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“A Fine Heritage Hotel” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Fairlawn Hotel

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Fairlawn Hotel
13/A Sudder Street, Kolkata (Calcutta) 700016, India   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #17 of 189 hotels in Kolkata (Calcutta)
Belfast, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“A Fine Heritage Hotel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2007

We stayed at the Fairlawn Hotel from the 20th - 22nd July 2007. Our party consisted of two adults and two small children.

Right from the moment we checked in we felt completely at home. We had arrived by train following a 24 hour run from Darjeeling. We were able to check in straightaway at 0840hrs, which was great. Once we had completed the usual formalities we were shown upstairs to a couple of old-fashioned type rooms that had everything we could possibly want; although I suspect that a degree in engineering would have enabled me to get the best out of the plumbing! The rooms were clean, had air-conditioning and had the largest supply of toilet paper ever seen during our travels in India.

The Fairlawn is a Heritage property with plenty of character. I had the opportunity to discuss the history of the hotel with the proprietor, Mrs Violet Smith, who is usually to be found around the reception area at various times of the day. She spoke about the hotel, Calcutta, British India etc. I could have easily spoken to her all day. I also had the opportunity to speak to her son-in-law who helps with the business (with his wife). All of our family were made to feel very welcome.

For a very modest tariff, we enjoyed full board and afternoon tea at the Fairlawn. The menu, which changed daily, was fixed and was take it or leave it. The food was perfectly ok. I also enjoyed spending the evenings in the Beer Garden, when I was not at the Bengal Club.

I would be quite happy to stay there again.

  • Liked — Ambiance, location, helpful staff, friendly owners
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
Date | Rating
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  • Dutch first
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English first
New York City
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2007

Well if you read the other reviews you can see a stay at the Fairlawn polarises into those who loved the experience and those who hated it.

I loved it, but then again I didnt go to India for 5 star service which reminiscent of hotels back home in the West. I went to India to experience India and all its eccentricities and idiosyncracies..

The Fairlwan sums up india and is a mix of the eccelctic English and Indian cultures which were the heyday of modern Indian history known as the Raj.

If you want perfect marble bathrooms, sublte airconditioning, michelin starred restaurants, elevator music and staff trained in Switzerland..

A) dont go to India and B) dont stay at the Fairlawn

If you are after adventure, fascinating company of like minded and interesting people, who you meet as frendly co-guests and depart and freinds

As well as a larger than life owner who makes your stay that much more memorable, then the Fairlawn is the place for you.

Its a place where royalty, movie stars, famous artists poets, movie makers and politicians have stayed and hey if its good enough for them.. its sure was good enough for me..

Very memorable, I doubt there are as many hotels around the world who would provoke such a reaction to a stay under its roof.

If you go into it with your eyes wide open and dont expect 5 star western conveniences in a 2 star hotel in India.. then its a must

  • Liked — eccelectic, fascnating, made to feel very at home
  • Disliked — the rooms need to be done up as do the bathrooms
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london uk
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2007

I have chosen to stay here multiple times since 1989, and although it is a gem, it is not everybody's cup of Darjeeling.

It is old and inadequately maintained. Hot water and air-con are unpredictable. Meals are palatable, but rather bland. Most rooms are fairly Spartan, often dimly lit, poorly decorated and sparsely furnished. Staff can sometimes be surly.

Having said that -- if you are looking for a travel experience rather than a luxurious bed in a hotel where you dine alone, don't meet a soul, and watch CNN in your room every evening, this is definitely THE PLACE to be. What is lacking in comfort and facilities is amply compensated by the company you will keep at shared dining tables - fascinating fellow-travelers, and possibly the odd movie star. This tiny little hotel is imbued with some kind of magic which attracts kindred spirits, and most guests forget the lack of comfort, ignore the kitsch, and instead embrace the bonhomie. The longer you stay, the more this is apparent, the friendlier it becomes, and I LOVE this dear old lady, although by golly, she urgently needs a face lift!

It is also beautifully located - walking distance to the National Museum, New Market, the main shopping area of Chowringhee and the Maidan - respectively Kolkata's equivalent of Broadway and Central Park.

There is a colourful description of the Fairlawn with photos on the e-book about Dr Jack Preger (Calcutta's pavement doctor) at the following link:
http://basilicum122.googlepages.com/chapter12

To sum up:- If you are a fussy traveler looking for squeaky-clean luxury, fawning service, crisp uniforms and all mod cons, this is definitely not for you. However, if you are looking for a travel experience, something to write home about, and an enduring topic for your after-dinner stories, you will most likely find it right here.

Stayed November 2005
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Kolkata (Calcutta) hotels

Homps, France
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2007

Like all the major cities of India there is a distinct lack of quality mid range hotels. The Fairlawn is a perfect example of this. $60 for a double seems reasonible at your first impression, great location, tropical garden seating area and friendly owners, attractive stairways and hall ways. Unfortunatley it ends there! The rooms are filthy, and hot water is very irregular 2 settings scalding and cold! as other reviews have mentioned they seem to be living on their past reputation, wich has slipped dramatically! Fixed menus, average food and grumpy and rude staff. Its a real shame because all the Fairlawn needs is a good clean and modest staff retraining and it would be a bargain! I was really looking forward to a stay at the Fairlawn but id rather spend twice as much and get 5 star service elsewhere.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — clenliness
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Fairlawn Hotel

Address: 13/A Sudder Street, Kolkata (Calcutta) 700016, India
Location: India > West Bengal > Kolkata (Calcutta)
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
#4 Best Value Hotel in Kolkata (Calcutta)
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Also Known As:
Hotel Fairlawn
Fairlawn Hotel India/Kolkata (Calcutta), Asia

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