The two luxury Mumbai hotels attacked and held under siege last month are taking bookings and will partially reopen for business this weekend.
Images of flames leaping from the dome of the Taj Mahal hotel quickly became symbolic 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 November 29, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi’s Trident hotel have beefed 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, managing director of Indian Hotels Corporation, which runs the Taj Group.
The Trident hotel sustained less damage than its sister hotel, the Oberoi – the two are connected by a bridge. All 550 rooms of the Trident will be available, along with the hotel’s restaurant, said 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,” she said.
Ratan Tata, 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.
Some 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.
India blames the attacks on the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and has called on Pakistan to crack down on terrorists thought to be operating from their soil.
Police captured the lone surviving gunman during the attack, and have been repeatedly interrogating him about the operation.