Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 17:47 pm (KSA) 14:47 pm (GMT)

Taj Mahal hotel set to reopen before Christmas

Hotel will reopen before Christmas and New Year's
Hotel will reopen before Christmas and New Year's

Stormed last month by Islamists, Mumbai's landmark Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel is defying the terrorist bombings, gun fire and blasts it withstood for three days with its plan to reopen before Christmas, its owners said on Saturday.

The modern Tower wing of the iconic, red-domed waterfront complex would be back in business on the evening of December 21, Indian Hotels Co Ltd, part of the Tata Group conglomerate, said.

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

"We dedicate our reopening to the city of Mumbai as affirmation of the values of courage, resilience and dignity," Raymond Bickson, the firm's managing director and chief executive, said in a statement.

"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," he said.

However, only the new wing of the hotel, known as The Taj Mahal Tower, will open in December, and the company did not say when the older part of sprawling Mumbai landmark would reopen.

The Tower was added in the 1970s but unlike the original Palace, escaped much of the damage during the 60-hour siege which also saw attacks on the Oberoi/Trident hotel, the city's main railway station and at other locations.

The Taj hotel first opened its doors in 1903 and quickly became the city's best hotel and the place to stay and be seen for everyone from visiting monarchs and heads of state to rock stars and millionaire business people.
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 group pledged to "rebuild every inch" of the hotel, which stands opposite the British colonial era Gateway of India monument.

The Oberoi Group earlier said the Trident hotel would also reopen on December 21. No date has been set for the opening of the adjoining Oberoi as it was more badly damaged.

Terror attacks on luxury hotel

Attackers set the Taj ablaze in an attempt to escape

Fire, water, shooting and grenade blasts during the 60-hour siege damaged the hotel, which was crowded with fine art, sculptures, chandeliers, photographs, and visitors' books signed by kings, rock stars, business barons and heads of state.

Gunmen took scores of guests hostage and battled commandos inside the flagship hotel of Indian conglomerate Tata Group, as the attackers killed 179 people on a three-day rampage in the financial hub last month.

A total of 172 people, including nine of the 10 gunmen, died in the attacks. Fifty-two people were killed at the Taj and 38 at the Oberoi/Trident. Twenty-two were hotel employees.

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