The closure of terror-hit Taj Mahal and Oberoi-Trident hotels in south Mumbai has created a shortage of 1,407 hotel rooms (Taj – 539, Trident – 541, Oberoi – 327) for an unspecified period.
Though unfortunate, it means a bonanza for the remaining south Mumbai five star hotels, which includes Intercontinental at Marine Drive and Taj President in Cuffe Parade. Even ITC Grand Maratha at Parel (230 rooms) and Four Seasons (200 rooms) in Worli, both in central Mumbai, will also benefit as business travellers prefer to stay close to their meeting venues.
There are about 2,100 rooms in south and central Mumbai including the Taj and Oberoi -Trident hotels. North Mumbai has 4,000 rooms.
This is the high-peak tourist season when bookings are almost 100 per cent. In such a situation, it would be very difficult for visitors to get a room. Rooms, if available, would be at a premium.
The old heritage wing at the Taj, which has suffered extensive damage, will take at least a year to be rebuilt while the new wing may reopen sooner. But no official date has been announced. Taj, in the meanwhile, is shifting its guests to Taj President (254 rooms) and to Taj Lands End at Bandra. But Oberoi has no other property in the city.
Oberoi is not accepting any fresh booking for Mumbai till December 31, by which time the Trident should reopen. But the Oberoi hotel, with 327 rooms, that has suffered terrible damage will take more time to restart. “At the moment, we can’t say when the hotels will reopen. The damage at Oberoi is much more than Trident,” said PRS Oberoi, chairman, Oberoi Group on Saturday.
Incidentally, the Oberoi press conference was organised at Intercontinental. Other hotels such as Ambassador and Marine Plaza could also benefit.
The airline crew, which used to stay in Taj and Oberoi, will have to shift to hotels in north Mumbai. Leisure travellers may opt for other posh hotels like JW Marriott in Juhu, The Leela, ITC Grand Maratha, Le Royal Méridien, Intercontinental, Hyatt Regency, all in Andheri, Grand Hyatt at Santacruz and Renaissance at Powai.
“I don’t see an inventory crisis as traffic has dropped due to global meltdown,” said Partha Chatterjee, director, Berggruen Hotels, who had worked in Taj for 27 years. “Taj and Oberoi would open these two hotels as early as possible as these are their flagship properties.