Every hotel has a story – real and reel in varying degree. One of the most popular ones being that of the making of Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
But before we re-share the mystique a billionth time let’s get inspired by Bombay’s (now Mumbai) first harbor landmark, built some 20 years before Gateway of India.
As for the background to its foundation, it is said, Jamshedji N Tata, founder of India’s top business house Tata, was once not allowed entry into Watson’s Hotel (or perhaps Pyrke’s Apollo Hotel) in Mumbai, the then Bombay, on account of his being a non-white. This racial discrimination pushed him to foray into the hospitality industry with the launch of the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers in 1903. Another story goes that he (Mr. Tata) already had the idea of ‘a world class hotel worthy of Bombay’ in his mind, and had made much study of the subject. No matter which version you believe but then took off India’s first and largest chain of hotels – Indian Hotels Company, better known by its flagship brand the Taj. And with this Taj pioneered the Indian hospitality with many firsts in infrastructure and services.
This was the only hotel of Taj till 1971 after which the group added two to three hotels each year to reach 117 hotels globally including 100 in India. The 100th hotel milestone was marked last week only with the opening of 208-room Vivanta by Taj at Gurgaon, 17 miles from New Delhi.
» The Ballroom is made from steel that was used to build the Eiffel Tower.
» On December 16, 1903, the doors of the Taj opened to the public at Rs 6 per room. Post renovation in the 1970’s the rooms cost Rs 90 for a single room on without meals.Today, a room costs Rs 28,000!
Good reads on Taj Mahal Palace
- In the Lap of Luxury (featured story on Tata Group Hotels)
- The Taj Mahal hotel will, as before, survive the threat of destruction
- Wah Taj! When sentiment and luxury graced a heritage walk
This post is written while updating my company’s revamped website http://www.india-heritage-hotels.com. Just got inspired by the hotel’s past and felt like recollecting and sharing.