Originally a 1920s merchants’ townhouse, this newly opened heritage property on Calcutta’s hotel scene has been lovingly restored to an exceptional level, demonstrating an unbeatable feel of old-world charm alongside classic luxury.
The hotel comprises of six well-appointed bedrooms, each equipped with modern amenities, and give an exceptional sense of location, with each one named and decorated after a different area of Calcutta, such as Patuapara and Sahibpara. Evident in each room is the desire to bring to life the golden era of Calcutta – a time when the city was the Imperial Capital and a cultural metropolis. Celebrated local designer, Swarup Dutta, has achieved this through filling the house with an array of vintage and quirky features, from typewriters to cobblers’ tools and old light switches. The nostalgia even extends to the hotel’s transport, with guests given the chance to travel around in a green Hindustan Ambassador.
Located in the heart of the Bengali section of the city, once referred to as Black Town by the British, guests are surrounded by a fascinating and diverse community to explore and interact with; indeed, the owner of the property, Iftekhar Ahsan, is the perfect guide to take guests around given his joint ownership in the most successful tour company in Calcutta, Calcutta Walks. As a native of Calcutta, Iftekhar is extremely passionate about sharing Calcutta’s history with guests and is a man on a mission to protect Calcutta’s culture and local trades from the onslaught of development and mass consumerism. As a result, he helps to show guests the authentic Calcutta, including the local delicacies and hidden spots that one would not come across elsewhere, making sure to support the local community as he goes.
In line with this socially conscious touring, Iftekhar has made sure to run Calcutta Bungalow on similar best sustainable and responsible tourism practices. The kitchen employs food from local markets and serves up traditional Bengali cuisine; the building itself is a heritage restoration and the furniture inside has been locally sourced.
The hotel is also just a half an hour drive away from the airport, making it a fantastic location if you are short on time and want to maximise your time in the city.
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Anonymous, India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka