Even though I was spending only an overnight, I decided I had to stay in the Oberoi. After all, it was on one of TripAdvisor's top 25 list.
I did not have time to experience the full extent of their service. In fact, when I checked in late that evening and told the reception that I had to catch an 8 am flight, they looked disappointed. That was a good start--that they want their guests to experience their full service.
Check-in was surprisingly bureaucratic. I had asked for a pick up from the airport. It would have been trivial for the driver to signal the hotel and for the formalities to be ready. And at the hour I arrived, I was the only guest checking in. I had to move from one counter to another to get the full formalities done.
At the end of it, I was given an Oberoi card. Another good sign because it said--this hotel is so good you will want to be back.
The room was a bit of a walk from the reception. It was quiet. It was squarish, which doesn't allow for maximum utility. There was wing chair but there was space only for one king bed.
The bathroom was surprisingly small but the square room meant that its size was constrained.
Linen was of high quality. There were many nice touches like the luggage bench that had cushion on top but opened up to accommodate an open suitcase. (See photos.)
My only complaint would be that, like Kolkata the city, the hotel could do with a bit of sprucing up. The phones look yellowed and dirty. Which made me wonder about other parts of the hotel.
Service was impeccable. I asked for a wake up call and the operator asked me if I wanted a second call. That is thinking for the guest.
I had had a meal at the airport lounge and then onboard. But I had heard of the bekti fish and I ordered in-room dining (yes, I arrived that late). It came within 30 minutes and it was delicious. I recommend the one with the light mustard-curry sauce.
i ordered morning coffee and it came beautifully set up (see photo). There were even cookies.
There was a lapse here in that there is actually light continental breakfast at the reception from a before 6 am. There was juice, croissant and coffee from an espresso machine. Had I known, I would have come down 15 minutes earlier and had a reasonable continental breakfast.
Checkout was speedy. I appreciate not having to tip all the time. I gave a larger than normal tip, in appreciation of the high level of service. All the staff who had served me declined a personal tip. That is discipline.
One thing I wish the hotel would do is NOT to outsource the driver who does the pick up from the airport. It would not cost a lot to engage them full-time. I have hired on a long term basis drivers in India and the companies all outsource the drivers. The pick up was a glaring weak spot in service. At the airport, my driver wanted to wheel my luggage across mud and stone to the car. I had to tell him to stop and to carry my suitcase, which he did. And for his service, I tipped him of course. As the pick up and send-off are the start and end of the guest's experience, I think it is critical that Oberoi controls this too. I know that drivers would be pleased to have a permanent job. And the pay does not have to be higher--just feed them at the hotel. Having lived in India and worked with drivers, I know that this will be win-win. To ensure quality, I would say that perhaps Oberoi could start with a few permanent drivers.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience at Oberoi. The rate is somewhat stiff and the hotel is a slight distance from the airport--it took 45 minutes on the way in but only 30 minutes on the way out. But I have no regrets. Given the opportunity to be back in Kolkata, I would try to stay here again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Oberoi Grand, fondly referred as the 'Grande Dame of Chowringhee' offers the ultimate classical residence in the City of Joy. This heritage hotel’s neo-classical facade and grand pillared entrance mark a successful fusion of classical Victorian and traditional Indian style and reflect the city’s colonial history.Standing stately for over 125 years, The Oberoi Grand combines classic architecture and charm with state of the art amenities and facilities, offering guests an oasis of tranquility amidst the bustling city.The hotel features elegantly appointed rooms, equipped with all modern facilities blending uniquely with the colonial architecture.The hotel is located in the main business and shopping district of Kolkata (Park Street, BBD Bag, and Chowringhee) and is in walking distance from most corporate and government offices. It is also conveniently located close to major convention centers, legislative offices, banks, Consulates, Deputy High Commissions, Chambers of Commerce and clubs. This ideal location makes the hotel a perfect base for the business and the leisure traveler.The dining options at the hotel provide a great opportunity to savor cuisines from around the globe. Recreational facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and a full service Oberoi Spa.The city centre location makes the hotel an ideal conference and meetings venue. The options vary from a spectacular ballroom for large conferences and smaller meeting rooms for business gatherings and seminars. A 24 hour business centre fully equipped with modern facilities includes a meeting room along with secretarial services. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Oberoi Grand Hotel Kolkata (Calcutta)
- Oberoi Grand Kolkata
- Oberoi Grand Hotel
- The Oberoi Grand Kolkata (Calcutta), India - West Bengal