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 four-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).
- Nearest Tram: Gariahat Tram Depot is just 300m from the hotel.
- 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 45 minutes (21 km). From the main railway station (Howrah), the hotel is 45 minutes (11 km) 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.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +91 8777 090 903
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: ivyhousekolkata.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 careen along the main road, 350m away, but are of no use to tourists. The nearest metro station, Jatin Das Park, is an inconvenient 2.5 km away. Additionally, the Kolkata Metro is not useful to most tourists until it connects to the airport and main railway station at Howrah by 2022.
- 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?
Best 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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. (4 km).
- 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. (6 km).
- 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. (8 km).
- 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. (10 km).
- 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. (18 km).
The Ivy House – The Hotel
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