Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products and services; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Kolkata, dubbed the 'City of Joy' by French writer Dominique Lapierre, is often considered India’s cultural, artistic, and intellectual capital. The city has spawned a litany of artists, writers, poets, and filmmakers, all of whom have beautifully captured its crumbling grandeur. It’s densely populated and while you really can't ignore its squalor, Kolkata is also home to stately British-era architecture, expansive parks, trundling old-fashioned trams, and the striking Howrah Bridge which crosses the River Hooghly. Basically, this grande dame of a city seems to be stuck in a time warp, and therein lies its charm. Below, our favorite places to stay in Kolkata now.
Best Overall: The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata
Built in 1841, the LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata is one of the oldest continuously operating luxury hotels in Asia. Though it has retained its Edwardian façade throughout, inside it’s done up in contemporary style. With 215 rooms and suites, it’s also one of the larger hotels in the city center. Lodgings are spacious with entry-level Deluxe Rooms beginning at 350 square feet and huge bay windows which look out over the terrace garden or pool. For the ultimate luxury, book the Victorian or Edwardian suite, both of which are outfitted with restored furnishings, traditional handicrafts, and local artworks.
Grab a drink or two at Wilson’s – The Pub, a classic English pub named after David Wilson, who built the hotel. After that, head to the lobby-level Alfresco Restaurant, an all-day, multi-cuisine eatery that serves international and local Bengali fare, or try a steak done to perfection at The Legacy Grill. The hotel’s award-winning Rejuve Spa is spread over 13,000 square feet and offers a range of aroma, herbal, and Ayurvedic therapies. Relax by the outdoor pool where you can enjoy light snacks and drinks from the adjoining juice bar.
The cacophony and bustle of Kolkata can be overwhelming, especially on Jawaharlal Nehru Road in Chowringhee, Central Kolkata. But you can still find a haven of peace in the Oberoi Grand, a sprawling colonial-style hotel that dates to the mid-1800s and absolutely lives up to its name. Its 209 rooms and suites range from the entry-level Deluxe Room to the palatial Presidential Suite. Spacious rooms have high ceilings and large windows that let in plenty of natural light, while teakwood antique furnishings, red granite bathrooms, and white enamel bathtubs complete the look.
The restaurant, Threesixtythree°, offers a variety of Indian and European dishes as well as a popular Sunday Brunch. Baan Thai is one of the finest Thai restaurants in the city while The Bar is perfect for a sundowner, whether you're after bespoke cocktails, fine wines, or single malts. Hit the well-equipped gym or unwind at the spa (with exquisitely chandeliered therapy rooms) or simply relax by the 60-foot outdoor pool — the centerpiece of the hotel’s quadrant garden.
Best Budget: Roland Hotel
Located in a calm residential neighborhood in Ballygunge, Roland Hotel is one of the best budget hotels in central Kolkata with a wide range of shopping, entertainment, and dining options nearby. The hotel’s 27 rooms are spacious, air-conditioned, and come with a work desk, sitting area with coffee table, flat-screen TV, safe deposit box, and minibar. Bathrooms are clean and the showers are reasonably good. The rooms are great value for money offering free breakfast (choice of buffet or in-room), Wi-Fi (though it can be a bit patchy in some rooms), toiletries, snack basket, ironing services, and more. The hotel even offers a suite with a king bed and bathtub.
The hotel’s restaurant serves everything from Continental, American, and Indian breakfast, to sandwiches, snacks, and Indian mains. There’s even a kids’ menu available. Roland Hotel is known for its warm hospitality and courteous staff. They can help you with pick-up and drop services for the airport or train station, and can even assist you with tour bookings.
Best for Romance: ITC Sonar
Its sleek, contemporary design is at odds with Kolkata’s old-world charm, but nestled amidst acres of greenery and languid pools dotted with water lilies, ITC Sonar offers some of the best luxury digs in this crowded, often noisy city. The lobby and corridors are lined with replica statues from the Pala era (8-12 AD), considered to be the golden era of Bengal and Kolkata. ITC Sonar’s 237 rooms and seven suites all look out over the vast estate giving you the feel of staying in a resort. The suites are especially splurge-worthy and come with a massage chair, deep-soaking bathtub, and butler service.
Dining options include five restaurants, one lounge, and a gourmet deli — both the ITC premium brands Dum Pukht and Peshawri are represented, serving up the grand cuisines of India. Other facilities on offer are the signature Kaya Kalp Spa, a salon, and a fully equipped, 24-hour fitness center. The hotel has no fewer than five swimming pools and a Jacuzzi, so you'll have ample opportunity to soak with your beau.
Best for Families: Taj Bengal
Alipore, the heart of Kolkata’s cultural heritage, is the apt setting for the palatial Taj Bengal. Many of the city’s landmark attractions like Victoria Memorial, Eden Gardens (a popular cricket ground), and the horticultural and zoological gardens are within walking distance. The grand, five-storied marble and stone atrium is the centerpiece around which the hotel is built, while genuine antiques and priceless art adorn its interiors. Here, 229 rooms and suites offer panoramic city views; some of the suites overlook the pool, while others offer a view of the magnificent Victoria Memorial in its domed marble splendor.
The hotel has five restaurants that specialize in everything from Indian and Chinese to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. Enjoy a drink at The Junction, the railway-themed bar, as a live band serenades you. There’s also a poolside grill and barbeque restaurant, and a patisserie/deli. The lobby-level Promenade Lounge showcases artworks by young, local artists who sometimes even drop by to paint. Kids will love the various activities lined up for them such as cooking, baking, and art lessons with visiting local artists.
Best Boutique: The Corner Courtyard
For a true Kolkata experience, you must stay at one of the city's grand, old houses with spacious porches, open terraces, and central courtyards. The Corner Courtyard is housed in a zamindar (wealthy landowner) bungalow that dates back to 1904 and the décor — it's full of books and artsy knick-knacks — reflects its heritage.
Each of boutique's seven rooms is uniquely done up in hues that mirror its name — Indigo, Crimson, Ivory, etc. All rooms come with vintage furnishings like an intricately carved bed (some rooms have antique four-poster beds), an armoire, and a writing table with the typical Kolkata-style cane-bottomed chairs. The Vermillion room has splashes of bold red, but if you prefer an understated space, book the Charcoal room, a monochromatic ode to the city’s greatest filmmaker, Satyajit Ray. (Just note that some rooms overlook the main road and can be a bit noisy — so read reviews before you book.) The hotel’s French-style restaurant, housed in the central courtyard-turned-atrium, is cozy and bright with whitewashed exposed brick walls and cheery yellow, green, and ivory mismatched seating. It serves a mix of European and American dishes, and is known for its pizzas.
Best for Singles: JW Marriott Hotel Kolkata
Conveniently located just 10 miles from the airport and four miles from the city center, JW Marriott Kolkata is a great option for the business or leisure traveler. It’s a sleek, modern hotel with stylish exteriors and interiors, especially the resplendent lobby with etched glass and muted golden accents. The hotel offers 281 spacious rooms, all of which come with contemporary ambiance, a king bed, marble bathroom with bathtub, butler service, and stunning city views.
The hotel has two restaurants, the all-day multi-cuisine JW Kitchen and Vintage Asia, which serves Chinese and Thai cuisines. The breakfast buffet at JW Kitchen is plentiful and includes international and Indian options; don’t miss the local Bengali breakfast delicacies like luchi and kochuri. The JW Lounge is the perfect place for after-work drinks and has an extensive wine and cocktails menu. The hotel offers several wellness options like a luxury spa and salon, steam and sauna, fitness center that’s open 24/7, and an outdoor infinity pool with an attached bar and sweeping city views.
Best for Business: Swissotel Kolkata
When you exit from Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport, Swissotel Kolkata is the first five-star hotel you’ll encounter. It’s attached to a mall, so you have easy access to shops, restaurants, and a cinema, plus it’s well connected to the city center. Kolkata’s business and IT hub, Eco Park, is also nearby. The hotel’s 147 rooms include ten suites, each of which comes with a large terrace and an outdoor Jacuzzi. Rooms have a contemporary design and are furnished with a work desk, an ergonomic chair, high-speed Internet, flat-screen TV, and king or twin beds. Rooms overlook the mall or the airport and come with excellent soundproofing.
Café Swiss is the all-day, multi-cuisine restaurant, while Durbari offers traditional Indian fare. The hotel has two bars, The Splash Lounge — in an outdoor garden setting, and Maaya — the hip lounge bar. The Pürovel Spa uses exclusive Suissessences range of essential oils and spa products, and offers signature aromatherapy treatments like Alpine Spring Massage and Mountain Stone Massage. Other spa facilities include a state-of-the-art fitness center, a rooftop infinity pool with a view, and a dedicated jogging track.
Best Hostel: Gala Time Hostel
A favorite with backpackers and budget travelers, Gala Time Hostel is located in South Kolkata in the Patuli area, about 10 miles from the city center (easily accessible by metro). It overlooks a charming little lake and is surrounded by several small parks as well as the Patuli floating market which is just a short walk away. The hostel offers a choice of air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned dormitories as well as private rooms. There’s one four-bed, female-only dorm while the other two are co-ed six-bed dorms. Dorms are clean and have comfortable beds with lockers underneath; showers are shared by each dorm and towels are available to hire.
There is a coffee and tea vending machine which operates throughout the day and the hostel offers all meals (at an additional cost); guests have raved about the simple but freshly cooked fare. If you’d like to eat out, you’ll find several street food stalls and a few restaurants in the immediate vicinity. Staff is friendly and very helpful with local sightseeing tips, taxi hire, Indian SIM card purchase, and more. The hostel’s common room is a great place to meet fellow backpackers over some board games.