Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel will reopen next week

Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel will reopen before Christmas after being stormed last month by Islamist militants according to its owners last 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, 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.

“In their honour, the Taj will shine again in all its brilliance,” he said.

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 has 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.

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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