x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Mumbai hotels set to reopen

The luxury hotels in Mumbai at the centre of the recent attacks will partially re-open this weekend with increased security.

The Taj Mahal hotel burned during gun battles between Indian military and militants inside the hotel in Mumbai, India.
The Taj Mahal hotel burned during gun battles between Indian military and militants inside the hotel in Mumbai, India.

MUMBAI // The two five-star Mumbai hotels attacked and held under siege last month are taking reservations and will partially reopen for business this weekend, managers said today. Images of flames leaping from the dome of the Taj Mahal hotel quickly became an icon of the three-day attack, which left 164 dead. In addition to the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi hotel, the gunmen attacked eight other sites across India's financial capital. Nearly three weeks after the siege ended on Nov 29, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi's Trident hotel have stepped up security and are accepting reservations for Sunday and onwards, managers said.

"We dedicate our reopening to the city of Mumbai as an affirmation of the values of courage, resilience and dignity," said Raymond Bickson, the managing director and chief executive of Indian Hotels Corporation, which runs the Taj Group of hotels. The Trident sustained less damage than its sister hotel, the Oberoi, the two being connected by a bridge. All 550 rooms of the Trident will be available, along with the hotel's restaurant, said Ketaki Narain, a spokeswoman for the Oberoi Group. The Oberoi is still under repair. The Oberoi has upgraded its security because "we cannot depend on local law enforcement agencies," Mrs Narain said.

Ratan Tata, the chairman of the company that owns the Taj Mahal hotel, criticised the government's response to the attacks as slow and ineffective. He vowed to upgrade the hotel's security with help from overseas. "We have decided that we would look at the protection of our assets and our people ourselves," Mr Tata said on Monday. "We'll seek external expertise to help us." About 235 rooms will open in the Taj Mahal hotel on Sunday, while the rooms in the older wing of the 105-year-old building are repaired.

* AP