Taj Mahal Palace & Tower

The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower is a five-star hotel located in the Colaba region of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, next to the Gateway of India. Part of the Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces, this building is considered the flagship property of the group and contains 565 rooms. From a historical and architectural point of view, The Taj Mahal Palace and the Tower are two distinct buildings, built at different times and in different architectural designs.

The hotel has hosted notable guests including The Beatles, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Bill Clinton, Jacques Chirac, The King & Queen of Norway, The Duke & Duchess of Kent, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, Roger Moore, Joan Collins, Mick Jagger, Deep Purple, Michael Palin, Hillary Clinton, Michelle & Barack Obama as well as professional cricket teams on tour. According to the BBC, after the Mumbai attacks of November 2008 by terrorists, the hotel serves as a symbol of Mumbai's resilience.

History

The Taj Mahal Palace hotel resort was commissioned in Indo-Saracenic style by Tata and first opened its doors to guests on 16 December 1903.

It is widely believed that Jamsedji Tata decided to build the hotel after he was refused entry to one of the city's grand hotels of the time, Watson's Hotel, as it was restricted to 'whites only'. However, this story has been challenged by some commentators that suggest that Tata was unlikely to have been concerned with 'revenge' against his British adversaries. Instead they suggest that the Taj was built at the urging of editor of the Times of India who felt a hotel "worthy of Bombay" was needed.

The original Indian architects were Sitaram Khanderao Vaidya, Ashok kumar and D. N. Mirza, and the project was completed by an English engineer, W. A. Chambers. The builder was Khansaheb Sorabji Ruttonji Contractor who also designed and built its famous central floating staircase. The cost of construction was £250,000 (£127 million today). During World War I, the hotel was converted into a 600-bed hospital. The dome of the hotel is made from steel as used in the Eiffel Tower. Jamsedji Tata imported the same steel during that time. The hotel was the first in India to install and operate a steam elevator. The hotel imported American fans, German elevators, Turkish baths and English butlers, for the first time in India

The side of the hotel seen from the harbour is actually its rear. The front faces away to the west. There is a widespread misconception that the architects' building plans were confused by the builder so that he built it facing away from the harbor. This is not true, as the hotel was deliberately built facing inland, possibly because the horse carriages in which guests came to the hotel could more easily approach the hotel from the city. The carriages were then taken to Wellington Mews. 40 years ago, the old front was closed off, and since then, access has been made through the harbor-side entrance. Wellington Mews has now been converted into luxury service apartments operated and owned by the Taj group.

On the site where the tower wing now stands used to be a hotel called Green's Hotel. Green's was popular among sailors due to its low cost and was notorious for its wild parties. at the Apollo Bunder, which was purchased by the Taj Mahal Hotel. In 1973, Green's hotel was demolished and the present Tower wing was constructed in its place.

At the time when Mr. Jamshyd D. F. Lam of the Taj Group was the General Manager from the year 1980-1985 the Hotel the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower the hotel ranked as the 5th best Hotel in the world and carried on the rank for the year after too The Hotel in 2010 is ranked 20th in Asia in the prestigious Conde Nast Traveller Readers' Travel Awards.

Dining
  • Zodiac Grill
  • Chef's Studio
  • Golden Dragon
  • Wasabi by Marimoto
  • Le Patisserie
  • Shamiana
  • Harbour Bar
  • Starboard Bar
  • Masala Kraft
  • Souk
  • Sea Lounge
  • Aquarius
2008 terrorist attack

On 26 November 2008, in a series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the hotel (as well as the Oberoi) was attacked, during which material damage occurred including the destruction of the roof of the hotel in the hours afterwards. Hostages were taken during the attacks. At least 167 people were killed, including many foreigners. The casualties were mostly Indian citizens, although westerners carrying foreign passports were singled out. Indian commandos killed the gunmen barricaded in the hotel to end the three-day battle.

The attacks began 26 November 2008 and continued for a little over 60 hours. Approximately 450 people were staying in the Taj Mahal Palace and Hotel at the time of the seizure, and another 380 in the Oberoi. The Hotel Management has announced that the hotel will be rebuilt. It will take around 12 months and 500 crore (US$111.5 million) to repair it.

The less damaged sections of the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel reopened on 21 December 2008. It took several months to rebuild the popular heritage section of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

In July 2009, Hillary Clinton visited Mumbai, aiming to deepen Indo-American ties and stayed at the Taj hotel. She attended a commemoration event. "I wanted to send a message that I personally and our country is in sympathy and solidarity with the employees and the guests of the Taj who lost their lives ... with the people of Mumbai," Clinton said in an interview with India's Times Now.

On 15 August 2010, the Taj Mahal Palace, was reopened after restoration, The cost of the restoration of the hotel so far has been 1.75 billion Rupees (Estimated $40 Million USD). The palace wing has been restored and offers new hotel services.

On November 6, U.S. President Barack Obama while visiting India became the first foreign head of state to stay at the Taj Majal Palace after the attacks. In a speech from the terrace of the hotel, Obama said, "the Taj has been the symbol of the strength and the resilience of the Indian people."

Literature
  • William Warren, Jill Gocher (2007). Asia's legendary hotels: the romance of travel. Singapore: Periplus Editions. ISBN 978-0-7946-0174-4. 
  • It has also been mentioned in the short story "Sahab Bahadur" by Indian writer Sultan Rashed Mirza, Farhat Ullah Baaaig, and in the novel "Delinquent Chacha" by Ved Mehta.

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