Tag Archives: The Esplanade Hotel

A Mogul Meal

13 September, 2013
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Flooring: The Army Restaurant (1932)

Flooring: The Army Restaurant (1932)

The Esplanade Hotel, Esplanade Road, Fort, (presently Esplanade Mansion, Mahatma Gandhi Road).

The Army Restaurant is a popular Irani cafe run by members of Bombay’s Persian Muslim or Mogul community. By the 1850’s Mogul migrants in Bombay were well organized into a community- with their own representatives, institutions and infrastructure of a consul, mosque, shrines and residential strongholds.

Ms Bombaywalla thanks the all male staff of the restaurant for their eagerness to be in every frame and the running commentary of yes, smile, cheeze, please.

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You say Tata and I say hello

5 July, 2013
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The Esplanade Hotel (1871)

Porticos: The Esplanade Hotel (1871)
Esplanade Road, Fort, (presently Esplanade Mansion, Mahatma Gandhi Road).

Among the urban legends of Bombay is the story that the industrialist Jamsetji Tata begun the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in 1903, in retaliation for being denied admission into the European run and owned The Esplanade Hotel.
The story seems implausible for several reasons not least because John Watson’s The Esplanade admitted Indian guests as early as 1871, the year of its opening. Three young Bengalis, fresh from passing the Civil Service Examination in England in 1871, chose to stay at The Esplanade Hotel before their return to Calcutta.

Yesterday’s newspapers inform that the Esplanade Mansion (nee Hotel), India’s oldest surviving building with a cast iron framework, will be redeveloped. See the Local category of our Media Section for the reports.

The photograph is shot by Hersh Acharya.

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The Remains of the Day

19 March, 2013
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The Remains of the Day

The Esplanade Hotel (1871)
Esplanade Road, Fort, (presently Esplanade Mansion, Mahatma Gandhi Road).

The current condition of the interiors and exteriors of The Esplanade Hotel is shameful. The Esplanade was India’s first grand hotel and the oldest surviving building with a cast iron framework.

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W for Watson

19 March, 2013
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SS-C1913-Balcony01

Balcony: The Esplanade Hotel (1871)

Esplanade Road, Fort, (presently Esplanade Mansion, Mahatma Gandhi Road).

In the early hotel trade in Bombay, leading proprietors’ names were synonymous with their hotels. The Esplanade Hotel was popularly called Watson’s Hotel, after John Watson, the English proprietor and merchant.

Notice the monogram ‘W’ on the balcony railing.

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