Club Hopping

There was a time in the long ago past where club hopping involved late nights, loud music and mixed drinks.  Other than the mixed drinks, club hopping has a totally different meaning for us than it once did!  Joining a club is a very popular thing for the expats here in Mumbai and we’ve considered it a possibility since we arrived.

In Brazil we were lucky…living in the Portal was like living at a Club.  We had our pick of green spaces, pools, playgrounds, trails, and a restaurant.  Living in our building here is pretty much the opposite.  Our building is nice enough, but all we have is a dingy pool out back (still disgusting from the monsoons) and some plastic climbing structures that have been “marked” by all the neighborhood pigeons and crows.  There are a few parks within walking distance, but oddly enough you are not allowed to walk on the grass or bring balls, scooters, or other play things into the park.  Those are hard rules to explain to kids!

Park Rules and Regulations

With our living situation being so different here, I knew a club membership was something that was going to be important for us to get for the kids.  There are plenty to choose from…the Hyatt, the Novatel, the Marriott, Breach Candy, and Waterstones are some of the most popular ones and each has features that make it better for some families than for others.

In our situation, I really wanted a  place with some green space, possibly a playground, a kids’ pool, an adult pool, a gym, and a really great weekend brunch. Any possibility of a kids’ area with monitors was on my wish list, but I wasn’t sure what that looked like here in India.  I also didn’t want it to be too far away since I know Stella still needs her afternoon nap and one of us will probably after bring her back while the other one of us keeps Noah and Sophie at the Club for the afternoon.

Last month we were invited to brunch with some friends at the Marriott.  The Marriott is located along Juhu Beach-only about 15 minutes away without too much traffic.  I was thrilled the moment we arrived-the American style brunch was amazing!  The waiters brought the kids shaped pancakes with chocolate or maple syrup the moment we sat down.  The coffee was good and the selection of bagels, bacon, omelets, muffins and fruit was straight out of the good ol’ U. S. of A.  I think I had a grin on my face the entire time we were there!  The Marriott is open, bright, and the waiters and waitresses doted on Stella the entire time we were there.  Not only did they bring us a high chair (definitely not a given in these parts) but they also gave here her own plastic plate and bowl to use.  It was great!

After brunch Paul took Stella home and I stayed with our friends to let Noah and Sophie swim.  They had a blast!  The kids’ pool is gorgeous and includes a water slide. The other pools, maybe four in all, are just as amazing.  The pool overlooks Juhu Beach, so you definitely feel like you are right on the Arabian Sea…except you can swim in the water.  There isn’t much green space (none, really), but the kids LOVED the pool, they have a nice toddler room with supervision, and the gym is equally nice.  And you can get mojitos delivered to you without ever moving from your chaise lounge.  Not that that is important to me or anything!

The MarriottView from the Pool

Drink Delivery at the Marriott

I left the Marriott ready to sign our life away for a club membership.  However, knowing we weren’t prepared to make a decision without seeing other clubs we waited.

Today we went to the Hyatt with friends for brunch and swimming.  It started off a bit rough as Noah was informed he HAD to wear pants for the brunch part of things.  Noah’s pretty easy going about his clothes, but the second anything involves “dressing up” he’s very skeptical.  Our friends showed us around the changing rooms, gym, etc…and it was all very nice.  We went downstairs for brunch and found an amazing spread.  Sushi (that we could actually eat), steak, waffles, fruit, and pretty much anything else you can imagine.  The kids went to town, determined to get their money’s worth!  Stella pretty much enjoyed everything we fed to her and then promptly through the unwanted bites onto the floor.  The Hyatt is attached to a nice mall and Noah, Stella, and I made a quick run to the book store while Soph and her friend got some fairies painted on their arms in the kids’ room.  After a few hours Stella was pretty much D.O.N.E. so Peter (our driver) took me back to the apartment with Stella and Paul stayed with Noah and Sophie to swim.  Noah ran into a friend and was able to go play soccer for a bit as well.  They came home around six thirty, so clearly it was a fun day!

So now it is decision time.  For various reasons the other clubs aren’t as appealing as the Hyatt or the Marriott.  To get into Breach Candy you need to interview, are limited to a three year stay, and must be “sponsored” but a European passport holder…too much red tape for me (and no kiddie pool!), Waterstones is really, really expensive, and the Novatel is less than appealing to the kids (both have visited with friends).  Both have some unique qualities that make them better than the other-the Hyatt has green space (Noah and Sophie already play Saturday Soccer there), but the Marriott has a water slide.  The Marriott has a toddler room, but the Hyatt has sushi.  The Hyatt is close to school, but the Marriott is on the ocean.  Hopefully we’ll decide something soon as the monsoons are over and we have nothing but sunshine and blue skies for the next six months or so.  I’m ready to sign!