My partner and I come back to this hotel every year, sometimes twice and for a duration of between seven and ten days each time depending on our business needs. The hotel is a perfect oasis in the midst of an extremely busy and densely populated city. It provides a relaxing respite from the general commotion and hub-bub that consists of nose to tail traffic, or perhaps I should say wing mirror to wing mirror traffic that can turn two lanes into six and the airbourne dust that automatically follows you everywhere. The journey by car from the airport is approximately 30 to 40 minutes depending on whether you are in the hands of the Indian version of Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel , who incidentally won the Indian Grand Prix in 2012, or an experienced chauffer. Either way, it will prove to be an exciting journey as pedestrians do not have right of way.
Here’s a handy tip for all travellers to Kolkata; smother yourself in mosquito repellent containing Deet just before you land if arriving in the winter months; in the summer it’s too hot for mosquitos to survive!
On arrival at the hotel, once the car has been searched for bombs, you will be greeted warmly by the doormen and then you will pass through the equivalent of airport security complete with body scanners; but it’s all done in the best possible taste and with courteous smiles.
The cool, marble lobby is always beautifully presented and the staff polite and courteous, yet warm and friendly at the same time. The grounds are landscaped with lily ponds and filled with intelligent fish, possibly koi carp. Once upon a time you could feed the fish at certain times of the day with designated fish food but now this is sadly no longer possible. However, if you go and lean over the water’s edge (no falling in, please) they will still swim up to you like waggy-tailed puppies with their mouths open, silently shouting, ‘Feed me, feed me!’
The hotel rooms are suitably sumptuous with large restful beds and plenty of home comforts including tea and coffee, biscuits, nibbles and fruit. Choose from a selection of pillows to suit your own personal requirements. The bathrooms contain an assortment of luxury products from the Fiama de Wills collection. Air conditioning is provided but seems to be turned off automatically at night during the winter months which is perhaps very eco-friendly but not a very 5* luxury approach?!
There is a great selection of restaurants and we have always found the food to be of excellent quality. If you like a tipple, Indian wine is perfectly palatable and you can always rely on Kingfisher if you like beer. If you love whiskey, then you’re on home ground.
There is an awful lot of building work going on in Kolkata at the moment. If you go for a swim in the outdoor pool at the hotel, the building work next door, although very interesting, does not entirely lend itself to a romantic setting. Also, there is a fly-over being built directly in front of the hotel which is destined to be a link to Kolkata from the new airport, also currently being built as I write. Hopefully, this will all have been completed within a couple of years.
I wish to pass on my most heartfelt ‘thanks’ to all the wonderful staff who work hard to please my partner and I as their discerning guests. We will definitely be back, which is maybe the best compliment you can pay a hotel. Highly recommended, 5* staff.
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- Also Known As:
- Itc Sonar Hotel Kolkata (Calcutta)
- Itc Hotel Kolkata
- ITC Sonar India/Kolkata (Calcutta), Asia