April 27 2010
Much anticipated by Travelista and those in her line of wander work – but also by layperson voyagers the world over who simply love India, and in particular Mumbai – are two openings that truly gladden the heart, occurring within weeks of each other. The venerated Taj Mahal (pictured; www.tajhotels.com, from £456) and The Oberoi Mumbai (www.oberoihotels.com; from £517), after being targeted in the terrorist attacks of November 2008 – and consequently closing for the intervening 18 months for extensive restorations – will both re-open completely for business in the next few weeks.
The Taj, as much a landmark of Mumbai society as of the city’s horizon, suffered the most extensively; its Palace wing was all but destroyed, and had to be meticulously rebuilt and furnished. Now it’s fully operational, to the pride of locals, the relief of frequent fliers who’d long relied on its top-flight service – and especially to the subcontinent’s sushi aficionados, who can now flock to Wasabi by Morimoto.
Likewise, among the attractions of the gorgeous, completely renovated Oberoi (a contemporary foursquare foil to the Taj Mahal’s ornate early-20th-century appeal) is Ziya, the new restaurant manned by Vineet Bhatia, the chef behind Rasoi in London. But the rooms impress equally, with polished white-marble floors and floor-to ceiling windows with views of the Arabian Sea. Whether your tastes hew more to opulent tradition or to the sleek, skyscraping glass face of the new India, the return of these two venerated properties is worth heralding.