26 Dec 2008

Marriott to reopen three months after bombing

9:19 am on 26 December 2008

The luxury Marriott Hotel in Pakistan will reopen on Sunday, three months after it was ripped apart by a truck bomb that killed 60 people.

The attack by a suicide bomber, whose vehicle was packed with 600kg of explosives, was the worst in the besieged country this year and reduced the hotel to a charred shell on 20 September.

The city's expatriate community was left reeling from the bombing, which killed the Czech ambassador, two Americans and a Vietnamese woman.

Peter Alex, the chief operating officer of the Hashoo group which owns the 289 room hotel, said "new concepts of security and safety" have been used in the extensive renovation work, to ensure guests can check in without fear.

Mr Alex said 60 rooms would be available from Sunday for the Marriott's "soft reopening", with the entire hotel due to be open for business by March.

A new 3.5m bombproof wall has been erected in front of the hotel to absorb the shock of a massive explosion outside, like the one in September.