The Oberoi Grand Hotel in Kolkata, India

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Updated: October 9, 2019

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Review of The Oberoi Grand in Kolkata, India.

The Oberoi Grand – Superlative luxury, amazing amenities, and so much history in a prime location.

The unparalleled elegance is immediately evident at the lobby where the staff wears long suits, live music is played on an old-fashioned piano, and century-old chandeliers dangle from the ceilings. One of the first in the Oberoi chain, this hotel still maintains many structural reminders and thousands of photos of its former life as a boarding school. Even the standard rooms are regal and feature prints of colonial India, plush carpets, high ceilings, and granite bathrooms. More exquisite, of course, are the sumptuous suites in the newer wing. All rooms and suites face the extensive internal courtyard from balconies, or the bustling markets at the back, and all windows are effectively soundproofed. Amongst the garden, the pool is surrounded by palms, creating a tropical feel that contrasts sharply with the streets outside.

The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata – The Location

  • Address: 15 Jawaharlal Nehru Road, also called Chowringhee Road, in the middle of downtown. The main entrance is easy to miss along the sidewalks jam-packed with market stalls. Look for the security guards.
  • Area: Faces a main road alongside a park. All sorts of facilities are within walking distance, including markets in all directions, but it’s very chaotic and crowded.
  • How to Get There: Taxis from the pre-paid counters at the airport take 50-60 minutes (17km). From the main railway station (Howrah), the hotel is about 20-30 minutes (5km) by taxi. See Local Transport below for more information about taxis and the metro.
  • Handy to: Indian Museum.

The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata – The Basics

  • Guests: Equal number of business people, government officials, and tourists on upmarket trips.
  • Views: Rooms to the back face the sprawling markets from windows with very effective soundproofing. Most, however, face inwards and overlook the pool and garden.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: By maintaining the original structure, private pools and jacuzzis are not possible.
  • Extras: Guests in many of the rooms and suites have access to a butler 24/7.
  • Wi-Fi: Free throughout for all guests.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +91 (0)33 2249 2323
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: oberoihotels.com

The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata – Amenities

  • Pool: Remarkably, the pool was built where an ice-skating rink once stood. During the 1920s, spectators would watch performances from the balconies which are still used today. Large and surrounded by lounge chairs and palm trees, the pool exudes a tropical island vibe.
  • Spa: Offers a wide range of treatments rarely (if ever) found elsewhere in the city.
  • Fitness Center: As impressive as imagined. Personal trainer on hand at all times.
  • Other Facilities: Business Center. Laundry.

The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata – Food and Drink

  • Restaurants & Bars: threesixythree° – Lavish buffets for breakfast and lunch, and a la carte Indian, Japanese, and European meals all day. Very popular for mouth-watering desserts. • Baan Thai – Award-winning, silver service, and exquisite décor that needs to be seen to be believed. • The Bar – Refined meeting place serving imported spirits, signature cocktails, and extended wine list.
  • Breakfast: Not normally included, but this may depend on the room and how it was booked.
  • Room Service: Available 24/7.

The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata – Rooms

  • Room Types: Premier Rooms (some with balconies) • Luxury Rooms • Deluxe Rooms • Executive Suites • Classic Suites • Deluxe Suites • Luxury Suites • Presidential Suites
  • Smoking Rooms: No smoking in the rooms or public areas, but dedicated sections inside the grounds.
  • Best Room: The Presidential Suites are truly extraordinary. A whopping 125 square meters, they feature 2 massive bedrooms, each with a bathroom, equally large living/dining rooms, and 5 balconies.
  • For Families: All rooms and suites are large enough for 1 or 2 single beds, but the management may need to be convinced to allow this. Otherwise, the top-end suites feature 2 bedrooms.

The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata – Local Transport

  • Walking: While the sidewalks along the main road can be disconcertingly overcrowded, the backstreets around the market area behind the hotel are easier and safer to wander around.
  • Public Transport: Local buses and trams are of no use to tourists. The Kolkata Metro is reasonably useful to reach areas a little further north or south, but won’t link to the airport and main railway station (Howrah) until at least mid-2021. The nearest metro station, Esplanade, is on the main road, virtually outside the hotel entrance. 3-minute walk (280m).
  • 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, lots of auto-rickshaws – and man-pulled versions – around the backstreets.

The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata – What’s Nearby?

Restaurants & Bars

    The area behind the hotel is jam-packed with inviting restaurants serving authentic Indian food, as well as fruit-juice stalls.

  • New Cathay Bar & Restaurant – Upstairs and next to the Oberoi entrance. Pleasant staff, family-friendly, and fascinating street views. 1-minute walk (80m).
  • In a cluster, attached to the New Empire Cinema along a street behind the Oberoi, are 6 places, including Barista (pleasant coffee shop offering light meals), Wow! Momo (safe street-food in clean setting), and KFC (no description needed). 2-minute walk (140m).
  • Peerless Inn – Neighboring hotel featuring Oceanic (24/7 for seafood, and popular for Sunday brunch buffets), Aaheli (local Bengali food, with silver service and stylish décor), and Ego (self-labeled ‘retro lounge’ bar). 3-minute walk (210m).
  • Rang Mahal +91 (0)33 2228 0929 – Cozy café/bar with a menu far more exciting than most. On a corner behind the adjacent Peerless hotel. 3-minute walk (250m).
  • Regent Restaurant – Opposite Rang Mahal, known for unfussy service and vast selection of Indian food, including rare non-vegetarian options. 3-minute walk (250m).

Shops & Markets

  • The Chowringhee Market overflows onto the sidewalks in front of the hotel, and walking through can be quite disconcerting. 5-minute walk (400m).
  • More spacious and vibrant is the New Market which spreads along several streets behind the Oberoi and Peerless hotels. 4-minute walk (300m).

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, and 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. South down the main road. 5-minute walk (350m).
  • 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. 11-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. 14-minute drive (2.5km).
  • 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. 14-minute drive (3.5km).
  • 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. 55-minute drive (13km).

The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata – The Hotel

The majestic hotel is located in downtown Kolkata.

Based around a colonial-era boarding school, the majestic Oberoi sits grandly within downtown.

The serene and historic hotel contrasts sharply with its chaotic neighborhood.

The serenity and history of the hotel contrasts sharply with the chaos along the street just outside.

The soundproofed windows of the hotel look out onto the markets at the back.

Rooms at the back of the hotel overlook the markets immediately outside, but all windows are very effectively soundproofed.

The opulent lobby features marble floors and old chandeliers.

With marble floors and old chandeliers, the lobby is as opulent as imagined.

Most of the rooms overlook the garden and pool.

Most rooms face inwards, away from the market and busy streets, and overlook the garden and pool.

The hotel design is reminiscent of its history as a boarding school.

There are constant reminders throughout the hotel of its history as a former boarding school.

There are several alcoves filled with old-fashioned furniture around the hotel.

The hotel provides numerous niches and alcoves of old-fashioned furniture.

Baan Thai restaurant has an extraordinary décor.

The décor in the award-winning Baan Thai restaurant at the Oberoi is quite extraordinary.

threesixtythree restaurant serves a la carte meals and buffets for breakfast and lunch.

Offering buffets at breakfast and lunch as well as a la carte meals all day, is the signature restaurant, threesixtythree°.

threesixtythree's Sunday buffets and especially popular.

Buffets at the threesixtythree° restaurant are lavish and especially popular among city folk on Sundays.

The Bar showcases the building's history through photos on its walls.

The walls of The Bar at the Oberoi are lined with photos of old India, often extolling the history of the building.

The spacious fitness center is well-equipped.

The fitness center is as large and well-equipped as imagined.

The spa is located beside the fitness center.

Alongside the fitness center, and also in a separate part of the hotel, is the spa.

The large pool offers a tropical island vibe with its palm trees and colorful seating.

The large pool was built on an area that, amazingly, once housed an ice-skating rink. The palm trees and colorful seating creates a tropical island vibe rarely seen elsewhere in Kolkata.

All rooms feature a beautiful decor.

Even the lowest-category rooms are divine and feature a gorgeous décor.

The spacious and modern bathrooms feature an old-fashioned appeal as well.

The bathrooms are spacious and modern, yet maintain an old-fashioned appeal.

Rooms come with mod-cons and old-fashioned furniture.

All rooms and suites feature mod-cons like flat TVs with cable channels and old-fashioned furniture, such as wooden desks.

Most accommodations offer garden views, and are shielded from the noisy streets.

Most rooms and suites face inwards and overlook the garden, distant from the noisy streets outside.

The inward-facing rooms feature balconies with tables and chairs.

Rooms and suites facing inwards feature balconies with space for tables and chairs.

The general area has a lot of crumbling and often abandoned colonial buildings.

The area around the hotel is full of colonial buildings that are crumbling or often, abandoned.

The Oceanic restaurant at the Peerless Inn nearby is open 24/7.

At the Peerless Inn, 200m north of the Oberoi, the Oceanic restaurant is open 24 hours.

Aaheli at the Peerless is renowned for its authentic Bengali menu.

Also at the Peerless, Aaheli serves traditional Bengali cuisine, authentic to Kolkata and the general region.

Rang Mahal close by serves good food.

On a corner about 250m from the Oberoi, Rang Mahal offers a more interesting menu than most in the immediate area.

The Regent Restaurant offers simple but good non-vegetarian meals.

Opposite the Rang Mahal, the Regent Restaurant is simple but worthwhile, and the menu includes some non-vegetarian meals.

Barista nearby serves good coffee and pastries.

In a street behind the Oberoi, Barista is one in a massive chain across India offering coffee and light meals.

Wow Momo sells Indian street food in a clean and air-conditioned setting.

In the same building as Barista, Wow Momo is the best place for tourists to try Indian street food.

There is also a KFC and a cinema in the same building.

Next to Barista and Wow Momo is a KFC outlet and cinema showing the latest Bollywood blockbusters.

The sprawling New Market behind the hotel is very busy through the day.

The streets behind the Oberoi overflow with shops and stalls, all part of the sprawling New Market.

Chowringhee Market is right in front of the hotel.

The sidwalks along the main road in front of the hotel are home to the overcrowded Chowringhee Market.

The busy main road is full of public buses and yellow taxis.

The main road is clogged with buses of little use to tourists as well as more practical yellow taxis.

The metro station is just outside the hotel.

A great way to get around the city is by metro. The nearest station is virtually outside the hotel entrance.

Human rickshaws still operate in the market areas.

Old-fashioned rickshaws ply the streets and lanes around the market areas.

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