.
Hilton has a laundry list of amenities, some of the best of which are centered around food. It has three restaurants and bars, the best of which is The Brasserie, which is one of the best food haunts in the city. Apart from serving a gamut of cuisines round-the-clock, the place is particularly known for its midnight buffet. In fact, foodies from all over the city throng here only for this 12 a.m. food fiesta. When it comes to drinks, you can enjoy cocktails and nightcaps in The Lounge Bar. A rigorous workout at the fitness center later, head to the heavenly outdoor pool area. Surrounded by greenery all around, it’s the perfect spot to unwind in the middle of the chaotic city.
The rooms, even entry-level ones, feature stunning Victorian-era decor and lavish marble bathrooms that are to die for. Aside from the slew of high-tech mod-cons that’s expected of the Hilton brand, they also have 24-hour room service and even butler service in the suites. What’s more, they even have bathtubs, complimentary evening cocktails, and amazing views around.
Backpacker Panda Colaba
If you’re looking for a budget gay friendly hotel in Mumbai, why not try a fun-filled stay at the Backpacker Panda? It comes from the able stable of the Backpacker chain that has outposts both in India as well as many other countries. The best part? It allows you to stay on a budget in the otherwise wallet-heavy Colaba, one of the poshest areas of Mumbai. It also leaves you with enough savings to explore the Top 10 Things To Do In Mumbai to the fullest.
Just like other hostels, the life of the hostel is outside the rooms in its communal areas. The hub is the common area which doubles as a dining lounge, which is the perfect place to strike up conversations with fellow travelers. The highlight, though, is the rooftop that’s lined with benches. Here, you can have a cocktail or beer to wind down after a long day in frenzied Mumbai. Apart from this, the well-equipped kitchenette is a great place to whip up quick meals, especially when you’re on a budget. Finally, there’s even a drinking water cooler on every floor, which offers respite from the Mumbai heat.
Before heading here, do look into the Panda License, which is a one-time cost of INR 99 (USD 1.32). If you buy this, then you get an instant cashback for the same amount, apart from discount pricing on hostels and money-saving travel bookings. The grey-and-pink structure heritage-structured hostel has both female-only/mixed dorms and private rooms. Dorm rooms have privacy curtains, reading lights, soft mattresses, and under-bed locker storage. Both private and dorm rooms also feature spotless ensuite bathrooms.
The Gordon House Hotel
Not all hotels in the posh and pulsating Colaba have to be expensive, as is evidenced by the stylish yet affordable Gordon House Hotel. One of the best LGBT friendly hotels in Mumbai, the Gordon House Hotel sits just half a km from the iconic Gateway of India. Exuding old-fashioned charm and serenity, the hotel is as convenient and chic as it is affordable. The guesthouse-hotel sits in a whitewashed colonial-style structure and features a 24-hour front desk, room service, and a lively bar and nightclub on-site. What’s more, its affordable rates even include a hearty breakfast, which includes both local and international specialties.
The rooms are the real highlight at this place and are spread across three floors. What’s more, they’re decked out according to the level they’re on – Mediterranean, English Country, and Scandinavian. Moreover, all of them are spacious, given how premium space is in a city like Mumbai. Plenty of natural light, vibrant furniture, ensuite bathrooms, and flatscreen TVs are mainstays in all.
Taj Mahal Palace
Besides being one of the best luxury hotels in the city, the majestic Taj Mahal Palace is also one of the best gay friendly hotels in Mumbai. And, it’s no surprise. The Taj brand is well-known for its forward-thinking hospitality, and that is also evident in this iconic hotel. The best part? It has one of the best possible locations in the entire city – it sits next to the imposing Gateway of India and looks over the Arabian Sea.
It’s not a surprise that this hotel has long been one of the 11 Best Hotels in Mumbai. It exudes an old-world grandeur that’ll truly make your stay here as special as it gets. Modeled after a Rajput palace, the hotel has a long list of fabulous amenities. The standout among them is the swimming pool, which is unarguably one of the best in South Mumbai. It also has chaise lounges and daybeds and is ensconced in lush foliage, making it a truly relaxing place to wind down. After a workout in the state-of-the-art fitness center, head for a relaxing massage or body treatment session to the top-of-the-line spa. Head down for high tea early evening, which is also amongst the best in Mumbai, before choosing from six restaurants and bars for dinner. Do visit the memorial that’s dedicated to those who perished in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
You can choose between rooms and suites in the original heritage wing or the modern tower rooms. If an Indian vintage experience is what you want, go for the heritage rooms. If you like stellar views, the new ones are best. Nevertheless, all rooms feature high-tech mod-cons, huge bathrooms, and lavish, plush furnishings.
Sofitel Mumbai BKC
Another great gay friendly hotel in Mumbai’s BKC neighborhood is the Sofitel Mumbai BKC. The property might not have the best location for sightseeing, but it sure makes up for the same with its style and service. The hotel pays homage to its French and Indian ‘AccorHotels’ ownership by blending both elements into the design. Think Indian paisley patterns, artworks featuring Hindu temple, sandstone stupas, and 1920s Parisian chandeliers.
The hotel has a superb set of amenities that’ll make you feel like spending at least an entire day here. The outdoor pool with daybeds, for instance, is a welcome respite from Mumbai’s humidity. If you’re a fitness fanatic, then the gym is perfect for you. However, its the serene spa that is the ideal sanctuary for relaxation and rejuvenation. It’s got a great roster of well-priced treatments for you to choose from. Don’t miss relishing delicious Mughal-inspired Indian cuisine at Jyran, one of its best restaurants. Rounding up all amenities into one impeccable service package is the unfailingly helpful staff.
Rooms at Sofitel are inspired by boudoirs, and you’ll feel like royalty amidst the black marble bathrooms and rich purple fabrics. Coffeemakers, flatscreen TVs, and docking stations aside, the rooms have squishy beds and equally soft seating areas. The bathrooms, which have bathtubs and even accompanying bath salts, feel like an extension of the spa itself.
Trident Bandra Kurla
One of the best LGBT friendly hotels in Mumbai’s upscale and buzzing Bandra Kurla Complex is the Trident. If you’re a fan of Mumbai’s nightlife and want to delve deep into it, then there’s no place better to stay. This contemporary luxury hotel is surrounded by some of the best drinking and dining places in the entire city.
The style at the trident is minimalist-modern with a touch of Indian, and that’s what makes it stand out. The minute you enter, you cannot tear your eyes away from the metal and huge hanging glass sculptures, splashes of red from the abstract paintings in the background. The outdoor swimming pool is a masterstroke – it overlooks the entire BKC skyline. Do visit the spa, which has been known to relieve your body of all and any stress that you might have. A 24-hour fitness center ensures that you’re able to get in some workout whenever you want. Which, we think will be required after digging into lip-smacking cuisine at the three fabulous restaurants and pastry shops on-site. However, it’s the service that is the highlight, with staff taking care of everything from booking cars to unpacking suitcases.
A red-and-beige color palette in the rooms is pleasing to the eye. Besides floor-to-ceiling windows with city views, all rooms feature the standard slew of high-tech mod-cons that you’d expect at a well-appointed five-star. Bathrooms are particularly amazing, with bathtubs and lots of space to move around.
There’s no feeling in the world like staying in the upscale, old-world Colaba in Mumbai, especially when you get to stay on a budget. And that’s exactly what the Carlton Hotel promises. One of the best gay friendly hotels in Mumbai’s Colaba area, the hotel sits right opposite the luxurious Taj Mahal Palace. What’s more, it offers nice digs at less than one-third the price of the lavish hotel, and that too for a location right across the street! So, you cannot get a better-located budget hotel in Colaba than this one.
The hotel sits in a heritage 1958-built structure, which is evident as you see it from outside. Its offerings might be basic, but you’re located right in the very heart of a glorious neighborhood from the times when Mumbai was ‘Bombay.’ On the inside, the hotel offers a 24-hour desk and free WiFi. It doesn’t have a restaurant, but you’re in proximity to some of the oldest and new best restaurants in Colaba.
Rooms are also on the basic side but have ensuite bathrooms, flatscreen TVs, and comfy enough beds. What’s more, they’re all air-conditioned, have luggage storage space, and even have coffee machines.
Mumbai’s coastline holds an allure that’s hard to define, and we won’t be surprised if you want to stay in the lap of luxury right by the Arabian Sea in the city. And when it comes to that, there’s no better place to stay than The Oberoi. The towering, gay friendly five-star escape lies on the iconic Queen’s Necklace, the curved coastline on the equally iconic Marine Drive in Nariman Point. Of all the esteemed and sought-after addresses in the city, this is the place to be.
For the last 47 years, the Oberoi Mumbai is still considered one of the best luxurious hotels in Mumbai. And when you enter, you’ll see why. The showstopping atrium lobby has everything from artwork and sculptures to a grand piano sitting against floor-to-ceiling windows with the sea beyond. You won’t have to lift a finger here, as is evidenced by the presence of personalized butlers, in-room dining, and even in-room massages. However, we do recommend that you head down to the hushed and exclusive Oberoi Spa, which is one of the city’s best. The restaurants at this hotel are something – they even have a Michelin-star Indian restaurant, which we personally recommend. Take a day off to lounge at the spectacular outdoor pool, where you can keep ordering drinks off the bar.
You have no dearth of luxury at any of the rooms and suites here, all of which boast eye-popping views of the Arabian Sea or the South Mumbai skyline. Blackout blinds and double-glazed windows aside, all rooms have lavish marble bathrooms, plush, rich fabrics, high-tech mod-cons, and specially-commissioned artwork.
Just So You Know:
- Mumbai is the unofficial gay capital of the country. It even has India’s first registered LGBTQ magazine called ‘Bombay Dost,’ which translates to ‘Bombay friend’ or ‘Friend in Bombay.’
Get Some Culture in Mumbai:
- Queer Azaadi Mumbai – Mumbai Pride: This was the first public event after homosexuality was criminalized in India! Since then, it’s only been going from strength to strength. It features everything from a massive pride march to fun parties.
- LGBTQ Friendly Mumbai City Tour: Explore Maximum City on this lovely LGBTQ-friendly tour.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Mumbai:
As mentioned earlier, there are no gay clubs and bars per se in Mumbai. However, these places are extremely gay friendly and are welcoming towards the LGBTQ set.
- Doolally Taproom: This fun microbrewery is a great place to chug some beer and participate in fun weekly events like chess tournaments and quizzes.
- AER: This Four Seasons’ rooftop bar is one of the best in Mumbai. It offers incredible sweeping views of the city and the Arabian Sea. Take in the views over cocktails and delicious food.
Best Gay Saunas in Mumbai:
Unfortunately, there are no exclusively gay saunas in Mumbai. Instead, you can head to one of the spa and saunas at one of the many amazing hotels mentioned above. That said, we’re hoping the scene changes soon!