The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata Hotel in India

by Santorini Dave • Updated: July 1, 2019

Review of The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata in Kolkata, India.

The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata – Sophisticated, spacious, luxurious, and historic, but in a neighborhood of contrasting squalor.

Located in a handy position along a quiet side street, the LaLiT is one in a chain of sumptuous hotels across India. Originally built in 1841 and fully renovated in 2006, there are now three wings representative of different eras. The layout is modern yet likably colonial in places, with whitewashed walls and internal courtyards. And everything feels so spacious, light, and airy! The suites are particularly roomy, featuring a décor that is almost minimalist, while even the lowest-category rooms offer a size, standard, and amenities that would shame neighboring rivals. The LaLiT is within walking distance to numerous parks and colonial buildings, but the general area is sadly decrepit with lots of slums.

The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata – The Location

  • Address: Officially ‘Old Court House, Dalhousie Square’, but actually along Waterloo Street. About 150m from Marx Engels Beethi Road, just north of Curzon Park. In the midst of downtown.
  • Area: Not that pleasant in the immediate vicinity. A few lanes of slums, and Waterloo Street has quite a few abandoned buildings, though more appealing areas are about 300m in all directions, especially around the parks to the south.
  • How to Get There: Taxis from the pre-paid counters at the airport take about 45-55 minutes (16km). From the main railway station (Howrah), the hotel is 25-35 minutes (4km) by taxi. See Local Transport below for more information about taxis and the metro.

The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata – The Basics

  • Guests: Business people and well-heeled tourists of all ages.
  • Views: Many rooms overlook the internal courtyard with the pool. These views are better than most of the general street views, except for the ones from the higher floors and facing the front, which are far more appealing.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Not really expected – or provided – at this sort of historic inner-city hotel in Kolkata.
  • 
Wi-Fi: Should be included free throughout for all guests, but double-check when booking.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +91 (0)33 4444 7777
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: thelalit.com

The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata – Amenities

  • Pool: Decent size. In a ground-level courtyard with many rooms facing it, so not that private. Temperature-controlled and usable in the chilly winter months. Juice bar attached.
  • Spa: The award-winning Rejuve – The Spa is truly massive. All sorts of treatments and therapies offered, including Kolkata’s first ‘aqua bed’.
  • Fitness Center: Large and well-equipped, as expected.
  • Other Facilities: Beauty salon.

The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata – Food and Drink

  • Restaurants & Bars: Alfresco – Located at the back on the lobby level and surrounded by a lily pond, it’s very bright and cheery. Serves breakfast buffets in the mornings and a la carte meals all day, and specializes in local traditional cuisine. • The Legacy Grill – Wins awards every year, but only available to guests staying in some of the suites. • The Tea Lounge – Near the reception desk, ideal for a chat and coffee. Snacks also available. • The Bakery – Based within the remains of the old Wilson’s Hotel next door, this cute café offers a range of pastries and light meals. Attached is the very inviting and friendly bar, Wilson’s – The Pub.
  • Breakfast: All rates include breakfast, which is unusual.
  • Room Service: Available 24/7.

The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata – Rooms

  • Room Types: Edwardian Suites • Victorian Executive Suites • Victorian Suites • Deluxe Rooms • Luxury Rooms • Premier Rooms • Edwardian Luxury Rooms • Edwardian Rooms
  • Smoking Rooms: No smoking in the rooms or public areas, but plenty of dedicated spaces around the grounds.
  • Best Room: The Victorian Executive Suites have been revamped, but still maintain a nice colonial charm. Separate living rooms.
  • For Families: Remarkably, the management is happy to allow a family of 4 in any room or suite, which is unique within Kolkata.

The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata – Local Transport

  • Walking: The main road about 150m away has some colonial-era buildings, but many of the lanes near the hotel are virtual slums. Safe enough during the day, but so contrastingly poor.
  • Public Transport: The Kolkata Metro is reasonably useful for areas a little further south, but won’t reach the airport and main railway station (Howrah) until at least mid-2021. The nearest metro station, Chandni Chowk, is about 500m away, just beyond the eastern end of Waterloo Street (5-minute walk).
  • Taxis & Auto-rickshaws: Plenty of yellow taxis (with no air-con) and blue-and-white ones (with air-con). Both types have meters, but drivers need to be pressured into using them. Rides can also be booked using Uber and Ola apps. Lots of auto-rickshaws on the streets.

The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata – What’s Nearby?

Restaurants & Bars

    Poor selection in the immediate area.

  • Manthan Songhai +91 (0)33 2248 9577 – Better than the outside might suggest. In the hotel directly opposite the LaLiT. 1-minute walk (65m).
  • Rhythms Bar +91 90515 88871 – One of several reasonable Indian eateries, more popular with locals for beer than biriyani. Only 100m further down Waterloo Street. 1-minute walk (120m).
  • The Oberoi Grand – This opulent hotel 1km down Chowringhee Road offers several sophisticated options, including threesixtythree° (lavish buffets and a la carte all day) and Baan Thai (award-winning, delightful setting, and impeccable service). 11-minute walk (1km).
  • Also, plenty of cheap cafés and fast-food outlets around the market area behind the Oberoi. 14-minute walk (1km).

Shops & Markets

  • The main road, about 150m away, is becoming gentrified, as a few classy shops open up. Further south (about 1km), the Chowringhee Market packs the sidewalks beside Chowringhee Road. From the main road near the hotel, turn left and then right at the second set of traffic lights. 10-minute walk (800m).
  • A block or 2 behind, the larger and even more sprawling New Market fills the streets at the back of the Peerless and Oberoi hotels. 14-minute walk (1km).

Attractions

  • 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. 9-minute drive (1.5km).
  • 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. 13-minute drive (3.5km).
  • 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. 16-minute drive (3.5km).
  • 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. 20-minute drive (3km).
  • 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. 50-minute drive (13km).

The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata – The Hotel

The hotel is located in a convenient downtown area.

The LaLiT is in a convenient position within downtown, in an area dotted with impressive colonial-era buildings.

The modern hotel has a colonial-era vibe.

Although substantially renovated and very modern inside, the whitewashed walls and overall layout are reminiscent of a hotel built during the colonial era.

The vast lobby has a contemporary design.

This is the back view of the lobby, which is vast and contemporary in design.

Alfresco restaurant serves breakfast and other meals all day.

The cheerful Alfresco restaurant at the back of the lobby area serves breakfast in the mornings and other meals all day.

The charming Tea Lounge is attached to Alfresco.

Attached to the Alfresco restaurant is the charming Tea Lounge.

The Bakery offers good meals and drinks.

Also part of the hotel, but with a separate street entrance, The Bakery is easily the finest place for a meal or drink in the area.

The Bakery has pleasant seating options.

The Bakery offers very pleasant seating areas, ideal for people-watching.

The classy Wilson’s pub is attached to The Bakery.

Attached to The Bakery, the classy Wilson’s Pub is particularly bright and cheerful during the day.

The large fitness center is by the pool.

Alongside the pool is the substantial fitness center.

The hotel spa offers a good range of treatments and therapies.

Unlike many rival hotels, there is a proper spa at the LaLiT, and it offers a notable range of treatments and therapies.

Many suites are located in a newer wing.

Many suites are in a separate and newer wing.

There is a charming courtyard in the newer wing.

The newer wing is based around a charming courtyard.

The stylish and spacious suites have surprisingly undersized windows.

All suites are stylish and spacious, as imagined, but with surprisingly undersized windows.

The minimalist suite furnishings feature all the usual mod-cons.

Furnishings in the suites could be described as minimalist, but they do feature all the expected mod-cons.

The hotel neighborhood is unfortunately not that pleasant.

While convenient, much of the general area around the hotel is sadly squalid.

The main road near the hotel has a few upmarket shops.

The main road about 150m from the hotel is dotted with a few upmarket shops.

The general area has wide, shady streets and colonial-era buildings.

The general area about 300m from the hotel features wide, shady streets and interesting colonial-era buildings.

Many nearby buildings are in a bad state.

Many of the buildings along the street from the hotel are crumbling and/or abandoned.

Manthan Songhai is an impressive restaurant opposite the hotel.

Right opposite the hotel, Manthan Songhai is more impressive than the entrance might suggest.

Rhythms Bar is a well-priced café/bar near the hotel.

Rhythms Bar is one of several low-key but well-priced cafés/bars along the street on which the hotel is located.

The award-winning Baan Thai restaurant is located in the Oberoi, about 1km away.

At The Oberoi Grand hotel, 1km south of the LaLiT, is the exquisite and award-winning Baan Thai restaurant.

threesixtythree's Sunday buffets and especially popular.

Also at The Oberoi, the threesixtythree° restaurant offers lavish buffets.

There are several food, fruit, and drinks stalls around the hotel.

Streets around the hotel are dotted with fruit-juice stands and other types of food and drink stalls.

There are a lot of hawkers a little away from the hotel.

Facing the main road from the hotel, turn left and then right at the second set of traffic lights. The sidewalk along that road is tightly packed with market stalls.

The sprawling New Market about a kilometer away is very busy through the day.

More spacious and vibrant is the New Market behind the Peerless and Oberoi hotels, about 1km from the LaLiT.

The city still has working colonial-era trams.

Trams still ply the main roads near the hotel, but are of little use to tourists.

The metro would be more useful once it's better connected.

Of some practicality for tourists is the Kolkata Metro.

The metered yellow taxis are the most convenient mode of transport for tourists.

Inevitably, most tourists will probably use the yellow taxis, but make sure that drivers use the meters.

Human rickshaws still operate in the market areas.

Among the backstreets, especially around the market areas, these old-fashioned rickshaws still operate.

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