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“Don't go with too high expectations!”
Review of Fairlawn Hotel

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Fairlawn Hotel
Ranked #52 of 224 Hotels in Kolkata (Calcutta)
Reviewed May 10, 2013

Hotel is looking very different from everything you might have encountered. Since the owner (charming.92 years old lady Smith) still lives there and the house has been in the family since 1936, it is invested with personal touch, decorations and soul. So the halls, stairs, breakfast room really look charming. But the rooms are quite ordinary, though spacious, and clearly overpriced. Besides we booked a room in March after having visited it, but when we went back in April we were given a different room, much less 'glamorous' and smelling of cigarette. When we complained we were given another room quite ordinary (more like a convent room). We were told the room we had booked had been occupied by someone else 2 days before our arrival! The next day we moved to the 'cigarette smoking ' room which had been refreshed and was more acceptable.
The drinking area was sometimes noisy but that did not affect the rooms. The food was ordinary. However breakfast (included in the room price) was really nice. All the staff was very nkind but the price is more for the atmosphere and common space decorations than for the rooms.

Room Tip: Rooms in the main hall are looking better. Those at the back are very ordinary (and overpriced) and...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank ailenroc13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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126 - 132 of 348 reviews

Reviewed April 26, 2013

The Fairlawn Hotel is a historic hotel, kind of a landmark, that is known to be a favorite among creative people. I met other guests from all over the globe. It is a fairly intimate and friendly atmosphere. I had the pleasure and honor to meet the owner, Mrs. Violet Smith, who was in her 80s or 90s and such a delight to speak with. She has lived in Kolkata forever and loves the city.
The Fairlawn is not a "luxury" hotel; that isn't its point. Mrs. Smith has antique furniture and objects, photographs and other memorabilia all over the house (technically it's her house), which I found interesting and fun to look at. The exteriors have tropical plants and trees. My room had "character," and it was clean and comfortable. The staff was gracious, from the desk manager to the housekeepers; they were all wonderful. There is a nice cafe where you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner, either Indian food or Western, and every meal I had there was very good. The covered outdoor forecourt, which has tables for dining or drinking outside, was noisy and boisterous at night. This wasn't a problem for me, since my room was in the back. If I find myself in Kolkata again, I would love to stay again at the Fairlawn.

Room Tip: If noise at night is a problem for you, ask for a room in the back of the hotel, away from the outdo...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank A F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2013

I would gladly go back, but the atmosphere has changed. What was once an open forecourt or garden intended for hotel guests has become a covered beer garden, open to all comers. I'm sure this was an economic necessity, but it does make a difference. Lonely Planet lists it as a drinking place, as well as a hotel. There can be nearly a hundred drinkers and eaters there in the evening. The food is not bad, by the way.


I saw one loud verbal altercation between customers. This makes me wonder about the security, Some of the staff seemed uncomfortable with having to be bartenders - I don't blame them for that.

I'm not sure it's good value for money.

It's a little sad.

-- Steve

Room Tip: We had room 17. We liked it, but it could have used a better shade to keep the street light from shi...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank YakkinYeti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2013

As we walked into the hotel, we felt more or less how most reviewers here described. No doubt we were blown away by the whole decor. However, that wasn't what we were looking for.

First night, we were given the last room (next to the kitchen) on the ground floor. As we were shown inside the room, we both instantly felt ripped off - for the price we paid, at least we could have windows! Everything was mid-range standard, except that the room was spacious. Second night we got moved to a room upstairs, which looked better, and the bed more comfortable.

We spent a little time in the outdoor area for a quick dinner, and soon we were approached by a few locals who were only having a drink there. It seemed to us they only wanted us to visit their shops - they kept talking to us even while we were eating! We didn't enjoy the experience, plus on top of it, the food was't really good.

The gatekeepers and reception staff were always friendly, but the waiters not so much.

Some people find this place great, but it's just not for us. Especially the people who hang out there are not the kind we prefer to meet.

We moved to a nearby budget guest house after the second night, and we liked it much better there.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank lovingindia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2013

This certainly isn't 5 star but doesn't claim to be. It's very old and worn but clean with friendly, helpful staff and very well located. It's a safe environment for a single female and, as somebody else noted, handy for meeting other travellers. A walk around the block covers just about everything you need in the way of food and shopping. There are street sellers, restaurants, lassi makers, bakeries, booksellers and, of course, touts and beggars. The owner is a great source of information about shops and everything Kolkata. Taxis and cars are always available just outside. I'd be tempted to stay in the Oberoi if I could afford it but I'd miss out on a lot of local colour if I did. Breakfasts are generous and good but I didn't like the food in the restaurant at other times. It was bland and Chinese based!

Room Tip: They vary enormously but they do have single rooms.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank PearlPureheart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2013

My husband and I have stayed here on numerous occasions.It is in a very central location for visiting all the tourist spots in Kolkata. plus shopping , markets. and restaurants.
The hotel itself is an absolute gem for getting to know people.
It has a beer garden which has recently been renovated and is visited by locals, backpackers and other tourists not staying at the hotel. A great meeting place.
Over the years the bathrooms have all been renovated. The bedrooms are different colour schemes Some rooms accommodate two while other can accommodate three or four. persons
There is also an outdoor terrace bar upstairs for residents.The lounge is full of photos, pictures and memorabilia
This an extremely old building but has lots of charm, ambiance and character.
The owner Mrs. Smith .is always on hand for a chat and keeps a close eye on everything.
.

Room Tip: All rooms are different sizes some are to the back, others come off the upstairs lounge these are a...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Glamourous056
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2013

This hotel is run by an Old Armenian lady and the property is maintained on a very basic basis. The rooms are simple, spacious, very retro and economical ( that goes for all of Calcutta).

Most people, especially westerners get 'smitten' by the 'Charm of old world Calcutta' - which primarily for an Indian means garbage everywhere, crappy taxis and infrastructural challenges.

So in terms of 'Charm' of the area around the hotel, I would give it a 2 on 10.

The location could not be any more central, lots of places to see, restaurants, amenities, public transport within walking distance.

The hotel itself is an oasis, since the bar& restaurant area is green-clean and very quiet. A perfect place to have a beer, meet other travelers or read a book.

The food has hygiene issues, especially during evening hours when the staff wants to leave around 9.30 and cook food hastily to quickly deliver and ask for tips.

The hotel itself is great.

They still don't do web reservations and it has to be old school. Phone or email.

One of the better places for budget travelers. A good place to stay.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank WhereIsPrateekToday
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: Sudder Street, Kolkata (Calcutta) 700016, India
Location: India > West Bengal > Kolkata District > Kolkata (Calcutta)
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #52 of 224 Hotels in Kolkata (Calcutta)
Price Range: $218 - $237 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Fairlawn Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 18
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hotel Fairlawn
Fairlawn Hotel India/Kolkata (Calcutta), Asia

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