An Oasis in Mumbai: Le Sutra

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Small But beautifully formed

For a large city, Mumbai is surprisingly short on small hotels, especially those with personality. Le Sutra,, is hoping to change that. This tiny property, which bills itself as the country's first "Indian art hotel," is located in the bohemian Bandra district, a stroll from the popular Carter Road seafront promenade and its cafés and restaurants.

Sutra in Sanskrit means the thread that binds things together, and Le Sutra aims to tie up mythologically inspired art and hospitality into a restful whole. What this means in practice is eclectic decor — rose quartz in the Mandala room, a Buddha fresco in the Nirvana room and peacock motifs in the vivid Shringar room. Every room has a different elaborately carved chair, inspired by Buddhist stupas, lotuses and yoga postures. Some of the accommodation, particularly on the lower floors, takes the spiritual theme a bit too far, but the overall effect is quirky without being tacky.

The hotel has just 16 rooms, not large but cleverly laid out, with free wi-fi laid on. A spa and art gallery will be added soon, and flanking the property are two very good restaurants: the swanky Mediterranean Olive Bar and Kitchen, frequented by Bollywood stars, and the more casual Out of the Blue, which serves steaks, pasta and sandwiches. There is no gym or pool, but travelers looking for space, luxury and facilities should stick to the five-star chains. Frequent visitors to Mumbai in search of a change of scene, on the other hand, may want to give this a try.