Mumbai presents an almost implausible contrast, between skeletal dogs in the streets and people living on top of each other in slums, to flaunting its new face of modern luxury and creative ambition. You will absolutely need breaks and time to relax and reflect on the disparity. I raised my glass to the dizzying hub of India in three chic bars, all in vastly different neighborhoods:
Aurus: In Juhu, a wealthy beachfront neighborhood in South Mumbai, is Bollywood central! At Aurus, situated right on the beach (pictured, top), you're almost guaranteed to spot a star that lives nearby. An outdoor drink at Aurus might even help break the humidity of a Mumbai night. Nichani Kutir, Ground Floor, Juhu Tara Road; 011-91-22-6710-6666.
Indigo: Set in an old colonial mansion in Colaba, near the city's landmark Gateway of India, the long bar within Indigo's restaurant space is calming with yellow walls and comfy leather chairs. Light up at the cigar bar and chat with Mumbai's creative and artsy class or sip wine on the rooftop terrace. 4 Mandlik Road, Colaba; 011-91-22-6636-8981.
The Eau Bar at The Oberoi Mumbai: You won't be bumping elbows at Eau Bar-the space is expansive and contemporary but features a classic live band at night. In the daylight, there's a great water (Get it? Eau=Water) view of the Arabian Sea. There's even a full menu page of Vegetable Cocktails. After a crazy Mumbai day, there's nothing like a relaxing Beetini or Cucumber Cool looking at the city lights of the Queen's Necklace. You may also want to try Ziya, their signature restaurant pairing international flavors with Indian cuisine.
The Oberoi Mumbai, Nariman Point; 011-91-22-6632-5757.
Photo courtesy of Aurus.
Guest blogger and New York-based travel writer Annie Fitzsimmons writes about travel and is a frequent contributor to TravelandLeisure.com. Follow her on Twitter at @anniefitz.