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A Grand Experience: Plan Your Next Staycation At This Iconic, So-Kolkata Hotel


    Visiting Kolkata soon or thinking of a staycation this summer? Consider The Oberoi Grand, one of the oldest hotels in the world with all the comforts of the 21st century.

    Rooms With History

    A staycation is really about re-exploring your city as though you’re a traveler, not a local and The Oberoi Grand offers the perfect home base to do just that, boasting a central location with some interesting places around.

    The Oberoi Grand is quite the survivor having witnessed two world wars, the Bengal famine, floods and riots. Back in the Raj era, it was known for its lavish new year parties in the 1930s attended by British officials and their spouses. You can almost imagine the clinking of champagne glasses as you walk through the chandelier-filled hallways. The pillar-less ballroom had a New Year’s eve tradition wherein people would let loose twelve piglets who would be chased and caught as the old year ran out.

    World-Class Style And Quality

    For those with an eye for old-style and design, the hotel is unlike any other property in the city. You can choose their luxury rooms or suites that offer splendid views of Kolkata’s bustling market spaces, or something with a private balcony overlooking the quadrant garden and swimming pool.

    The colonial style bar serves up a large collection of single malts, and cocktails infused with local ingredients like paanchphoron, ghondhoraj lebu and poppy seeds.

    The food is top notch here — their new restaurant Threesixtythree°{where La Terrasse and Chowinghee Bar used to be} serves delicate sushi rolls with freshly-ground wasabi. People come here for their menu classics like the ice-cream sandwich, lobster thermidor, prawn cocktail, baked Alaska and smoked hilsa {some may not be on the menu, but they will make them for you if you ask for them}. You must have a meal at their award-winning restaurant, Baan Thai.

    Shop High And Low

    Sure, there is lot you can do while inside the Grand Hotel but don’t underestimate what’s outside {even though it might seem like half the population of Kolkata is on the streets outside the hotel!}. Do not miss the old shops selling books, shoes, sportswear, and a curio store selling an attractive range of curios, marble and wooden handicrafts, and semi-precious jewellery.

    On the other end of that are the line of hawkers selling readymade garments, cheap sunglasses, belts and watches, photo albums and what not. They have completely taken over the pavement here and it can be quite tough to walk through the hordes of shoppers.

    Anything Else?

    You may have grown up on anecdotes about the grand dame of Chowringhee or read about it in countless memoirs — but the stories behind one of the oldest hotels in the world never ceases to amaze. Did you know that back in the 1870s the hotel was a boarding house {with the address 13 Chowringhee Street} owned by an Irish woman, Mrs Annie Monk? Later it fell into the hands of an Armenian adventurer, Arathoon Stephen, who with a sudden stroke of luck turned his destiny around from a cart pusher on Chowringhee to a millionaire hotelier! After Stephen’s death, Mohan Singh Oberoi, another ambitious fortune seeker, acquired and refurbished the defunct hotel turning it into The Grand of today.

    So go traveling back in time at The Oberoi Grand, revel in its old world charm, savour its classic cuisine and indulge in its luxurious amenities. After all it is not every day that you come by a place that offers you everything you can ask of a dream vacation topped off with limousine airport transfers and a personal butler, 24 hours a day.

    The hotel also offers some interesting walks and tours around the city. For more details on that and for offers on suites and weekend specials, hit up their website here.