The Oberoi, the landmark hotel in Mumbai that Pakistani terrorists targeted in November 2008, killing 32 people, reopened on Saturday with a brand new look, 287 guest rooms and tighter security.
The five-star hotel at Nariman Point underwent extensive restoration and renovation costing Rs 180 crore to return to life on the Mumbai seafront. Hotel executives said they already had bookings for 37 rooms.
Ashok Chavan, who became Maharashtra chief minister after the terrorist carnage, lit a brass lamp in the hotel lobby and cut a ribbon to formally declare the hotel open. In brief remarks, he wished the hotel staff all the best.
Ten Oberoi employees were among the 32 people killed in the hotel when terrorists went on a killing spree after sneaking into the city by the sea Nov 26, 2008.
The Oberoi was one of the pre-determined targets where they killed people at will, leaving a total of 166 Indians and foreigners dead in three days that numbed the world.
The new-look Oberoi will offer contemporary, luxurious ambience with a touch of Indian charm, an official said. Predictably, it will also have a tighter security cover.
The new hotel has 287 guest rooms, down from the earlier 327. The suites have been increased from 22 to 73, including two presidential suites called Kohinoor and Golconda.
There are 37 room bookings for the coming week, and all three restaurants of the hotel were booked for the weekend, the official said.
"Around Rs.180 crore has been spent on restoration and renovation," said Liam Lambert, president of the hotel.
Present on the occasion was hotel chairman P R S Oberoi.
"After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the chief minister took a tour of the hotel and had lunch with the management," a spokesperson said. Chavan spent almost two hours at the hotel.
The Oberoi on an average generated a revenue of Rs 160 crore a year before the terror attack.