Hotel Majestic and Waterloo Mansion
When WA Chambers and Company built their masterpiece, the Taj Mahal Hotel in 1903, it wasn’t long before their services were required again. This time it was an Italian firm, which ran top-class hotels like the snobbish Savoy in Mussorie and Carlton in Lucknow, who wanted to build a luxury hotel in Bombay.
The company obliged. By 1909, it had built an eye-catching Indo Saracenic structure with 96 bedrooms and two electric lifts, a haveli-style facade and entrance, complete with minarets. The Majestic was majestic in every sense of the word and became one of Bombay’s most luxurious hotels. Today it has been converted to a hostel for members of the legislative assembly and a restaurant and departmental store operates out of its lower floor.
The Waterloo Mansion (now known as the Indian Mercantile Building) was built early in the first decade of the 20th century and distinguishes itself from its Majestic neighbour by being built in the Gothic style. Turrets, black stone facades, sloping tiled roofs and pointed arches make up its architecture.
Constructed for residential purposes, it’s apartments are now used as doctors’ clinics and the offices of the state excise department. The ground floor counts an antique store, a posh restaurant and some fabric and souvenir stores.
City guides like to call this area the Kingly precinct because its buildings have names like Taj Mahal Hotel, Prince of Wales Museum, Majestic Hotel, Regal Cinema and Café Royal. It has been one of the most photographed parts of the city.