India's celebrated Taj Mahal Palace reopens this Sunday after extensive terrorist damage
Mumbai’s imposing Taj Mahal Palace and Tower – now officially renamed as The Taj Mahal Palace – it to be reopened on Sunday 15th August after extensive reconstructive work following the devastating terrorist attacks of 26th November 2008. The celebrated opening has been timed to coincide with India’s 64th Independence Day.
During the three day attacks both the Taj Mahal Palace and neighbouring hotel The Oberoj were targeted and suffered extensive human casualties and major structural damage. Indian commandos killed the terrorist gunmen barricaded into the Taj Mahal Palace to end the three-day battle. Multiple areas of the hotel came under attack from fire, water and bullets, leading to over 21months of reconstructive action; despite the material damage portions of the Tower Wing were reopened only three weeks after the attack.
At the time, Chairman of The Indian Hotels Company Ltd, Mr Ratan Tata, said: “When we open the Heritage Wing and do whatever it takes to get back its old glory we will send a stronger message – a message that strongly resonates among all of us that we can be hurt, but we cannot be knocked down.” Staying true to this declaration, the company employed Lissoni Associati, Milan, BAMO, San Francisco, LTW Design Works, Kuala Lumpur and James Park Associates, Singapore to restore the majestic structure to its former glory.
Within the 285-room Palace Wing are 42 sumptuous new suites, of which 19 are themed; examples include the Coral, Maratha, Dutch and Dolphin. Additional luxury elements to the interior design include bathrooms laced with Italian marble, ergonomic furniture and home theatre systems. Named after owner Ratan Tata, the Tata Suite is a vast 5,000 sq m space with an equally vast price tag of €5,500 per night and is now set to open in September.
David Edwards, Managing Director of JPA’s Singapore office, said: “The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Mumbai is a magnificent hotel and after the tragic events of 2008, it was vital that our design was sensitive and appropriate to this landmark’s history, as well as offering guests the utmost in luxury and comfort. The results are interiors of refinement and elegance. They are unmistakably classical in origin, whilst offering all the leading edge technology that the affluent, modern guest could wish for.”
The restaurants and public spaces, including Sea Lounge, Golden Dragon, Harbour Bar, Wasabi by Morimoto, and the Ballroom have been renovated and are to be accompanied by innovative cuisine from the hotel’s team of acclaimed chefs.
Addressing his dedicated staff, Ratan Tata commented: “This flagship property, the venerable old lady, is going to reopen with the splendor that it has enjoyed for over a century. It is all of you [employees at the hotel] who have made it happen with your dedication and commitment.”
Rates at the Taj Mahal Palace start at 31,00 INR (approx €517) per double room, per night