The Ivy House Hotel in Kolkata, India

by Santorini Dave • Updated: July 1, 2019

Review of The Ivy House in Kolkata, India.

The Ivy House – Cozy and care-free oasis featuring an adorable tea shop and courtyard garden.

With only a handful of rooms individually decorated and named after indigenous flowers, this guesthouse is an instantly likable respite from the chaos that is central Kolkata. Lovingly furnished and featuring 4-poster beds in most rooms, The Ivy is also hugely popular for the endearing café which serves afternoon high teas and breakfast (included). Best of all, rates are pleasingly affordable for overpriced Kolkata, and discounts are available for single travelers. No pool or gym – as expected at a petite guesthouse – but certainly cable TV, air-con, and lovely bathrooms. Set peacefully back from the busy street and a short walk from a chaotic junction in downtown.

The Ivy House – The Location

  • Address: The official address is ‘4 Swinhoe St’ in Ballygunge, an inner southern suburb. It actually faces the end of Swinhoe St and is along Anil Maitra Road. About 350m from a major thoroughfare, Old Ballygunge Road. Useful landmarks are Weavers Studio (on a corner 50m from the guesthouse) and Kasturi Food Plaza (virtually opposite The Ivy).
  • Area: In a busy but comparatively clean and safe residential area in the inner city. All rooms are on the ground floor, with private residences on upper levels. 150m back from the surprisingly busy street in front.
  • How to Get There: Taxis from the pre-paid counters at the airport take 40-50 minutes (21km). From the main railway station (Howrah), the hotel is 35-45 minutes (11km) by taxi. See Local Transport below for more information about taxis and the metro.

The Ivy House – The Basics

  • Guests: Budget-minded independent travelers of all ages.
  • Views: All rooms are on the ground floor. Some look out to a tiny porch area to the back, and one faces the courtyard at the front.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Certainly not expected or provided at an inner-city guesthouse like this.
  • 
Wi-Fi: Included free throughout. Individual routers provide excellent access in each room.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +91 8777 090 903
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: cochraneplacehotel.com

The Ivy House – Amenities

  • Pool, Spa, & Fitness Center: Not expected or provided.
  • Other Facilities: Karma Kettle Tearoom café and teashop. Laundry.

The Ivy House – Food and Drink

  • Restaurant: The endearing Karma Kettle Tearoom is within a covered courtyard. Nothing more than light meals, sandwiches, and of course, lots of choices of tea (and coffee). Try the grand afternoon high tea. The attached teashop is worth visiting if staying elsewhere.
  • Breakfast: Included in all rates.
  • Room Service: Not expected or provided.

The Ivy House – Rooms

  • Room Types: All much the same inside, only the décor changes a little, so there are no categories of rooms.
  • Smoking Rooms: No smoking allowed anywhere on the premises.
  • Best Room: The best is the room facing the courtyard entrance, so the windows offer more light and feeling of space.
  • For Families: Some rooms are large enough for an extra single bed. Otherwise, book 2 adjoining rooms, but none have connecting doors.

The Ivy House – Local Transport

  • Walking: Backstreets are pleasant to stroll about: safe, clean, and not too busy. Quite a few shops and cafés in the general area, but the main road 350m away is very noisy.
  • Public Transport: Buses and trams career along the main road, 350m away, but are of no use to tourists. The nearest metro station, Jatin Das Park, is an inconvenient 2.5km away (12-minute drive). Additionally, the Kolkata Metro is not useful to most tourists until it connects to the airport and main railway station at Howrah by mid-2021.
  • Taxis & Auto-rickshaws: Plenty of yellow taxis (with no air-con) and blue-and-white ones (with air-con) for longer trips. Both types have meters, but drivers need to be pressured into using them. Rides can also be booked using Uber and Ola apps. Also, a few auto-rickshaws around the streets, and more along the main road. Man-pulled rickshaws also available for short trips around the backstreets.

The Ivy House – What’s Nearby?

Restaurants & Bars

  • Fish Fish – Inviting little place directly opposite the guesthouse entrance. Also offers a few tasty Chinese meals and better-than-expected service. 1-minute walk.
  • Kasturi Food Plaza – Rather odd name for a cute café, just down the street from Fish Fish. Great for trying local food. On 2 levels. 1-minute walk (40m).
  • Melting Pot – Very cozy and welcoming, with a menu more westernized than rivals, e.g. pasta and burgers. About 200m around the corner. Head left from guesthouse gates and then left again. 2-minute walk.
  • Mirch Masala Restaurant & Bar – Downstairs bar that’s not dingy as is typical in the area, and restaurant with a bizarre decor, but fantastic Chinese and Indian food. On the road to the Radisson hotel. From the junction on the main road (see below), head left (south) and turn right at Dover Place. (Follow for signs for the Radisson.) 8-minute walk (600m).

Shops

  • A few shops in the backstreets are worth checking out. To reach the junction along the main road, turn right at the guesthouse gates and follow the street (Anil Maitra Road) for 350m. Most shops along the main road seem to be jewelers and tailors, but are interesting enough.

Attractions

  • Mother House – Also known as Missionaries of Charity, it houses the tomb of Mother Teresa as well as her photographs, awards, articles, and belongings. The description of work done by her charity is eye-opening. 18-minute drive (4km).
  • The must-see Indian Museum is the country’s largest and oldest. It houses a world-class collection of ancient artifacts from India and beyond, along with Raj-era relics housed in an occasionally frustrating manner. Open from 10 am to 6.30 pm on weekdays and until 8 pm on weekends. 24-minute drive (6km).
  • Victoria Memorial – Kolkata’s most popular attraction, this opulent British-era white marble replica of the original Victoria Memorial in London was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s 25-year rule of India. In addition to lush gardens, statues, and sculptures, there are sound and light shows from March to June (7:45 pm). Open daily from 11 am to 4pm. 24-minute drive (8km).
  • Howrah Bridge – This famous Kolkata landmark is the world’s busiest and sixth biggest cantilever bridge. Built in 1943, it connects Kolkata with the important Howrah Station, and features wide footpaths full of pedestrians on both sides. 34-minute drive (10km).
  • Dakshineswar Kali Temple – Historic Hindu temple, built in 1855, featuring a vast courtyard, 12 shrines dedicated to Shiva, a Radha-Krishna temple, and a bathing ghat by the riverfront. 75-minute drive (18km).

The Ivy House – The Hotel

The guesthouse is located in a quiet inner southern suburb.

The guesthouse is about 350m from a main road within the inner southern suburbs.

The guesthouse neighborhood is pleasant for strolling.

The street outside The Ivy House is surprisingly busy at times, but the backstreets are pleasant for strolling around.

The guesthouse is located slightly away from the busy street.

Thankfully, the guesthouse is set back about 150m from the busy street outside.

The small guesthouse offers only a few rooms on the ground floor.

The Ivy is like a home and only provides a handful of rooms on the ground floor.

The delightful Karma Kettle Tearoom is located in the courtyard.

Certainly part of the appeal of staying at this guesthouse is the delightful Karma Kettle Tearoom in the courtyard.

Karma Kettle Tearoom serves high teas and light meals.

The tearoom at the guesthouse offers high teas every afternoon and light meals all day.

The guesthouse also features an adorable teashop.

Attached to the café and within the grounds of the guesthouse is the adorable teashop.

The rooms are uniquely decorated and named.

The handful of rooms are individually decorated and named.

The bright and contemporary rooms have an old-fashioned charm.

The décor within each room is bright and contemporary, although retaining an old-fashioned charm.

The spacious bathrooms are modern.

The bathrooms are spacious and modern.

Fish Fish is a good local cafe opposite the guesthouse.

A useful landmark and a worthwhile local café is Fish Fish, opposite the guesthouse entrance.

Fish Fish serves seafood and Chinese cuisine.

As well as the namesake food, Fish Fish also offers Chinese meals.

Kasturi Food Plaza close by serves good quality Indian food.

Less than 100m past Fish Fish, the Kasturi Food Plaza provides quality Indian food in a pleasant setting.

Melting Pot is a pleasant cafe nearby serving western food.

Particularly inviting and more westernized than rivals is Melting Pot, about 200m around the corner from the guesthouse.

Mirch Masala restaurant and bar is worth the walk.

About 600m from The Ivy and on the way to the Radisson Hotel, Mirch Masala Restaurant and Bar is certainly worth the walk.

Mirch Masala has a funky decor and excellent food.

The décor in the Mirch Masala restaurant and bar is fascinating and the food is excellent.

Signs leading to the Radisson hotel are prominent in the area.

On the corner of the main road to Mirch Masala, look for these signs to the Radisson hotel further down the street.

Human rickshaws can be found in the backstreets around the guesthouse.

One way to get around the backstreets is on the sort of rickshaws banned in many parts of India.

Auto-rickshaws are convenient for trips to the city center.

For trips around the city center, use an auto-rickshaw. They mostly hang around the main road 350m away from the guesthouse.

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