Mumbai’s Trident to open Sunday, Oberoi six months later

December 20th, 2008 - 3:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Dec 20 (IANS) The Trident hotel here will reopen Sunday, less than a month after terrorists ravaged it, but it will take “six to seven” months for the Oberoi to resume functioning, a senior official said Saturday. And when the Trident opens, it expects to see at least 100 of its rooms occupied, Rattan Keswani, president of Trident Hotels, told reporters at the hotel premises.

The Oberoi-Trident hotel, facing the Arabian Sea at Nariman Point, was one of the key targets the terrorists attacked and took over Nov 26, leading to three days of mayhem that killed over 170 people in the city.

Since then, the Oberoi-Tirdent as well as the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel near the Gateway of India have been shut.

“We believe the time has come to look to the future,” Keswani said. “The fear of the guests must be allayed aggressively. We need your help to get the travellers back.”

Keswani said the New India Assurance had advanced Rs.250 million to the hotel for it to open.

Keswani admitted that the terrorist attacks, for which New Delhi blamed Pakistani terrorist groups, had hit hard tourist traffic not just in Mumbai but all over India.

“Unfortunately cancellations have been reasonably heavy. It is unfortuantely true for most of the locations in the country. We expect 30 to 35 percent cancellations,” he said.

Keswani admitted that the impact of the terror attacks “will be a little high”.

He said that Sunday’s reopening will start with a prayer service, which will be attended by some of the guests who were in the hotel when heavily armed gunmen walked in and opened indiscriminate fire.

“All our patrons have been very understanding about the circumstances and are committed to return to the hotel soon,” said Keswani.

Priests representing all religions will offer prayers at the opening ceremony, while Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymns like “Sarva dharma prarthna” and “Shubh mangal ho” will be sung.

Keswani said it would be difficult to give a precise date when Oberoi hotel will open. “We hope that in 10-15 days our assessment will be complete. It might take six to seven months (for it to open).”

Keswani added that the hotel had no plans for gala Christmas and New Year parties. However, on both those days there will be special menus in the two restaurants, he said.

“We will not have any celebrations, that will not be the right thing to do.”

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