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Taj, Trident to reopen on December 21

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai 

Raymond Bickson

The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, stormed last month by terrorists, will partially reopen four days before Christmas.

The modern Tower wing of the iconic, red-domed waterfront complex would be back in business at 7 pm on December 21, according to a statement issued today by Indian Hotels, the owner of the Taj chain. The Tower has 277 rooms along with three restaurants — the Souk, Zodiac Grill and Starboard.

The Tower wing of the Taj hotel will join the Oberoi-owned Trident, which has already announced plans to open its doors on the same day. The Trident was not badly scarred by the attack, unlike the more opulent Oberoi.

The hotel’s reservation desk has already started accepting bookings with the minimum room rate being Rs 11,600 a night. The Tower wing has 277 superior and deluxe rooms, 146 of which face the sea.

The 565-room Taj Mahal Palace and Tower in Mumbai accounts for about 13 per cent of Indian Hotels’ consolidated revenues of Rs 2,920 crore. East India Hotels, which owns the Trident-Oberoi complex, gets about 40 per cent of its revenues from its 888-room property in Mumbai.

A special arrangement will also be made by the Taj group involving congregation of ministers and clerics of seven religions called upon for their blessing and benediction.

“We dedicate our reopening to the city of Mumbai as affirmation of the values of courage, resilience and dignity,” said Raymond Bickson, Indian Hotels’ managing director and chief executive.

“To reopen the Taj with such speed but with no loss of attention to details, shows our resolve to commemorate all the innocent and brave people who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks… In their honour, the Taj will shine again in all its brilliance,” he said.

Structural engineers are assessing the extent of the damage to the old part of the hotel and no date has been set for its reopening.

The heritage wing of the Taj and Oberoi have suffered far greater damage than the Trident and the Tower wing. Both will have to undergo restoration and refurbishing that could take several months. Both the hospitality groups have pledged to rebuild every inch of their hotels.

Taj and Trident/Oberoi were among 13 locations in south Mumbai attacked by terrorists on November 25, which left 179 people dead, including 26 foreigners, and another 294 injured.

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First Published: Sun, December 14 2008. 00:00 IST