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#ICON: India’s most famous hotel set to be focus of new BBC documentary

India’s oldest and most famous hotel is to become the subject of a new BBC 2 documentary series.

‘Hotel India’ provides a unique and unprecedented look at the inner workings of Mumbai’s iconic Taj Mahal Palace hotel, one of the most recognizable landmarks in the sub-continent.

The hotel is most recently famous as being one of the targets of the devastating terrorist attacks on Mumbai in November 2008 when dozens of hostages were held inside the main hotel building as images of thick black smoke billowing from its’ beautifully crafted Indo-Gothic windows were transmitted around the world.

The hotel re-opened on Indian Independence Day in 2010 after a multi-million dollar restoration project and the four-part documentary series marks the hotel’s 110th anniversary this year.

The series is produced by the people behind ‘Inside Claridge’s’, the compelling documentary about London’s leading celebrity haunts.

‘Hotel India’ follows the 1500-strong staff of the Taj Palace as they respond to every whim and demand with the mantra ‘Guest is God’. 

The first programme follows General Manager Gaurav Pokhriyal and his team as they spend days making sure everything is more than just right for the hotel’s mind-numbing array of VIP guests: from heads of state to Bollywood stars, sports icons and the wealthiest men and women in the wealthiest city in India.

Among the highlights is a fabulously pricey society wedding and the first ever auction of Indian art by international auction house Christies, which was held at the Taj.

The program will also shed light on the eccentric characters who are drawn to iconic properties like the Taj: from the Texan oil heiress who spends half the year at the hotel to the Indian oil trader and his appropriately-monikered butler, Melville and many more in-between.

Garden Productions, the independent production house behind the show, has a stellar reputation for creating programming that delves deep into a given subject: other Garden credits include ’24 Hours in A&E’ and the award-winning ‘Bedlam’.

‘Hotel India’ will be no different. 

Intriguingly, the producers will also focus on the hotel’s equally iconic setting, Mumbai – home to the glamour of Bollywood, exorbitant wealth as well as being home to some of the world’s biggest slums. 

That contrast comes into painful focus as producers visit the modest homes of some of the staff members who serve India’s wealthiest and most privileged.

‘Hotel India’ is on BBC 2 beginning Wednesday 27 August at 8 pm.

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