Sunday, Jul 03, 2022
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Enjoy Kolkata's Vintage Charms At These Boutique Hotels

The next time you find yourself in Kolkata, fall in love with old-world charm at these offbeat stays

Raajkutir is designed on the lines of a traditional Bengali ‘raajbari’
Raajkutir is designed on the lines of a traditional Bengali ‘raajbari’

Calcutta Bungalow

This heritage BnB in North Kolkata takes its design cues from the area’s rich history. Its six rooms showcase the professions of old neighbourhoods and their trade. The Mochipara room, dedicated to cobblers, has Kolkata’s typical leather conductor bags on the walls. Jatrapara, the room dedicated to theatre artists who lived in the area, has a collage of colourful jatra posters. Dedicated to tailors and dressmakers, the Darzipara room has an old sewing machine turned into a table. The walls of the Patuapara room, the only one on the ground floor, show off the folk art of patuas. Boipara is a nod to College Street with its shelves stacked with old books from Abanindranath Tagore’s Raj Kahini to Julius Fucik’s Phansir Mancha Theke (based on the diary of Fucik who was a Czechoslovak journalist and a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia). And Sahibpara has Victorian buggy lights and photographs of old Calcutta.

Local influences weaved with the colonial in the Calcutta Bungalow
Local influences weaved with the colonial in the Calcutta Bungalow

The standout element here is the vintage brass bathtub. Each room has a working Olivetti typewriter in case you are in the mood to go old-style and hammer out a few letters. In the winter, you can take a book and chill on an armchair on the terrace (a pink neon light signage says ‘baro maashey tero parbon’ or that Bengal has 13 festivals in 12 months). The building was one of those crumbling townhouses that dot the North Kolkata landscape. That was till Iftekhar Ahsan of the award-winning city tour outfit, Calcutta Walks, and his friend, Chris Chen, thought of transforming the space into a heritage stay. Conservation architect Akhil Ranjan Sarkar and scenographer Swarup Dutta made sure while conceptualising the space that the vintage feel of the place was retained.

Check here for more information.

WHERE 5, Radha Kanta Jew Street, Fariapukur, Shyam Bazar 
CONTACT +91-9830184030, bungalow@calcuttawalks.com 

Glenburn Penthouse

The spacious suites at Glenburn Penthouse have a large sleeping area with antique four poster beds,
The spacious suites at Glenburn Penthouse have a large sleeping area with antique four poster beds,

This labour of love comes from the folks behind Darjeeling’s Glenburn Tea Estate (which once made it to Tatler’s list of the world’s top hotels). The nine-bedroom boutique hotel occupies the two topmost floors of an office building in the heart of Kolkata. Some suites have spectacular views of Victoria Memorial while others have private gardens with a jacuzzi. All rooms have antique four-poster beds (Burma teak carved with dancing girls and lions), desks with elephant-head handles on mirrored drawers, and bathrooms equipped with bathtubs, walk-in showers and their signature Glenburn Therapy Darjeeling green-tea bath accessories. There is also the infinity pool on the terrace from where the views of the city are spectacular. Watch out for the trippy wallpaper in the restaurant that was made in Paris and the pink Russian sofa and candy pink chandeliers in the lounge. Sign up for the Glenburn Private Excursions to explore the history, culture and cuisine of Bengal in the city.

For more information, check here.

WHERE Kanak Towers, 7A Russell Street 
CONTACT +91-9830258050 


Raajkutir

Raajkutir is built around a vast traditional uthon (courtyard).
Raajkutir is built around a vast traditional uthon (courtyard).

Located strategically on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, opposite Salt Lake Stadium, Raajkutir isn’t quite the same as the others on this list. Built on 13 acres, this is Ambuja Neotia’s latest development. The residence is an inspired period piece with 33 immaculately designed rooms with curated vintage décor. The architecture reflects the Bengal of the past with cast-iron balconies, patios, crests, etc., while the amenities are modern-day, including an all-day diner, a spa, a gym, a pool, an artisans gallery and a shopping arcade. The all-day dining space called East India Room reflects Bengal’s culinary influences—Jewish, British, Portuguese and Anglo-Indian. The Loafer’s Café is a patisserie and boulangerie that attempts to replicate Victorian-era high tea. The property, which recently came under the IHCL SeleQTions umbrella, also has three large banquets and facilities for corporate events or exhibitions. While Raajkutir has structured a fictional story behind it, of a certain Kaliprasanna Singha and his family, you can sign up for a tour to hear more about the fanciful tales.

For more information, check here.

WHERE 89C, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Sarani, Phool Bagan, Kankurgachi 
CONTACT +91-33-4084-4848


The Elgin Fairlawn

You can see history reflected on the walls of the 200 year old heritage building
You can see history reflected on the walls of the 200 year old heritage building

If you want to soak in genteel colonial charm, this should be your pitstop. Creaking with atmosphere, this iconic heritage hotel is housed inside a building built in 1783, and sits in the backpacker friendly neighbourhood of Sudder Street. Step inside and it’s all antiques and soft furnishings. This place was earlier run by eccentric memsahib Violet Smith and had housed every kind of celebrity from Nobel laureate Gunter Grass and musician Sting to playwright Tom Steppard and actor Patrick Swayze. The hotel is now owned by the Elgin Hotels & Resorts group.

For more information, check here.

WHERE 13A, Sudder Street 
CONTACT +91-33-40646300 

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