Belvedre road and Alipore road have multiple monumental landmarks. The oldest established zoo of the country, our own Alipore Zoo found in 1876, is just opposite Taj Bengal. The National Library is at a stone throw away and is standing proud at Belvedre estate since 1953. However, if someone asks me, the jewel in the crown of this place is Taj Bengal Kolkata, which turns 30 this year.
Yes, I have never stayed at any Taj property in India before this staycation happened over the last weekend. My only brush with Taj hospitality as a guest had been with Taj Tashi Bhutan (link), which I visited on invitation. Everytime a visit to Taj for a meal, has been exemplary for food and hospitality and guest service and over the years, when Souk and Cal 27 were launched both were state of the art restaurants with well researched attention to details. A rennovation of 100 rooms and the best ones was a great trigger to raise the curiosity.
The renovation at Taj bengal Kolkata new rooms started with Cal 27
The wave of change started with Hub (erstwhile Esplanade) which changed to Cal 27 with chequered black and white tiles. Khorokhori janala and the entire space looking like a courtyard of any old calcutta House was particularly striking. That place instantly changed the DNA of the hotel and it was the first step towards getting local and not only by the pin code. You can find the details about Cal 27 here
What has changed in the new rooms at Taj Bengal Kolkata
In the next level, 100 rooms were revamped and my address was room 403 on the fourth floor. I am going to consciously avoid writing about the food experiences, as that deserves a separate blogpost. After the traditional welcome, when I checked inside the room at 4th floor, it was hard to believe the changes. The chequered tiles, which were a trademark at Cal 27, were now the flooring for the rooms (at some rooms the patterns are different). The writing table with engraved stationary and two comfortable chairs at the entrance, created a perfect corner for checking the emails and also some great turndown services.
The neutral shaded sofa sat at the edge of the footboard of the bed, facing a large wall mounted Television. The bed came with a 2 beadposts and an upholstered head board with the same shade as the sofa. The bedside lamps were fixed on the walls of both sides the bed. Either side had switches for controlling both the lamps, which was a bliss, especially when you are staying alone in the room. After my romantic affair with Kosha Mangsho for lunch, my brain sent strong signals for a power nap. However, I pulled myself up for a property tour to experience the best rooms of Taj Bengal.
Grand luxury Heritage suite and the Peacock suite
Out of the 229 rooms, these two rooms were like the Kohinoor of the entire pack. A separate sitting area with pastel shades of leather counches, one teal and one beige gave a muted elegance to the rooms. A corner with a reclining chair and a separate dining area made this a dream room. The peacock is significance of affluent zamindars of West Bengal. They were known to emulate the Rajputs and many homes in North Kolkata still have peacock motiffs. The chandelier here in the dining room was an added attraction. Large glass windows with outside views were picturesque and it felt like a home within a hotel.
The grand luxury heritage suite had everything you would want to see in Kolkata on the walls in photographs. A separate study area tucked in a corner with black and white photographs on the wall gave it a sepia feeling. Two floored personal balcony made this room one of the most preferred suites for many guests. We also visited the club rooms on the 5th floor which had an access to The Chamber’s lounge of Taj Bengal Kolkata. The soft pastel colours on the wall and on the trademark couch by the bay window was calming, to say the least. The exercise in the backend for these new rooms was clearly visible. I believe, a recce was done by a French team, to get an idea of the rich heritage and influences of Kolkata.
Time for the cha adda in the Palm Lounge, Taj bengal
By this time, we were tired and the best way to refresh was at the Palm lounge. We sat down for cha adda. What followed, happens every evening here. Small glasses of tea and a jhalmuri wala served fresh Jhalmuri. The quintessential Bengali in me wished for some Telebhaja too. Very soon, we had to get ready for a gala dinner at Sonargaon. I will share about my dinner experience later.
Taj Bengal Kolkata earns its brownie points
The biggest hit for me was the Express laundry service. I got my linen shirt, stain removed and dry cleaned, neatly packed in a basket with a bow and my name tag, delivered to my room in just a couple of hours. The bathrooms at premium suites were perhaps the largest with a bathtub and brass coloured bathroom fittings in the shower cubicle. The room amenities were well stocked with filter coffee and how much I loved the coffee plunger. Each of these rooms also had a self charging torch in case of any emergency. I also loved the way, the charging points which is a necessity in modern day was spread across the room and along the bedside.
Disclaimer – I was invited at Taj Bengal Kolkata for a stay and all the views expressed here are my personal views.